NBA regular season

Warriors expect ‘very competitive’ play as new NBA in-season starts

Philip Matel

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Warriors expect ‘very competitive’ play as new NBA in-season starts

HOTSHOT. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry celebrates after a basket.

Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Stephen Curry and the Warriors relish a new challenge as the NBA’s novel In-Season Tournament tips off

MANILA, Philippines – Despite their incomparable NBA success the past decade, the Golden State Warriors still want to go all the way in the league’s novel In-Season Tournament.

The new concept will pit all 30 teams in group play and knockout rounds for a shot at the prize pool and the NBA Cup trophy starting Saturday, November 4, Manila time.

“I don’t think I need to motivate our players really, you know… they’re self-motivated. That’s how they got to the NBA in the first place,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in an online global media availability on Friday, November 3.

“If you put a prize in front of NBA players, they’re going to compete. I mean, this is what they do… our players are excited, and I don’t need to give them any special motivation,” he added.

Even with four NBA titles since 2015, the Warriors still treat this new competition as a challenge, and just as important, as all In-Season Tournament games, except the title match, will count toward the teams’ regular-season record.

“I do think that because it’s a separate competition, something that we’re going to be, you know, taking part in over the next couple of months… it can sharpen up our game, the games will feel meaningful,” said Kerr.

The competition, which will run until December 9, will feature new, colorful courts that will be complemented by the league’s city edition jerseys.

All 30 teams have been randomly picked to groups of five within their conference based on win-loss records from the 2022-2023 regular season and will each play four group-phase games.

“We’re treating this very seriously, but we’re not going to be playing our guys 45 minutes… I mean, we’re still going to have the big picture in mind,” said Kerr.

The Warriors were drawn in the West C bracket, along with the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the San Antonio Spurs.

Golden State, led by the veteran core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and new addition Chris Paul, will head to Oklahoma City to open their campaign on Saturday, November 4, at 7 am Manila time against a team led by All-NBA team member Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and rookie Chet Holmgren.

“These games are going to be very competitive, but our guys are used to playing a lot of basketball and they’re in great shape,” said Kerr.

“I think it will be a lot of fun. And I’m not worried about [fatigue] at all.”

The top four teams (three group-phase winners plus one wildcard) from each conference will advance to the knockout games, which will be staged in Las Vegas, Nevada, with $500,000 awaiting each player of the championship-winning team and a trophy.

Players from the losing finalists will also receive $200,000 each, the semifinalists $100,000, and the quarterfinalists $50,000.

Individual honors such as the In-Season Tournament MVP and the All-Tournament Team will also be awarded based on performance during the group play and knockout stages. —

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