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Young Warriors creating intense roster competition in training camp

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SAN FRANCISCO — Steve Kerr has given the Warriors a special name for the start of practice: Golden Hour.

The first hour begins with veterans working in the weight room or training room and getting the treatment their bodies need. At that point, courts are all for young people. It’s all about reps, reps, and more reps, both physically and mentally. It can mean a drill, a 5 vs 0, or simply a rethink of the concept.

During training camp and preseason this year, the first hour of practice has been as productive as it gets for what Kerr wants to accomplish when the young Warriors join their elders.

Along with Jordan Poole, who reached star status at age 23, the Warriors’ top young core consists of James Weisman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Kerr admitted Monday that Weisman has gone further than he expected at this point. That same day, he praised Kuminga for understanding how the Warriors can succeed offensively, on-ball defense, with his demeanor and approach. was rewarded with a start at power forward.

Moody continues to be a credible force, becoming the first player off the bench in the preseason when Poole started at shooting guard as Klay Thompson continued to build momentum before the season opener.

What really stood out for Kerr was the Warriors’ players making first impressions, competing for spots with big teams in Santa Cruz and Golden State’s G League affiliates.

“Young guys are really making progress,” Kerr said Monday. “I think it’s one of the best crops of any young free agent that’s ever been here. Looking at the guys fighting for a two-way spot and a potential Santa Cruz player. , probably the best. Really impressive.

“Each and every one of them is a good player, competitive and they brought great form to our camp.”

Kerr and the Warriors have already said goodbye to both Mac McClung and Trevion Williams, with the head coach saying the decision won’t be easy, and the Warriors own Williams’ G League rights. will play in the Philadelphia 76ers’ G League system this season.

Kinderley Wetherspoon, Lester Quinones, Ty Jerome, Pat Spencer, Jerome Robinson, Anthony Lamb, and rookie draft picks Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins are among the players to make the organization believe in them. Remaining.

Weatherspoon and Quinones currently hold two two-way contracts for the Warriors. In his second season as Warrior, Wetherspoon feels much more comfortable with the system and understanding of play. He also says he’s gained confidence in the outside shot, an area of ​​the game that gives defensively oriented guards a big boost of opportunity.

So far this preseason, Wetherspoon has been 6-for-8 from the field and made his only 3-point attempt.

As soon as this year’s draft ended, the Warriors jumped at the opportunity to add Quinon. They continue to be drawn to what Memphis products can offer.

“Leicester is a really interesting prospect,” said Kerr. “He’s very athletic, good physique, a combo guard and a good passer. He can finish at the rim. He continues to perform well here at camp.”

“Let’s see how it all goes”

Wetherspoons are on the cleanest path to earning the honor with a spot still vacant on their 15-man roster. It means that you are most likely to leave. And Ty Jerome could complicate the picture.

Jerome, 25, has basically replaced McClung on the training camp roster and is a much better fit as a pass first guard with better size and more NBA experience. The 6.5-footer played three years as a professional and shot 42.3% of deep shots in the 2020-21 season as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

His first run as a Warrior didn’t go smoothly, turning the ball over three times in six minutes off the bench on Sunday night, but Kerr isn’t overreacting to the low sample numbers.

“Yeah, Ty is a veterinarian,” Carr said Monday. “I think that was really appealing to us. He has played a lot of point guards in the league. Because of his experience, I don’t think we need to see much from him.

“We’ve seen him live many times.”

Of all the new names that pop up on Chase Center every day, Spencer is easily the biggest wild card. There are several reasons. After an impressive four-year lacrosse career at Loyola, and winning a trophy rivaling that of Heisman in college lacrosse as a junior, Spencer used his college diploma year to play basketball at Northwestern University. I played Spencer averaged 10.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists in his only season in college basketball.

Golden State retains the 26-year-old’s G League rights, and Kerr likes what he sees from him.

“I’m a huge Pat fan,” Kerr said. “He’s a great competitor and has great athleticism in terms of balance, coordination and core strength. He has more explosive jumps than I expected. He’s in Tokyo. and was fouled for trying to dunk the entire team.

“I love that he’s a lacrosse guy. Sports like soccer, hockey, lacrosse, basketball, where you have to look at the field in front of you and the court in front of you and see all the positioning, is what you need.” I think we’ve established a strong vision, and I think all of these things will help Pat.

“He has to play. He doesn’t have a lot of basketball experience. He’s a really interesting prospect.”

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Baldwin and Rollins have contracts guaranteed and will spend the season in San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Rollins has struggled with his shot so far, but the Warriors remain high on his long-term prospects. He and a handful of young players should face Portland’s Trail Blazers in his fourth game of the Warriors’ preseason on Tuesday night.

Through three games in the preseason, Baldwin continues to look like a steal with the No. 28 pick in the draft and could play some truly meaningful minutes as a rookie. The 6-foot-9-inch forward looks like a real threat from beyond the arc, with him hitting seven of his 12 shots from deep.

Baldwin, who speaks like a true coach’s son who has matured well beyond the age of 19, soaked everything up in his first training camp and is always inviting competition of all kinds.

“I think it’s a cliché. Iron sharpens iron,” Baldwin said Monday. “And I think it’s true. We have the talent to fight for position, but we’re also brothers. We push each other in a great way. When we’re in the locker room, we keep the information going.” We share. We share information with each other when we are on the court.

“Competition is the best way to get better.”

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