The estimated 4,000 in attendance for Monday's open-to-the-public practice at Oracle Arena got a preview of a rotation Warriors fans might see often this season.
Big man Ronny Turiaf played power forward for long stints with Blue Team, which is usually the starting lineup. Coach Don Nelson still may start forward Corey Maggette, whom Nelson said he would lean on because of the team's inexperience at the position. But Nelson said to expect to see Turiaf on the floor with starting center Andris Biedrins.
"We like that lineup actually," Nelson said. "And you'll see that, the big lineup."
Nelson started Turiaf next to Biedrins against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 20 in Ontario. But shortly thereafter, Nelson announced that Maggette would be starting at power forward over Turiaf and second-year forward Anthony Randolph, leading many to believe he was going to a small lineup primarily. Nelson also expressed uncertainty about how many minutes Turiaf can play and how much offense the team would be sacrificing.
Monday's practice showed Nelson is leaning toward going big. Some players certainly like the idea. Swingman Stephen Jackson called it his dream lineup.
One of the concerns about the big lineup is what it does for the second team. Nelson said where Turiaf plays most of his minutes, at power forward or center, will depend largely on the matchup. If Turiaf is not available to back up Biedrins, that leaves the Warriors' bench vulnerable to size and turns one of the Warriors' most secure positions into a potential mismatch against bulkier front lines.
Veteran Mikki Moore has served as backup center during part of the preseason. Monday, Maggette played power forward on the White Team and Randolph played center.
The options shrink if Randolph isn't available to start the season. He practiced despite a sore back, but Nelson said he wasn't sure if Randolph would be ready to go on Wednesday. Ditto for swingman Kelenna Azubuike, who also practiced on Monday.
The Warriors recognized Ellis' 24th birthday after Monday's practice. Some local children presented Ellis a cake, cards and balloons. Curry led the crowd in a chorus of happy birthday. That is perhaps getting off easy, as past rookies were forced to embarrass themselves by dancing or singing karaoke-style.