OAKLAND – Two weeks into training camp with first-year coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors are developing a distinctly different personality than that which was displayed under any of their past several coaches.
Most of the signs thus far have been positive – even if the team seemed a bit sluggish during Tuesday's practice, which came after a well-deserved day off on Monday.
Halfway through the one-month training period, three things are evident:
1) The second unit can be highly effective
The Warriors over the past 20 years have struggled to find and keep depth, perhaps because they've struggled to find quality players for the starting lineup.
They now have high-quality starters. And the bench finally looks capable of providing strong support – and that's before guard Shaun Livingston and center Festus Ezeli have been added to the equation.
[RELATED: Ezeli returns to Warriors practice]
"I've stressed from Day 1 that everyone's going to contribute," Kerr said. "We're going to have depth. One night's going to be your night, and the next night's not. If we accept that, we can be really good. If we don't accept it, then we'll be selfish and, like a lot of other teams, we'll chase our stats and we won't have a very good year."
Though Kerr is considering starting Harrison Barnes at small forward and using career-long starter Andre Iguodala as Sixth Man, other roles seem set.
Certain to come off the bench are centers Festus Ezeli and Ognjen Kuzmic, forwards Draymond Green and Brandon Rush and Marreese Speights, and guards Shaun Livingston and Nemanja Nedovic.
"We know the depth we have, and how many guys we can put out there on the floor, which could help us stay fresh throughout the year," Iguodala said. "It could be anyone's night. The coaches continue to reiterate that. It could be anyone's night, at any give time. So be patient. If that night's not your night, just go with the flow.
"If we could get 14 guys to believe in that, we could be pretty scary."
2) They can, and will, run at every opportunity
Kerr said his goal is to score as often as possible off transition. Associate head coach Alvin Gentry, the offensive specialist, reiterated that comment, adding that it requires the team to be in excellent condition.
They seem to be on target. Everybody who takes the floor has been running, and their first two opponents, the Clippers and Lakers, could not keep up.
"Golden State was in better shape than us," Clippers coach Doc Rivers conceded after the preseason opener. "Our conditioning was poor. We have to do a better job of getting our guys in better shape."
After getting a look at the go-go Warriors, including some coast-to-coast dribbling displays by center Andrew Bogut, Rivers said he might have to do something he'd rather not: Force his guys to run gassers in practice.
3) The new offense is paying dividends, and the players realize it
It's not always pretty. It's not always smooth. On occasion, it looks like guys are in need of directions.
But the offense, more often than not, has loosened up what in certain instances last season was downright constipated.
There's Bogut, passing and screening and cutting. There's David Lee, leaking out on the fast break for a layup. There's Klay Thompson – Klay Thompson – getting plenty of space to launch a 3-pointer. And there's Stephen Curry, getting trapped and knowing exactly where to the find the open man.
"We're going to be good," Kerr said, "but how good depends on the details.
"When you start talking about elite teams playing at a high level, it's execution all the time. We're not close to that yet. But we showed glimpses of beautiful execution and ball movement. It was a really good week. But we've got to take the next step.''
As it is, the Warriors left quite an impression on Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who responded to those criticizing his team's play by pointing out the quality of the competition.
"That's not a very easy team to guard," Bryant said after a 15-point Warriors win last Thursday. "They moved the ball very well. We have to come out next game and just adjust."
The Warriors' response to those "adjustments" in the rematch on Sunday was to rev up and roar to a 41-point victory.