Monta, Warriors hold court in Las Vegas

September 16, 2011, 9:05 pm
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LAS VEGAS -- Warriors owner Joe Lacob, co-owner Peter Guber, executive board member Jerry West and head coach Mark Jackson put on an impressive show for approximately 3,000 season-ticket holders on Wednesday night at Oracle.They talked boldly of future success, and how the Warriors are on the verge of a breakthrough. Lacob once again talked about a "world-class organization" and Jackson reiterated the same playoff promise he delivered on the day he was hired.But with all due respect to the four important men who held court at Oracle Arena on Wednesday, something far more impressive -- and dare we say more important -- was happening about 600 miles away in Vegas. That's where 10 Warriors players were starting to assemble for informal workouts and a get-to-know-you weekend.
The NBA lockout has taken away the team's downtown Oakland practice facility as any kind of basketball venue. So, instead, Stephen Curry, David Lee, Monta Ellis and Dorell Wright have gotten most of the team together to play some pickup basketball and to work out.Give the Warriors' players some credit: No other NBA team has had as many players show up here than Golden State."You can get closer as a unit, get that communication down a little bit," forward Louis Amundson said. "Any basketball player will tell you the more you play with somebody, the more you learn their habits, the kind of passes they're going to throw, how they play the game. The more we can be out on the floor together the better."The Warriors got together on Friday morning at 9 a.m., at the Impact basketball facility, and they played pickup basketball for approximately 90 minutes. Then, as more NBA players showed up -- like Corey Maggette, Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, T.J. Ford, Roger Mason Jr., Jared Dudley to name a few -- the Warriors gradually gave up the court.Ellis wound up playing almost 10 pickup games and stayed on the court longer than any of his teammates. He continued to play while they lifted weights."We're building a bond," forward Ekpe Udoh said. "We've got three rookies out here (Klay Thompson, Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins) so everybody's got to get that chemistry going."For Thompson, Jenkins and Tyler it was their first real taste of pro basketball. They didn't get a chance to play in the Las Vegas Summer League, which was canceled by the lockout."This is a lot of fun," Thompson said. "Especially being out here for the whole weekend and getting to know each other. Unfortunately we missed summer league, but this makes up for it a little bit with getting to know everyone. I'm trying to make the most of each day I'm out here."And good for the Warriors, Thompson isn't the only one.

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