Chris Mullin's Warriors circle of life continues as NBC Sports Bay Area analyst


When you tune in for Warriors pregame and postgame coverage this coming NBA season, you're bound to see a familiar face.

After formerly spending 13 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with Golden State, as well as serving as the franchise's general manager, Chris Mullin is returning to his NBA roots. He'll join NBC Sports Bay Area as a Warriors analyst for all 41 regular-season home games at Chase Center this season.

Mullin, who's in the midst of enjoying his first free summer in several years, previously served as an NBA analyst for ESPN. The man who put the 'C' in Run TMC believes that exposure will serve him well in his new role, but he believes this will be even more enjoyable.

"I did it for three years at ESPN. Got some great experience there," Mullin said. "There, they've got a lot of shows going on, so you really, over the course of a day, man, you cover a lot of different platforms between radio, TV, the highlight shows. ...

"This will be a little different, I think. Obviously, you know, just really focusing on the Warriors. I'm kind of looking forward to really just locking in on the Warriors and just one opponent, as opposed to covering the whole league on a nightly basis. I think it'll be a lot more fun."

Mullin spent the last four years as the head men's basketball coach at his alma mater, St. Johns, and plans to incorporate his coaching experience into his analysis. That said, he maintains that he still sees the game in generally the same way he did as a player.

"Obviously as a player, you're always locked in with your coaching staff," Mullin explained. "I was fortunate to play for some incredible coaches throughout my career, so as far as game-planning, scouting reports, practice planning ... all those things, I was pretty locked in with my coaches on that stuff, so I used that experience."

Now, Mullin will apply his massive breadth of basketball experience on broadcasts of Warriors home games, bringing a unique perspective to NBC Sports Bay Area's coverage.

Just like anyone else who's been paying any attention whatsoever, Mullin noticed the considerable player movement that occurred in the NBA this offseason, and views it as a reaction to the Warriors' prolonged supremacy.

"I think in general, the league has evened out," Mullin said. "I think what we've seen is how good and dominant the Warriors were for the last five years. They were just, to me, just a huge gap between them and the rest of the league. So now with Kevin [Durant] in Brooklyn and Klay [Thompson] not going to play till who knows when ... to start the season without those guys obviously is a huge adjustment. That's two of the best players in the league that aren't going to be on the floor."

Consequently, Mullin views the early portion of Golden State's season as holding increased importance.

"So, I think they're going to have to really kind of figure it out this first month of training camp/preseason and maybe into the first few weeks of the regular season to get a feel for these guys," Mullin said. "I'm sure Steve [Kerr] and his staff have a pretty broad idea of what they want to do, but sometimes you have to really get in the gym to see what it really looks like.

"For the first time in a few years, anyway, training camp is actually going to matter to them."

As for how the Warriors will make up for all that they have lost this offseason, Mullin believes they will need Draymond Green to score more while still providing his same suffocating defense, and for several of the new players on the roster -- many of whom are quite young -- to take advantage of their opportunities.

Mullin had multiple chances to see one of those players in particular -- D'Angelo Russell -- in person during his time at St. Johns while Russell was with the Nets.

"He really, really came on last season as a big-time scorer," Mullin said of Russell. "He's really, really good in pick-and-roll, he's got nice size. I think there will be a little bit of an adjustment for him, you know, playing with Steph [Curry]. They're going to have to figure out that balance. If he can learn to play without the ball a little bit, it will help him, because Steph is going to draw a lot of attention. Till Klay gets back, there's going to be a huge emphasis on getting the ball out of Steph's hands.

"So, that next play is important, whether you shoot it, move it, drive it ... that next guy has got to make quick decisions. So, it could be a little bit of an adjustment there, but [Russell]'s got the gift. He's got the talent, he can handle the ball, he can shoot the ball, he can score it."

As a member of the Warriors, Russell will never have the chance to play in the same arena that Mullin called home for so many years. Instead, he'll play -- and probably start -- in the inaugural game at Chase Center, of which Mullin had no trouble speaking highly.

"It's beautiful, man," Mullin described the state-of-the-art arena. "It's a beautiful building. It's incredible. It's got all of the things you'd want in a brand-new arena. Just a beautiful place. The practice facilities and player facilities are incredible -- probably the best I've seen ever.

"There will be a little adjustment, but I think from an excitement standpoint, I think the players are going to thrive because it's just so beautiful, and they've got everything there they need to recover and feel good about stepping on the floor with healthy bodies and great energy."

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Mullin got a chance to see the Warriors' new home at a recent season-ticket holder event. It didn't take him long to return for a second visit, either.

"I saw Elton John a few weeks ago," Mullin added. "It was incredible. It was an incredible show. Outstanding. I enjoyed it totally. It was a great night. I drove over from the East Bay, and it was pretty seamless. It was a great night."

Mullin ain't no Rockets man. Rather, he's looking forward to the next step in his Warriors circle of life.

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