Barnes, Ezeli will play, but will they win?

October 9, 2012, 10:42 pm
Share This Post

OAKLAND If the Warriors are to have a successful season and its up to you to decide whether that means the playoffs or not theyregoing to need some things to go right for them.Obviously, Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry are going to needto be healthy for most, if not virtually all of the season. Theyll also needto defend better, be more efficient late in games and develop solidchemistry.Theyre also going to need a pair of rookies to contribute,and by contribute we dont just mean play. We mean contribute to winning.In other words, the pressure is on Harrison Barnes andFestus Ezeli to produce.Through two preseason games, they have. Warriors coach MarkJackson expects it to continue.I dont think they have to be better than I think theyare, Jackson said. They have to be who they are. Asking Festus to do whathe did (vs. Utah) is right up his alley. And Harrison being a starter or a guyoff the bench playing quality minutes. But at the same time, thats why you sayWell, you can be real good. Well, we can be. But understand this is a leaguewhere experience of winning and knowing how to win is a big deal. And thatswhen well take the next step.In other words, theres a difference between playing in theNBA and winning in the NBA.Nevertheless, the very early returns on Barnes and Ezeli areencouraging. Barnes may end up being the teams starting small forward. If not,hell likely back up Brandon Rush. Either way, you have to believe hes goingto be getting 20 minutes a night give or take a few.So hes going to have to be a quick learner. And Barnesacknowledges the lessons are pretty tough.Its been a whirlwind, Barnes said of training camp andhis first two preseason games. Obviously, playing the Lakers is different thanthe Jazz because that (the Lakers game) was the first time out there. A lot ofjitters. Stuff like that. But its exciting. These games have just been so muchdifferent from any type of game Ive ever played. Kind of living out thedream.REWIND: Good signs for Warriors in first preseason game
Ezeli is another one a first-year player who is going toget minutes. Heck, Warriors fans dont want to hear this, but its possibleEzeli could be the teams starting center on opening night.That would likely happen should Andrew Bogut, coming offleft ankle surgery, not be ready by Oct. 31, when the Warriors play the Suns inPhoenix.But even if Bogut is back by then, his minutes are probablygoing to be limited, opening the door for plenty of Ezeli. After two exhibitiongames, it seems apparent Ezeli is ahead of Andris Biedrins, who missedTuesdays practice with right groin tightness, on the depth chart.Ezeli said hes been planning for all of this.I expected it, Ezeli said. Because, no matter where Iwent I felt like stuff I bring to whatever team, I felt like I had something tobring to the team. I bring physicality and defense, all that stuff. I just comeout there and play for the team. I just want to win. So I felt like I couldhave been able to contribute to any team. And I work hard. I want to play. Iwould have worked hard so I could play whatever team I went to.

More Team Talk