Ideally, Warriors swingman Kelenna Azubuike would like to start at small forward, or even shooting guard.

He'd also like to play without pain in his left knee and shoot 48.2 percent from 3-point range, as he did after November last season. But he knows ideals don't always fly in the Warriors' world.

"Knowing (coach Don Nelson), I could end up playing all five positions," Azubuike said Thursday while at Sea World in San Diego, creating an ideal day for a group of kids from R.O.C.K. (Real Options for City Kids) in San Francisco.

"With the Warriors, we're always unpredictable. You never know what can happen, that's why you have to keep making sure you get better. We haven't really made a major move like I thought we would. It's hard to figure out what they're going to do."

Either way, Azubuike said he's excited about the new season and is expecting a big year. He set career highs across the board last season, including 14.4 points on 46.4 percent shooting with 5.0 rebounds in 32.1 minutes.

Azubuike, who is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and in his fourth season, said he's spent the offseason preparing for anything. He's been lifting weights, working on his post-up game, improving his ball-handling, crafting a go-to move and perfecting his midrange game.

He has spent the last month in Chicago working with Michael Jordan's former trainer Tim Grover, who is known for his work with knees (Gilbert Arenas, Tracy McGrady and Jermaine O'Neal are there this summer, too). Azubuike said he will return to Chicago and finish training before coming to camp.


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He said he expects to be healthy. He also expects to see some time at power forward, so he's preparing himself "to take a beating."

Toward the end of last season, Nelson said the Warriors weren't good enough as a small team, so he would go big this season. He penciled swingman Stephen Jackson at the shooting guard spot, while second-year protege Anthony Randolph and a healthy Brandan Wright, Nelson said, sewed up the power forward position.

That sounds good for Azubuike, who would be left to share the small forward minutes with Corey Maggette, who came off the bench most of last season.

One small problem, though.

The Warriors drafted guard Stephen Curry, whom Nelson loves. He said Curry could play right away, maybe even start. If Curry is as good as advertised, it is likely he will play with guard Monta Ellis, which pushes Jackson back to small forward and Azubuike back to absorbing elbows from 6-9, 250-pound monsters.

Still, he can hope.

"My natural position is where I think I can help the team the most," Azubuike said. "But wherever coach puts me, I'll be ready."