LOS ANGELES – It will be a night for renewing acquaintances when the Warriors and Lakers meet at Staples Center for a preseason game on Thursday.
There is rookie coach Steve Kerr and the "Phoenix Warriors" contingent on one end of the court, with the man who once made the Suns shine, Steve Nash, on the other.
And there is Warriors guard Klay Thompon, the young gun who grew up in L.A., facing off against one of his idols, irrepressible old lion Kobe Bryant of the Lakers.
"Anytime we play the Lakers – they were my favorite team as a kid – so it's almost like a dream come true when I'm playing against them," Thompson said after Thursday's morning shootaround. "Kobe is still one of the best in the game. So it's always good to measure yourself against the greats."
For more than a decade, Bryant has been the unquestioned best, the platinum standard, among NBA shooting guards. But he's 36. He's coming off Achilles surgery, which came shortly after knee surgery.
The youngsters are gaining ground and Thompson may be leading the charge.
"I don't know if I'm in his circle yet," Thompson said. "I don't have a championship. I don't have an All-Star Game under my belt. But it's cool to be known as one of the better shooting guards in the league – to some people."
As much as Kerr likes Thompson, and likely some others around the league, the coach is not ready to grab Kobe's crown. Indeed, he seems braced for Bryant to make an impressive comeback.
"Nothing Kobe does surprises me any more," Kerr said. "Five years ago, he didn't practice the whole season basically, with an arthritic knee. I thought he was done. I really did. I thought he'd stick around . . . but the last couple years, before the Achilles in particular, he looked as good as he's ever looked. That guy is Superman."
Nash, 40, is attempting to make a comeback of his own. A final statement, if you will. He was the point guard for the Suns during the years, nearly a decade ago, when Kerr was the general manager and Alvin Gentry, now his top assistant coach, was head coach.
"We went through a lot together, accomplished a lot," Kerr said. "I have great affection for Steve. He's fantastic. It'll be fun to see him and compete against."
LINEUPS/ROTATION: Kerr said he plans to use the same starting lineup as he did in the preseason opener against the Clippers: Andrew Bogut at center, David Lee and Andre Iguodala at forward, with Stephen Curry and Thompson at the guards.
"I haven't decided yet on a substitution pattern," the coach said. "You'll see a couple differences but we'll see how it goes."
INJURY LIST: G Shaun Livingston (right big toe surgery) is not with the team and will remain out for at least two weeks. C Festus Ezeli (right shin inflammation) is with the team but remains out indefinitely.
For the Lakers, F Wesley Johnson (left knee soreness) is probable. G Nick Young (torn radial collateral ligament), F Ryan Kelly (left hamstring strain) and G Xavier Henry (back spasms) are out.