— Ryan Gorcey (@RyanGorcey) September 30, 2019
CHASE CENTER — The Golden State Warriors will be without oen of their biggest offseson acquisition when training camp starts. The team announced on Monday morning that center Willie Cauley-Stein will be out through the month of October with a mid-foot strain.
Willie Cauley-Stein says he was playing pickup when he went for a lob and came down awkwardly on his left foot.
Stein was projected to be the team’s starting center as they embark on what Steve Kerr called the most important training camp since his first in 2014. The Warriors start the regular season on Oct. 24 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“It’s disappointing for him, mostly,” said general manager Bob Myers. “I know he was ready to go. You’d like to have new players get a chance to get acclimated in camp. For him, the coaches, myself, we want him to get back. The good news, he will be back.”
Without a true NBA center on the roster outside of Cauley-Stein, who was signed at a discount on July 8, Golden State will start Kevon Looney at the five, Kerr said. Looney is fully healthy from a cartilage fracture in his collarbone he suffered during last season’s NBA Finals.
While in years past, Golden State has had several players who could play the five, Cauley-Stein’s injury leaves the Warriors with few experienced options.
“I think the big difference is that while we may not have had the stability of one guy at center over the last few years — we did with Andrew Bogut the first couple years — but what we’ve had the last couple years is a stable of veteran guys — Zaza [Pachulia], JaVale [McGee] and David West, even going back, playing David Lee or Draymond at the five,” Kerr said. “This year will be different. We’re relying on a couple of rookies in Alen [Smailagic] and Omari [Spellman], who are four/fives, and Looney is also a four/five. That’s the way the NBA has turned. It’s more of a league of wings and bigs, and they’re bigs. That’s part of the excitement this season.”
Golden State has more new pieces than at any point in the last five seasons, and the hope was that this training camp would give them all time to gel. Myers hoped Cauley-Stein could sit and learn. The Warriors signed Cauley-Stein in part to provide a big who would fit well with D’Angelo Russell’s pick-and-roll abilities, and with so much of pick-and-roll being timing, missing training camp will be a blow.
“Camp is a formative time for him and his teammates, but there’s nothing you can do,” Myers said. “Hopefully, he’ll be able to watch and pick up on some things without participating.”