Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.
There was quite a bit of disappointment for those expecting to see fireworks and a fully cohesive team in the Warriors' first preseason game. The Warriors went almost four minutes into the game before scoring their first bucket, and were clearly over matched on the defensive end.
D'Angelo Russell struggled to find his shot and rhythm, wings fighting for minutes were relatively unnoticeable and the team's lack of size in the paint was glaring. Furthermore, the Warriors seemingly could not find any offensive identity without Steph on the floor. Because of all these factors and more, there was obvious negativity and concern for a fanbase that is so used to seeing an historically dominant team the last half decade.
But before fans freak out and wave the white flag, it's time to practice a little thing called patience. This new Warriors project will take some time to develop, and surely one or two or even five preseason games will not be the final indicator of how the regular season will unfold.
Yes, the offense struggled considerably and the defense could not stop anyone near the hoop. But keep in mind, the Warriors were without Willie Cauley-Stein, Kevon Looney and Alec Burks, arguably their three most important players after Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Russell.
It is very reasonable to believe that with those six healthy, the offense should start humming. Defense could be an issue the whole season, but the Warriors won't nearly be as exposed down low as they were Saturday in a 123-101 loss to the Lakers when Cauley-Stein and Looney eventually match up with the opposing bigs.
There is no amount of patience that will help, however, if the Warriors are stricken by the injury bug during the season. The roster is glaringly thin in the frontcourt, and the team probably could not survive if any of the big three were to miss significant time. But if injuries were to occur, as they almost assuredly will, in order to stay afloat in a loaded Western Conference a few of the young players on the roster will have to take a major leap forward.
This will not be an overnight revelation. It will take a few months to see who can find the consistency to be a real contributor. Yet again, patience is key.
There were some great signs of optimism from Jacob Evans III and Jordan Poole, as well as some nice moments from Damion Lee and Eric Paschall in the loss. It will take time for Omari Spellman to be in proper shape to be productive, but at the very least his presence was felt on the defensive boards. One or two of these players could shine immediately once the regular season begins, but staying consistent will be the hardest task.
Alfonzo McKinnie burst onto the scene this past season and played some eye-catching basketball for the first month, but after an injury kept him out of the lineup for a couple weeks, he never regained that form and struggled mightily with his shot the rest of the way. Quinn Cook got off to a great start last season, fell out of the rotation for a few months and then caught fire over the last couple weeks, eventually earning some playing time in the playoffs.
To get a strong sense of the contribution from the young players, it will probably take a couple months to materialize. The Warriors' front office and coaching staff, as well as the fan base, will have to patiently watch the season unfold. The team is hardcapped without much mobility to make significant roster changes, so there really is not much of a choice but to take a step back, even if the team struggles early on.
Everyone will have to take a wait-and-see approach to this season. There's no reason to panic.
Well at least not yet.