What we learned as unfamiliar faces star in Warriors’ California Classic win

What we learned as unfamiliar faces star in Warriors’ California Classic win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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SAN FRANCISCO – When the Warriors opened their NBA Summer League season Saturday, they did so without the presence of familiar names Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Golden State’s only 2024 draft pick, second-rounder Quinten Post, was not available and neither was Lindy Waters III, acquired last week via trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

So, there was ample time and space for unfamiliar faces to introduce themselves to 8,147 inside Chase Center. The new guys did not disappoint in a 105-66 thumping of the Miami Heat in their California Classic opener.

The Warriors owned every quarter, playing aggressive defense, limiting Miami to 28.9-percent shooting, including 25.8 percent from beyond the arc.

The offense positively shined with Daeqwon Plowden and Ethan Thompson combining for 53 points, following the lead of two-way point guard Reece Beekman, who signed a two-way contract on Wednesday.

Where were Podziemski and Jackson-Davis, who earned credibility as rookies last season? They were in Las Vegas representing the Team USA Select team that will practice this weekend against the Team USA Olympic squad.

Post, the 7-foot center from Boston College, still is recovering from a left leg injury described as “minor.”

Here are three observations from a game that never was close:

Plowden’s shooting was, um, fire

Starting at forward, the 25-year-old Plowden impressed by scoring 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including 6-of-9 from distance in 23 minutes. He scored 13 points in six third-quarter minutes, making all five of his shots, three of which were from distance. At one point, he dropped 11 consecutive points.

Who is Daeqwon Plowden? A 6-foot-6 wing who grew up in Philadelphia before attending Bowling Green University. Eligible for the 2022 NBA draft, he was not selected and has spent the past two years in the G League in the systems of the New Orleans Pelicans and Orlando Magic.

Another Thompson scorches the nets at Chase

While there were several references to Klay Thompson on the public-address system and on the video board, it was the unrelated Ethan Thompson who led the Warriors in scoring with 27 points. He came off the bench midway through the first quarter and immediately went to work, scoring 10 points in six minutes on 4-of-4 shooting, including 1-of-1 beyond the arc.

Who is Ethan Thompson? A 6-foot-5 guard from Oregon State who went undrafted in 2021 and has spent the last three years among the Chicago Bulls’ G League affiliate, along with professional leagues in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Beekman looks like vet

Several things attracted the Warriors to Beekman, including his two-way skills and the fact that he played four seasons in the ACC. His experience showed. He looked assertive and controlled but has sneaky athleticism – he glided in for a dunk in the first quarter and made it look easy. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-3 from deep.

Who is Reece Beekman? A 6-foot-2 pure point guard – pass-first, but a capable shooter – who was a four-year starter at University of Virginia who twice was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He was a four-star recruit out of high school in Milwaukee.

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