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Warriors Open Practice: Otto Porter splashes, Mulder a “Man of the People”
Scrimmage a superb idea, high bang-for-the-buck value
Here is a detailed recap the Golden State Warriors Open Practice three days ago on Saturday.
Discord beta group member (meaning he got in at the ground floor before this website was even set up) Ricky Padilla scored four $5 tickets in Section 3, Row A5. His friends flaked so he gave them to fellow Discord member and subscriber to this site, Jonah S., and me. Little did I know, media was allowed to sit courtside, although it was opposite diagonal to the Warriors’ bench. Online reporter Mark Haynes even posted a nice courtside Instagram story of Stephen Curry splashing a three. I was happy with Padilla’s seats as they were right behind the Warriors’ bench. Ricky ended up filming the entire scrimmage, which I didn’t even feel like doing because it’s a lot of work! We will share any revenue from his video on our YouTube channel, btw. It is embedded below and we talk about the actual scrimmage more down below in this post:
You can see (and hear, obviously lol) in the beginning of the above video, “hype man” Franco Finn went out of his way to get the crowd juiced. The eventual attendance was 9,000 which is an impressive number for an Open Practice, especially when you remember that old Oracle Arena had only 15,025 seats. Finn even gave us a great “Let’s go Warriors!” yell which I might splice into our YouTube video intros or outros at some point.
Right before that and to start the festivities was a Q&A of Shaun Livingston and Zaza Pachulia at center court by Bob Fitzgerald. Summed up, the talk exuded the Warriors culture. Pachulia even said as much, praising what an incredible organization it was to come back and still be able to contribute once again towards a winning atmosphere after his and Livingston’s playing days were over.
The biggest thing I heard was Zaza saying Klay Thompson was under the weather. We didn’t record the interview, unfortunately, but here are some pre-scrimmage sights and sounds. The intros were really cool:
Juan Toscano-Anderson wore Klay’s No. 11 in his absence, although Juan was introduced as No. 95 in the intros, I noticed. If I had to guess, I think part of Klay being absent was to save the effect for when he actually comes back. So, yeah, I’m gonna guess that was “staged”.
As for the scrimmage itself, what a treat when Steve Kerr took the opening mic to say they might as well scrimmage rather than in years past where they had layup drills, halfcourt shooting competitions and the like.
Otto Porter was on fire. In video you can hear me go, “Has he missed yet?” Without having had time to go through the tape again, I’m going to guess he had five treys consecutively and probably right out of the gate. I don’t recall any of them hitting the rim, either. Matter of fact, I noticed his off-hand shot release is interesting, per the Getty Images game photos from preseason so far, but hey it apparently works for this 40%-career three-point shooter:
Later in the game, he finally missed, but that was right after subbing in. I heard an on-court teammate ask him about the miss and he smiled and said, “I just got in!”
That brought me back to my amateur tournament coaching days when I wouldn’t sub out a guy if he was hot (obviously, but sometimes it does screw up your intended rotations and making sure guys got their expected minutes). It also makes you think — and I wish I had paid more attention to this in the past — it does sometimes take players a little bit of time to warm-up or even re-warm-up after they’re subbed into the game.
In any case, Otto hit his next three-pointer, so that was cool to see this sniper going back to doing what he does best, without much needed for that re-warmup for that shooting stroke.
Here’s some gross speculation for you: Jordan Poole went from “Sixth Man of the Year” talk from DubNation during the off-season (and even late last season) to “Most Improved Player” hot takes (even Anthony Slater was asking about that in recent interviews with Poole). Well, how about now Otto Porter for Sixth Man? It’s way, way, way too early for that and I’m not one to do predictions (or rankings), but I thought I’d have fun with that by throwing that out right here a little early.
Also seen: Curry draining “ho-hum” 26-foot threes. You can probably hear me on the video saying, “We take that for granted.” By the way, Steph looks even bigger and that also goes for his now bare legs. If we had access to the locker rooms, I would’ve already found out for you why he isn’t wearing the tights anymore. I’ll try to find out through Brandon Payne soon for you, maybe.
Kris Weems coached the blue team and Chris DeMarco the white team. Andrew Wiggins showed up for layup lines in blue and after Kerr announced he had split the teams up as evenly as possible, Ricky and I wondered what he might’ve been smoking, seeing Curry and Otto and Wiggs all wearing blue, until Wiggins, who has had a sore knee, walked off the court before tipoff to go downstairs, thus bowing out of the scrimmage.
Perhaps the only thing that would’ve been better for this scrimmage was Jonathan Kuminga, who of course did not play because of that strained patella tendon suffered in the previous preseason game. He’s out for the rest of training camp, in case you didn’t hear already.
Still, on this day with Otto on fire with blue running away with it, Langston Galloway, who had shown flashes of hitting threes against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, actually helped the white team crawl back late in the first of two frames.
Kerr had pretended the score was 60-60 at halftime and started the scrimmage from that imaginary point. Next year, he should try the “Elam Ending” we saw implemented recently in the NBA All-Star Game. Ironically, Galloway, who didn’t play much in the imaginary 4th quarter, was waived after the scrimmage.
The post-scrimmage festivities were great. Steph introduced a new trainer, Dani Langford, who appropriately and nicely, actually, rapped the opening verses of “I Wish” by Skee-Lo. Then Moses Moody and Kuminga did their rookie sing-alongs that DubNation has gotten accustomed to over the years. The PA system wasn’t able to broadcast their music for whatever reason, so it was literally a sing-along and Padilla did a good job of capturing all the dancing.
I also got some of the behind-the-scenes stuff like Curry giving away his shoes and Draymond Green signing autographs, which he rarely does at regular season games, but you had to throw a sharpie his way, though, so take note. One fan threw a sharpie that was juuuuuust a little bit outside (Bob Uecker voice!) and Green had a good laugh with that.
The post-practice Q&A with Kerr and “players to be determined” was originally scheduled for 12:45PM with the Open Practice starting at either 11:00AM or 11:30AM, depending on where you happened to be on the Warriors’ website. I scrambled to get to the arena by 10:30AM, found an available meter next to Starbucks (score!), but then made the decision to purchase the parking spot up until 1:30PM.
The scrimmage ended at 1:30PM. As such, as I jogged back to feed the meter (thankfully no $85 ticket from SFMTA even though it had expired), I missed the Kerr interview, then missed the Gary Payton, Jr. one, then arrived in time, huffing and puffing for Jordan Bell.
I had noticed during all the post-scrimmage t-shirt tosses that Bell, a native of Long Beach, had gone on the PA system and said, “Go Dodgers!”
So after going live on Instagram with a two-minute snippet and with his Q&A seemingly being cut short soon with no further questions, I blurted out an obvious question to him: “Are you rooting for the Giants or Dodgers?” After getting him to admit he was the one who stole the PA mic, I followed that up with, “What made you think you could get away with that without being mobbed?”
All in good fun. We should definitely go easy on him, as “JB” does love DubNation. He’s also a really great guy, as Warriors fans already know. As a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, he said hello to me unsolicited while I was near the media room of Target Center in Minneapolis early pregame in 2019.
Little did I know there would be even more to write about — and I’ve spent the last hour writing the above as I wait for practice to end here at Chase Center, through all the commotion in the bowels setting up for the WWE event tonight — after I left the arena and headed back to my car and a Frappuccino.
I walked to the left of the exit/entrance of Chase, past the Warriors Shop, down the stairs and found Mychal Mulder surrounded by about two dozen fans. I guess he was walking home?!
He graciously signed autographs and took pictures and promised kids to repost them if they tagged him (I don’t think he did, as I checked his IG stories later, but I don’t blame him as I don’t like to spend time with potential negativity in my mentions, either — that’s social media for you these days).
And then a group of kids branched off suddenly and ran down the street, apparently chasing after James Wiseman in his car. It was in the direction of Starbucks so I walked that way as well and found that they were not successful, as they double-backed to the arena garage entrance where they started.
Incidentally, I don’t know if I wrote about Wiseman signing autographs on here yet, but he did not do so at Summer League and on the Discord we deduced he was wary of people re-selling them at dramatic profits on eBay. Sure enough, Wiseman later announced a deal with The Real Autograph. So I think him not signing autographs will be for the foreseeable future.
After I got my Frap and into my car, I made a left from Mission Bay Boulevard onto Third Street and headed towards the freeway, windows down as it was a warm day. As I passed Chase, I heard someone yell, “Iguodala!” from the other side of the street, who then approach a grey Ferrari.
Sure enough, it was Andre in that Ferrari, then the guy driving the car next to him also stopped at the light, got out with a No. 9 jersey ready for him to autograph. The first guy seemingly got a selfie. It was a funny moment. I’m certain Andre had mixed emotions of 🙄 about the craziness of some fans and 😁 about the culture that is DubNation.
Don’t worry, he’s used to that. Years ago I was walking down past the Oakland Marriott parking garage to get lunch and saw Iguodala drive out in his Jeep-like Mercedes AMG G 63 SUV (someone correct me in the comments if I’m wrong). A fan with a Warriors flag quickly descended upon him. So, I’m sure Andre was thinking, “Like old times.”
And the purity of that fandom is what made this Open Practice – and probably all of them, I can barely remember them — so special. This isn’t going to be another rant on the gentrification of the arena fandom, but it seemed like more people who never have access to the lower bowl got access to the lower bowl.
Unlike on social media where people are out for laughs and making fun of Mulder as “garbage time Mulder” (i.e., only makes big shots when it’s not crunch time), him walking on Warriors Way outside the arena and kids and parents crowding around him for autographs and photos had an innocence about it that you just can’t feel unless you’re there, which is the whole point of LetsGoWarriors. It was just a reminder of how fun it is to be a part of the real and in-person DubNation with its positivity, blue- and gold-colored blood pumping through the veins, and its excitement for the season to begin.
At $5 per ticket and a first-come-first-served online process for lower bowl seats (Ricky said he logged on ten minutes before the start of sales), going to the Open Practice should be a no-brainer for the average Warriors fan.
So anyways, I just finished writing this article after finally getting into practice where I became one of the very few handful of people on Earth to have seen Klay do a rehab workout. He wouldn’t let me record it, similar to last time, but I took notes and will share those detailed observations with our paid subscribers next!