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.
Las Vegas Summer League can be deceiving. Do not pay too much attention to statistics or records when analyzing the tournament. The games are nowhere near NBA-level competition and the teams are assembled like glorified pick-up games. Instead, try observing the more subtle minutia of each individual player, like their willingness to shoot or pass, their overall basketball IQ or ability to find comfort in mayhem and slow the game down. But not all observations of summer league are on the court. Let's jump around to some observations I made off the court during my time in Las Vegas:
The Warriors front office and coaching staff are optimistic and excited for the new-look Warriors: There has been a constant news cycle recently about the end of the Warriors dynasty, some even going as far as to say that this current rendition of the franchise will not even make the postseason next year. But you would never know there is outside pessimism about the team when you around the actual team themselves. From top to bottom, there is a fresh enthusiasm in the air. While roster question marks and concerns are accurately realized, there is a sense that the coaches and executives look at next season as a fun new challenge. They seem the cherish the role of underdogs after being the prohibitive favorites year after year.
Ron Adams is around and involved with the team: There had been reports that the Lakers were in hot pursuit of the defensive guru, and speculation had mounted over the last season that this might be it for Adams as a stalwart on the Warriors bench. But Adams was present and engaged in Las Vegas, which makes one think that he will be back with the team in some capacity in the Chase Center.
Willie Cauley-Stein's personality will be a great addition to the Warriors locker room: The new probable starting center is outgoing and fun to talk to, as he is generous with his stories and laughs. He is happy to discuss his newfound love for fishing, or his excitement to join a team in Golden State that he has always admired. Over the years, the team has always mixed in players onto their roster that could bring some levity and lightheartedness to a sometimes arduous season. Cauley-Stein seems like he could be that guy this year.
The combination of Eric Paschall and Jordan Poole deserves a reality TV show: The new-look Warriors are younger than ever, and with that comes some youthful energy. The best example of this is the budding relationship between Paschall and Poole. The two rookies are inseparable, by choice and by circumstance, and they have a fun time showing it. Whether it is crashing each other's interviews, or constantly laughing and poking fun at one another, Paschall and Poole bring some joy to the team that seemed to have been missing last season.
There is a strong consensus that Damion Lee deserves a chance in the NBA: Lee was present in Vegas, mingling with the Warriors staff and other NBA officials and players. He is still a free agent, though currently restricted, and he is searching for a team to give him a chance after shooting over 40 percent in both the G-League and NBA last season. There is a common sentiment from many that I talked to, that Lee deserves a real opportunity to compete at the highest level. Now it is up to a team to put him on their roster. The Warriors do not have much space, but perhaps they can get creative and find a way to bring him back.
Everyone still loves Quinn Cook: When Cook showed up at Thomas and Mack Center for the Warriors and Lakers summer league match up, he instantly became the most popular guy in the arena. From NBA stars to agents, to coaches, to media, everyone just wanted a chance to reconnect with Cook. There is no doubt the Warriors will miss having him around the team.