Steph Curry

Warriors passing compatibility portion of training camp

NBC Universal, Inc. Steve Kerr chats with the media after Warriors practice to share his thoughts on Brandin Podziemski, Dario Saric, and Cory Joseph.

SAN FRANCISCO – The greatest source of comfort in an NBA training camp is unrelated to how many shots are made or blocked, or which team wins the scrimmage. It’s harmony.

The Warriors are six practices deep into camp and feeling exquisitely compatible. Veterans and youngsters are expressing a sense of unity, which promotes growth, which in turn breeds belief.

“It’s been good,” Moses Moody said Tuesday. “The energy has been electric. It’s been a lot of fun. Guys are communicating. Being around each other even before training camp started has kind of sent us on the right direction.”

Credit the team’s collective intellect. General manager Mike Dunleavy addressed it last summer by acquiring veterans Chris Paul, Dario Sarić and Cory Joseph. And by drafting basketball-mature collegians Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Jordan Poole, after three seasons with Golden State, was traded to the Wizards for Paul. Poole was by turns brilliant and frustrating, and at times locked in on his own show, even at the expense of teammates. That proclivity always creates an avenue to disharmony.

Going to Washington with Poole were Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins, both of whom were rookies last season. The Warriors, in essence, traded three of the remaining five players from their drafts between 2019 and 2022.

The team got older and wiser. Suddenly, the drills are easier, the conversations smoother, the man-to-man debates more likely to reach a satisfactory resolution. 

“This feels like a really high-IQ team,” coach Steve Kerr said. “And they’re showing that early on.”

Adding Paul, Sarić and Joseph to the core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney gives Golden State eight players -- seven in the rotation -- with at least seven years of NBA experience.

Moreover, there is a measure of stability that comes with a roster of players who have been around the league and approach the game in similar ways. The Warriors under Kerr emphasize ball movement, a system that fits the skills and mentality of the new vets. Poole’s electric moments often were risky and tended emphasize individual spectacle. Paul, Sarić and Joseph are low-risk players who typically link teammates.

Teamwork is the word in this camp.  It's easier for everyone to feel gratified when everyone is recognized and involved. That has been the primary vibe since the first camp workout on Oct. 3.

“It’s been great,” Kuminga said. “It’s been a hard training camp, but that’s good for us. We’re not just getting in shape. We’re getting better. The goal is for everybody to be ready, to know what each person likes to do on the floor and then go out on the floor as a team and win everything.”

One of the initial concerns in the wake of acquiring Paul was his relationship with Green. There was, as opponents, visible disdain between two testy men. As teammates, they are two veterans with like minds.

The belief within the team is that they will find a place on the floor that satisfies both and eventually will greatly benefit the team.

“There’s really good chemistry in their connection,” Kerr said. “They spent a lot of time together in the summer, both in LA and up here, playing pickup. Those guys have really connected well.

“That’s going to be a case of two incredibly smart players learning how to play together. They do occupy a similar part of the floor. When they’re in pick-and-roll, Draymond’s going to need to dive. The good thing is Draymond understands that already. I don’t even have to tell him.”

That’s the thing about high-IQ, team-first players. They figure it out amongst themselves. Rarely does a coach have to intrude or even mediate.

We don’t know how well the Warriors will play once the games begin. Neither do they. What they do know, two weeks before opening night, is that the collective attitude has been positive, which is essential to anything good.

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