Warriors to play Supersonics in Reno

RENO -- For the past 10 years, the Golden State Warriors have been a franchise in perpetual rebuilding mode.

The Warriors hoped that they began to turn the corner last season as the NBA's most improved team, winning 17 more games than the year before. But with off season changes that included the loss of last season's two leading scorers, the Warriors remain a question mark.

But two current executives who come from better days past for the Warriors -- Al Attles and Chris Mullin -- maintain that last year was a turnaround season for the franchise and that the team is heading in the right direction.

Local fans will have a chance to check out this season's edition of the Warriors when they play in a preseason game against the Seattle Supersonics on Oct. 15 at the Lawlor Events Center. Mullin and Attles were at the El Dorado on Tuesday to promote the game.

The Warriors lost their leading scorer from last year, Antawn Jamison when they traded him to the Dallas Mavericks in a major trade. The Warriors got Nick Van Exel, Avery Johnson, Antoine Rigaudeau, Popeye Jones and Evan Eschmeyer for Jamison, Danny Fortson, Chris Mills and Jiri Welsh.

Golden State also lost its second leading scorer, Gilbert Arenas to free agency.

"We made quite a few deals, I think all for the better," said Mullin, a five-time all-star for the Warriors who also played on the 1992 Dream Team.

When asked about reaction to the deal, Mullin said, "I think initially there's been some questions, but I think as time goes by, all of those questions will be answered, not now but in the future. Opinions in the off season don't mean a whole lot."

Mullin said this season's lineup should give coach Eric Musselman a chance to create more mismatches. Musselman finished second in the NBA Coach of the Year voting last year to Greg Popovich of the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

"I think our coaches are going to have a lot more ability to change lineups," Mullin said. "We do feel we have one of the best coaches in the league."

Mullin gave a projected lineup, listing Van Exel and Speedy Claxton at point guard, Jason Richardson and first round draft choice Mickael Pietrus of France at shooting guard, Mike Dunleavey and Calbert Cheaney at small forward, Troy Murphy and Cliff Robinson at power forward and Erick Dampier and Adonal Foyle at center.

Cheaney and Robinson were two other major off season acquisitions. Two other players that Mullin didn't mention that could play a major role are Johnson at point guard and Jones, a swingman, who's an outstanding rebounder.

"We have a nice mix of veterans and young guys," Attles said. "Hopefully we can get back to those championship days."

Attles was the coach when the Warriors won their only NBA title in 1975.

"I don't know if I had anything to do with it, but I'll take the credit," said Attles, who is the team's vice president and assistant general manager.

Mullin, a special assistant to Attles, said Attles is still an outstanding coach.

"He still is coaching, not just the players, but myself," Mullin said. "He gives me a lot of direction and I appreciate it."

Attles played an exhibition game in Reno with Wilt Chamberlain and Mullin also played a preseason game in Reno. "He lost a lot of money," said Attles about Chamberlain.

Mullin admitted next month's game may not build much of a fan base in the area.

"I think people are going to follow who they follow," they said. "I think it's important for us to show what we're about.

"Every time we step on the floor we want to make an impression. If that happens to bring some people from Reno, that would be beautiful."

Tickets for next month's game are available by calling 1-888-225-2277 or on line at tickets.com.


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