3 takeaways from Warriors’ California Classic win over Lakers

3 takeaways from Warriors’ California Classic win over Lakers

SAN FRANCISCO — There were gloriously flubbed layups, an absence of one highly anticipated rookie in particular, and another Warriors blowout.

Anthony Vereen remains undefeated in his lifetime as a head coach.

Much to the chagrin of the rather full Chase Center stands, the Lakers held Bronny James out as a precautionary measure due to swelling in his knee. At various points during the game, scattered “We want Bronny” chants broke out from the crowd.

Warriors second-round pick Quinten Post also missed his second straight game as he continues to ramp up from a minor leg injury.

Daeqwon Plowden, Ethan Thompson and Marques Bolden stood out for a second straight game for the Warriors, leading them to a 92-68 victory.

Here are three observations from the action.

Plenty of minutes to go around

With Trayce Jackson-Davis and Brandin Podziemski training with the US Select Team, the Warriors have had fewer NBA-caliber players rostered through the first couple games than most teams.

The bench got even thinner Sunday against the young Lakers.

Post missed his second straight game as he awaits clearance from the performance team. Pat Spencer, who had a terrific California Classic opener, was also in street clothes on Sunday. Neither did Yuri Collins, who also missed the first game.

The absences gave more opportunities for guys like Marques Bolden, Daeqwon Plowden, Mantas Rubstavicius and Kevin Knox II. That’s not such a bad thing.

First look at Knox

Kevin Knox II, the ninth overall pick in the 2018 Draft, made his Warriors Summer League debut. He was on Golden State’s initial roster, but a calf injury caused some confusion about his availability. On Sunday, he was ready to roll.

Players of Knox’s pedigree and experience shouldn’t have much trouble with Summer League competition. But because of the calf injury, this was the 24-year-old’s first real run of the summer, he said postgame. He certainly didn’t dominate.

Knox flubbed a pair of layups and went 0-for-4 at the free throw line overall. The former Knick, Hawk, Piston and Blazer snagged a couple steals and sank a 3 in the second half.

Knox logged seven points, five assists and four rebounds in 19 minutes, going 3-for-10 from the field. He wants to use the Summer League as an opportunity to compete while playing organized basketball, get in game shape and prove that he can be a leader.

“I love the game of basketball,” Knox said. “I love playing. I just really want to go out there and show teams that I can compete on a nightly basis no matter the stage I’m playing.”

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Dalton Knecht still feeling things out

This is what Summer League’s for. Even the most talented incoming rookies often have to acclimate themselves to a new level of play.

Dalton Knecht, the Lakers’ 17th overall pick, is an apt example. A 23-year-old wing who played three college seasons, he’s the type of prospect who should be able to hit the ground running. But he’s still getting used to the pace of the game.

With the ball in his hands in the half court, the game looked to speed up a bit on the former Tennessee Vol. He had trouble finishing inside at times against bigger, more athletic interior defenders like Marques Bolden. On defense, he let Reece Beekman drive past him along the baseline on one play.

Knecht still had moments. He finished with 12 points on 3-for-13 shooting, plus a couple steals. His hangtime on a drive in transition in particular was impressive. He should be athletic enough to hold his own once he finds a rhythm.

That time will come. It’s what the Summer League’s for.