Warriors’ biggest training camp battle ahead of 2022-23 NBA season

There’s no mystery surrounding the Golden State Warriors’ five- and sixth-person starts as the season is fast approaching. Steve Kerr’s “Fundamental Six” is set in stone, featuring the best mix of talent, cohesion and tangible chemistry between the top players from all teams league-wide.

But Golden State would not win back-to-back titles for the second time during their ongoing dynasty, until players ahead of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Drummond Green, Kevon Looney and Jordan Poole identified themselves as Impact Rotation players. I do not strengthen. The reserves, Gary Peyton II and Otto Porter, who had primarily occupied that position last season, are gone, for the Warriors’ prized youth prospects and free agency improvement projects to emerge as important members of the core of this team. leaving the way.

As Golden State continues its unofficial preseason workout before the 2022-23 preparations begin in real earnest on Saturday, here are the Warriors’ biggest battles to watch at training camp.

Warriors’ biggest training camp battle ahead of 2022-23 NBA season

Donate DiVincenzo Vs. Moses Moody

Don’t rotate it. Both DiVincenzo and Moody would find regular play time during the regular season, shoo-ins for Kerr’s rotation given their two-way role flexibility and natural comfort to play next to the Golden State stars. Curry, turning 35 in March, can average the fewest minutes per game of his career, and it’s not like the Warriors will push Thompson past his limits while he recuperates from a torn ACL and Achilles. which cost him two-and-a-half seasons of his prime.

But Peyton distanced himself from Golden State’s reserve guard last season after winning a roster spot at training camp, then helping turn the NBA Finals with his disastrous on-ball and injury in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics. Helped in the rescue on his return. DiVincenzo, and Moody in particular, Peyton is not, Young Glove had a valid all-defense case in 2021–22, being second in deflections per-48 minutes among all rotation players. NBA.com/statsand a fifth overall Five ThirtyEights Defensive Raptors,

Wiggins would start the game on the opposition’s star ball handler and Thompson proved in the back half of the final that he could still be a quality individual substitute over the likes of Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum. Most teams with aspirations like Golden State will have multiple high-level playmakers, however, and Wiggins will always get the toughest assignments at crunch-time. Ideally, the Warriors would leave a difficult defensive workload to Thompson and keep Green as an off-ball rower, even in those high-leverage situations.

Enter DiVincenzo or Moody? Jonathan Cuminga may be a better face-to-face defender than either of these two, but shooting boundaries and his penchant for offbeat defense will probably keep him on the bench in the big moments. No one else on the roster provides the potential role-playing utility of DiVincenzo and Moody when Kerr becomes younger.

DiVincenzo, to be clear, enters training camp with a leg up on Moody to possibly become the de facto seventh man from the Golden State. Superior lateral quickness makes him a better defender of shorter guards, as does DiVincenzo’s ability to stay attached to his man while navigating the screen with the ball.

Moody’s precocious basketball wit was introduced this summer by Green and Andre Iguodala, a trait that was reflected in his quick grasp of the Warriors’ assist concepts defensively. But if the defense decides who Kerr will rely on the most, experience and roster fit show that Moody will lag behind DiVincenzo in the rotation hierarchy.

One problem: DiVincenzo shot 40% ugly in the paint and just 32% on last season’s above-the-back three, per NBA.com/stats, Moody, on the contrary, was 59.3% off paint and 30-in-72 On the above break triple as a rookie, good for shooting an impressive 41.7%.

The sample size for both players was relatively small, and it mentions that DiVincenzo was still recovering from a leg injury after being traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Sacramento Kings on deadline—exactly the kind of friendly offensive Moody would enjoy at Golden State. had not been.

Still, DiVincenzo just isn’t a disruptive enough defender nor explosive enough finisher to compensate for the lack of shooting the way Peyton did with the Warriors. Smart Rescue will prove it before treating him like a viable long-range threat, bearing in mind that Green, Looney and Cuminga will be compromising on the floor every time. It would be surprising if the same dynamic applied to Moody, especially as he showed improvement in his three-legged scoring chops in the Summer League.

It can’t be denied that if Moody—or less likely, Kuminga—turned off the Warriors best to move ahead of DiVincenzo in the rotation, Curry and Poole’s respective defensive shortcomings of similarly sized pawns. Better insulated with crowds. This is still the favorite blueprint in the Golden State. But Moody is just 20 years old, and may always lack the quick-twitch athleticism needed to thrive in a switch-heavy defensive system.

DiVincenzo, remember, had a crucial start for the eventual-champion Bucks before being injured in the second round of the 2021 playoffs. Maybe the Golden State’s unique ecosystem and bill of health close to 100 percent help it regain the form that once made DiVincenzo a fixture of the Bucks’ present and future.

Either way, keep a close eye on this under-the-radar fight after camp ends on Saturday. It may not seem like it during the 82-game grind, but who sits higher between DiVincenzo and Moody in the Warriors’ pecking order, playoff time could be huge for their chances of winning a fifth championship in nine years.

Lakers, Brian Windhorst

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