When ex-Warriors from '21-22 title squad will face Dubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The release of the Warriors' 2022-23 NBA schedule turns over a new leaf. Staring at 82 games gives other teams a sense of being reborn with a clean slate. For the Warriors, it kicks off the rest of the league aiming to take them down.
That includes some old friends.
In free agency, the Warriors lost six players who were on their championship roster from last season. Chris Chiozza, who was on a two-way contract, still hasn't signed with another team this offseason but won't be returning to Golden State. Nemanja Bjelica left the NBA entirely, signing a two-year contract with Fenerbahce Beko of the BSL in Turkey.
What does that all mean? We're left with four former Warriors from last season who still are in the NBA and are slated to face Golden State next season.
Here's who, when and where:
Juan Toscano-Anderson, SF/SG
When: vs. Lakers (10/18), vs. Lakers (2/11), at Lakers (2/23), at Lakers (3/5)
The Oakland native and Warriors fan-favorite's time with the franchise came to a close this offseason when he wasn't extended a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. Shortly after, Toscano-Anderson made Southern California his new home, joining LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Warriors fans won't have to wait long to greet JTA. Not only will the Warriors host the Lakers during their five-game preseason schedule, they'll do the same on the night of the regular-season opener where Toscano-Anderson will receive a loud ovation during the ring ceremony.
Over three seasons with the Warriors, Toscano-Anderson played in 139 regular-season games and started 28. He averaged 4.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, though his impact as part of the Warriors' heart and soul always went beyond the box score.
Damion Lee, SG
When: at Suns (10/25), at Suns (11/16), vs. Suns (1/10), vs. Suns (3/13)
Lee, like Toscano-Anderson, was undrafted before eventually finding a home with the Warriors and paving an NBA career. He showed his ability to be a sharpshooter from deep, connecting on 39.7 percent of his 3-pointers in the 2018-19 season and the 2020-21 season for the Dubs.
But those numbers dropped last season.
In the 2020-21 season, when he averaged 18.9 minutes per game, Lee shot 46.7 percent from the field, 39.7 percent from deep, 90.9 percent on free throws and had a 60.8 effective field goal percentage. That was good for a 121 offensive rating per 100 possessions. This past season, Lee shot 44.1 percent overall, 33.7 percent from three, 88 percent from the free-throw line and had a 52.3 effective field goal percentage. His offensive rating per 100 possessions fell to 111.
Warriors fans won't see Lee and the Suns in San Francisco until 2023. They should be kind to him. Don't expect the same for the rest of his Phoenix teammates.
Otto Porter Jr., SF/PF
When: at Raptors (12/18), vs. Raptors (1/27)
Porter is the only Warrior who left in free agency to sign with an Eastern Conference team. The other three all stayed on the West Coast. The veteran forward took it to another level by going north of the border.
The 29-year-old signed a two-year, $12.4 million contract with the Toronto Raptors in free agency and has a player option for the second season. He certainly will be missed in the Bay Area.
Called the "Perfect Warrior" by Steve Kerr more than once, Porter revived his career with Golden State, playing in 65 regular-season games and starting 15. The former No. 3 overall draft pick played only 28 games between two teams the year before and hadn't played at least 65 games since the 2017-18 season. As a Warrior, he averaged 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds, shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 37 percent from long distance.
If there's one stat that stood out, it was Porter's plus-minus. Porter played in 22 playoff games, including three starts in the NBA Finals, and was a combined plus-109 while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from downtown. The Warriors will do their best to replace Porter off the bench with a combination of JaMychal Green, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
Gary Payton II, G/F
When: vs. Blazers (12/30), at Blazers (2/8), vs. Blazers (2/28), at Blazers (4/9)
Of all the Warriors' losses in free agency, Payton's departure was the toughest to swallow. His camp was hoping for more love from the front office. He definitely received that from the Portland Trail Blazers, who gave the 29-year-old who turns 30 in December an offer he couldn't refuse.
Last summer, Payton played for the Warriors' summer league team in Las Vegas. He played only one preseason game and was given the 15th and final roster spot on the same day as the regular-season opener. To say he exceeded expectations isn't fair.
He blew the roof off them.
Payton was a highly essential piece to the Warriors winning it all. He's one of the most unique players in the game for his defensive prowess and offensive skill set as essentially being a slasher and dunker at 6-foot-3. The Warriors will do their best to replace him with a combination of Moody and Donte DiVincenzo, and possibly one day Ryan Rollins.
The Warriors will host Payton and the Blazers during the preseason, but then won't see him until their final game of 2022. They also close out the month of February against Portland and play there to end the regular season. Expect plenty of GP2 jerseys in the stands at Chase Center on Dec. 30.