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NBA Preseason Takeaways: Golden State Warriors, Victor Wembenyama and All the Offense

The NBA preseason is not necessarily a barometer for whether or not a team is going to be successful in the regular season, but it can be telling for what is to come. This preseason the Minnesota Timberwolves (5-0) and the Toronto Raptors (4-0) were the only undefeated teams, while the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers (2-4) and the Sacramento Kings (1-4) were not as successful. With the NBA season on the horizon, these are a few of the trends and takeaways for the preseason this year.

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The first thing that stood out in the preseason is that the Golden State Warriors look like the Golden State Warriors again. There was a level of energy and joy coming from Golden State this preseason that was not there last year. Obviously there were different circumstances leading into the season last year, but with Chris Paul on board, Jonathan Kuminga looking like he is ready for a breakout year and Stephen Curry hitting game winners, this might be another special Golden State season.

In five games during the preseason, Kuminga scored in double-figures in every game (21.8 points per game) and did so with efficiency (54.9 percent shooting).

Paul also looked good in four games, playing just 82 total minutes and scoring 30 points and dishing out 23 assists.

Speaking of joy, teams seem to be leaning more and more into their offensive identities. During the offseason the Boston Celtics swapped Marcus Smart and Robert Williams for Kristaps Porzingas and Jrue Holiday. The Milwaukee Bucks swapped Holiday for Damian Lillard. The Cleveland Cavaliers added Max Strus and Georges Niang to their wing rotation.

The Phoenix Suns are all-in on offense with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, surrounded by role players like Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen.

10 teams averaged 115+ points per game in the preseason and after the Denver Nuggets took home the 2023 NBA Championship, offense seems to be the focus of nearly every other team in the league heading into this season. 11 different teams jacked up 40+ three pointers per game in the preseason after last season only four teams did that for the season.

This year’s Rookie of the Year race is going to be really, really fun. No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembenyama has been as good as advertised in the preseason. In four games he averaged 19.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.2 blocks plus steals per game. The big man showed off an array of skills as a ball-handler, playmaker, scorer, shooter and defender for the San Antonio Spurs.

His biggest competition might be another big man who was injured all of last season, but Chet Holmgren looks ready to fill in a massive role for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Holmgren won his head-to-head with Wembenyama, where a rivalry might have been born. He finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. In that game he only played 16 minutes, shooting 7-for-10 from the floor.

Also in the mix for Rookie of the Year this season will likely be Scoot Henderson, the No. 2 overall pick with the Portland Trail Blazers, with Lillard gone and the ball in his hands.

The Thompson Twins have both played well and will be on teams that will allow them to thrive, with Amen (Houston Rockets) and Ausar (Detroit Pistons) both in great positions. Jaime Jaquez Jr. (Miami Heat) is a wildcard in this race, playing on a good team with likely a sizable role.

Every year the preseason builds momentum, excitement and energy for every NBA team. This season is bound to be another exciting one with the most talent the league has ever had at once in NBA history.

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Kris Habbas
Kris Habbas
Once writer, then editor of NBA Draft Insider. Did some work for Dime Magazine. Wrote about the NBA and WNBA as a beat writer for Bright Side of the Sun. Mostly basketball. Lots of words.

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