The idea was to give the regulars some extended minutes and then settle into evaluation mode, studying the youngster ahead of roster cuts that will come over the next 48 hours.
The Warriors did that, sort of, in losing 123-113 to the Lakers. In one of the most heralded preseason games in recent years -- the LeBron James Effect -- it was notable that the young Lakers looked better than the young Warriors.
That makes sense. The Lakers have been leaning on their youngsters in regular-season games for a couple seasons, while the Warriors are entering a new phase.
Here are three takeaways from the fourth of five preseason games:
Warriors-Lakers is going to be good theater
The Lakers have a hodgepodge roster. They don't have enough shooting. They've got a few "characters" that could cause problems. Those are the descriptions, and they surely are a flawed team.
But if the roster's health is good and James plays 90 percent of the games, they could approach 50 wins. Moreover, they're good enough to force the Warriors to focus.
James alone is worth maybe 10 wins. His presence emboldens teammates, gives them faith. They've seen some of the teams James has carried to The Finals, so they surely believe they not only belong in the playoffs but also could do some damage.
Even during the recent losing seasons, the Lakers generally played the Warriors tough. They did it with pluck and a substantial amount of solid defense. We learned Wednesday night that they've added enough talent to make these games a lot of fun.
The highs and lows of the young centers
Damian Jones made his fourth consecutive start and finished with 7 points, 0 rebounds, five steals and three turnovers in 18 minutes. He also made a couple glaring defense errors, the kind of stuff that drives coaches nuts.
Jordan Bell, who started at forward, also made a couple highly visible miscues. But Bell's mistakes are those of commission, rather than omission. He's trying to make things happen, and sometimes tries too hard. These are indicators of youth. He finished with 2 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes.
Kevon Looney continues to be the steadiest and by far the least flashiest of the bunch. He scored 6 points and grabbed six rebounds in 19 minutes, also blocking one shot.
The work in progress continues, and it's a lot easier to take when these guys are playing with four All-Stars.
McKinnie trying to seize an opportunity
It appears, as we've previously noted, that camp invitee Alfonzo McKinnie has the inside track on earning a roster spot to start the season. In a game Kerr described as a dress rehearsal, McKinnie was the first player with a non-guaranteed contract to enter.
The 6-foot-8 wing contributed 10 points (on 5-of-8 shooting) and four rebounds in 14 minutes of action. Power forward Marcus Derrickson and Tyler Ulis got a few fourth-quarter minutes and were the other camp hopefuls to see significant time.
But McKinnie is best positioned to earn a spot.
With Pat McCaw's status still undetermined, the Warriors are light on wings. Competing with McKinnie for the current vacancy are Damion Lee and Danuel House Jr. Lee owns a two-way contract but has been sidelined by plantar fasciitis. And McKinnie simply has outplayed House.
The Warriors say they're still keeping the door open for McCaw. But mentally, they are prepared to start the season without him. Even if he showed up Friday, he wouldn't be prepared to play on opening night next Tuesday.