OAKLAND – The first Mark Jackson practice as Warriors coach wasn’t much of an actual practice, with only nine players available as rookies Klay Thompson and Jeremy Tyler mostly watched in a sign Golden State continues to pursue major moves.
The Warriors have been very active in talks for bold trades (Chris Paul) and prominent free agents (most notably centers: Tyson Chandler, Nene, DeAndre Jordan). The understanding is clear: Signing Thompson and Tyler now, despite likely having agreements in place, would eat into available cap space and reduce flexibility.
What is not certain is how long this approach will stay in place. In the ideal Warriors world, they strike a bold move that requires most or all of the cap room and then are able to go over to sign rookie deals. In the meantime, though, Thompson, the lottery-pick shooting guard from Washington State, and Tyler, a center who played professionally in Japan last season, are missing valuable learning-curve time as an additional complication to what would have been a whirlwind camp anyway.
“It’s very important for rookies to get playing time, to get practice time, to get teaching time, to understand that this is a different pace and there’s a different ball game,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be very important to get those guys on the floor so that they can begin to understand what Warriors basketball is all about.”
So how does missed time begin to add up?
“It just depends on the talent and skill level,” Jackson said. “When I was a rookie, I missed – I forgot how long it was, but I missed time. Some rookies are able to bounce back, some rookies are able to put themselves in position so they’re ready when they’re able to get on the floor. It depends on them physically and also physically, how tough and ready they are.”
Thompson begins camp as the third guard in the backcourt loaded with Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis and may also play small forward. Tyler is the backup to Andris Biedrins at center.