SANTA MONICA – Steve Kerr’s first impression of Warriors guard Nemanja Nedovic was a player who wasn’t quite in shape at NBA Summer League and didn’t play well there in Las Vegas.
But after coming to training camp in better shape and healed from a fracture of his fifth metatarsal, Nedovic earned the coach’s praise for putting together solid practices and having his best game in the Warriors’ preseason-opening win Tuesday.
“When I’m healthy, everything is possible,” said Nedovic, who had 12 points and three assists in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers. “I’m moving a lot better. I’m quicker, and my body just feels great.”
The Warriors’ first-round draft pick in 2013 will face more competition for playing time after Shaun Livingston returns from toe surgery. While Nedovic’s agent was quoted last week wondering if he would get a chance, the player feels he’ll get a fair opportunity.
“Yeah, why not?” Nedovic said. “Coach said he’s going to play the guys that give the best results, so my job is to give my best, to contribute to the game. It’s the coach’s decision.”
Nedovic said the front office hasn’t given him an indication on whether or not the third-year option of his contract will be picked up, adding that he wasn’t concerned about it.
“The biggest thing with Nedo is he’s just got to run the team,” Kerr said. “He doesn’t need to score. But we love the way he pushes the ball. He really attacked yesterday, put pressure on the defense, did a good job of getting us into our offense at the same time.”
LOS ANGELES — Warriors center Festus Ezeli said he plans to be ready for the season opener despite shin inflammation that has left him sidelined indefinitely and awaiting a reevaluation later this week.
“That’s the plan,” Ezeli said Tuesday. “As of right now, I will be.”
Ezeli said the discomfort he was experiencing is “very, very slight” after making progress since being shut down Thursday. After missing all of last season recovering from knee surgery, Ezeli has worked to strengthen his right leg.
But he cautioned that it was up to the team’s medical staff to decide when he returns to action.
“It’s not really something I can just push through right now,” Ezeli said.
SANTA MONICA – Warriors training camp invitee Jason Kapono despite having last played professionally in 2013 has been a busy man.
He and his wife live in Danville and are the parents of two sets of twins. The girls will soon turn 3, and the boys turned 1 on Tuesday.
Now the nine-year NBA veteran hopes to hang around with the Splash Brothers and bring his 3-point shooting expertise to a team whose general manager, Bob Myers, was once his agent for nine years.
“If I can get another year in and be on a quality team and have a good experience, it would be great,” Kapono said at shootaround before the Warriors’ preseason opener against the Los Angeles Clippers. “But I do understand this is a talented team with a deep roster, and they only have one spot left. It’s worth chancing.”
OAKLAND – Aaron Craft has been seen wearing a pink backpack as Warriors rookies often are forced to do, and it was former Big Ten rival Draymond Green that made sure the Ohio State grad got one with sparkles and a cartoon character on it.
“He came in the locker room with an Ohio State backpack,” Green said, the Michigan State alum smiling. “I went straight to the store and got the pink backpack. Tell them blame Craft, coming in with that ‘O’ on his back. Uh, (nobody) wants to see that.”
Craft and Green faced off numerous times in college. When Green was a senior and Craft was a sophomore, Ohio State clinched a share of the Big Ten regular-season title in 2012 after beating Michigan State on the road and preventing the Spartans from claiming the outright title. The Spartans avenged the loss in the Big Ten tournament, beating the Buckeyes in the championship game.
The Warriors signed free agent guard/forward Jason Kapono to a contract, the team announced Saturday.
Kapono, 33, is a nine-year NBA veteran who has averaged 6.7 points in his career, ranking fifth in the league’s all-time 3-point percentage list at 43.4 percent. He hasn’t played in the NBA since 2012 with the Lakers.
Kapono, whose signing had been delayed as he waited to receive his FIBA clearance, last played professionally in Greece in 2013.
OAKLAND – Center Festus Ezeli did not practice Thursday due to right shin inflammation that has caused him discomfort since July.
Ezeli, who also was held out of the team’s Tuesday evening scrimmage, was unable to play in the NBA Summer League because of the inflammation after missing all of last season while recovering from knee surgery in the same leg.
“That’s the hard part when somebody hasn’t played in so long,” coach Steve Kerr said. “You have to push them and see how they respond. If you don’t push them, you’ll never figure out where you are. So we pushed him a little bit the last couple of days, had a little inflammation, so now we back off.”
OAKLAND – Warriors executive board member Jerry West, one of the greatest guards in NBA, history, believes Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson form the best backcourt in the league.
“I saw an article in USA Today saying we have the best backcourt,” West said Wednesday. “I truly believe that.”
West, who advocated keeping the Splash Brothers together amidst trade discussions involving Thompson, once was part of a sweet-shooting backcourt with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Gail Goodrich.
“It’s nice to have two young guys like that in the backcourt who know that maybe you don’t have to ever change for a long time, but we’re thrilled to have our backcourt,” West said.
West said after watching the first day of training camp that Thompson was the best player in those two sessions.
“Oh my goodness, his improvement is remarkable,” said West, who led the charge to draft Thompson. “I mean, remarkable.
“I mean, he was in the lane here all day.”
Thompson, who has spoken of a need to go to the basket more often, said it was “cool” West thinks highly of him. He didn’t care to weigh in on the backcourt debate that was touched off by Bradley Beal declaring Washington’s was the best with him and John Wall.
“Well there no games yet, so, you know, media’s got to talk about something,” Thompson said.