The Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns kick off their seasons tonight. Following a Lakers-Nuggets rematch to tip off the NBA season, the Warriors and Suns will play later at 10 p.m. ET. Both teams made huge offseason splashes and are excited to show off their new pieces tonight. Wait, both of the new pieces are playing, right?
Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns Preview
A Possible Setback
After Monday’s practice, new Suns head coach Frank Vogel said that both Devin Booker (toe soreness) and Bradley Beal (back) practiced and should be “good to go” for Tuesday’s opener against the Warriors. While there’s been no update on Booker, reports on Beal are less promising, with Shams Charania of The Athletic reporting that the three-time All-Star is “unlikely to play.”
Phoenix is being cautious of Beal’s back tightness, wanting to save him for later in the season rather than using him on opening night.
Despite Beal’s possible absence, the Suns are still loaded. Booker is paired with Kevin Durant and Jusuf Nurkic in the starting lineup, along with an unexpectedly loaded bench. Yuta Watanabe, Bol Bol, Grayson Allen, and others were all acquired this offseason, putting doubts about Phoenix’s depth to rest.
A Reignited Core
On the flip side, Golden State’s shiny new toy will be active, but nobody knows where yet. Chris Paul is set to make his Warriors debut tonight after the Suns swapped him for Beal last offseason. One trade with Washington for Jordan Poole later and the 38-year-old is now teamed up with his biggest rival of the last decade.
With Draymond Green out tonight with a sprained ankle, it’s unclear where Paul will find himself in the lineup. He may be given the starting nod alongside Stephen Curry in the backcourt, but that would leave the Warriors with a small lineup. Despite the opening, look for Paul to come off the bench to run with the second unit while Jonathan Kuminga likely gets an early season start at power forward.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been adamant about the Warriors’ lack of discipline and leadership last season, leading them to the sixth seed in the West. Likely speaking about the second unit, Paul brings a new mentality while veterans Curry and Klay Thompson hold down the starting backcourt.
The obvious storyline in this one is Paul’s return to Phoenix. While Paul says there’s no bad blood, there’s no doubt he’s looking to go out and beat his former team.
Despite leaving Golden State four years ago, Durant will play his first game against the Warriors tonight. Durant, like Paul, had no negative comments about his former team. However, his exit involving Green may spark some competitive fire.
Damion Lee and Dario Saric will also face off against their former teams, adding layers to this contest. There’s no doubt this was one of the best games picked to start the season off, with underlying chances that sparks may fly.
Expect a high-scoring game involving meticulous offense from some of the best in the game. The new-look Phoenix Suns face off against a rejuvenated Golden State Warriors tonight.