As of this writing, the Golden State Warriors are mere hours from their first pre-season contest of the 2022-23 campaign. Their exhibition slate is anything but your standard fare dry run, though, as Stephen Curry and Co. will tip things off in Saitama, Japan.
The Dubs clearly aren’t content to just show up in the country, play two basketball games against the Washington Wizards and leave, either. They’ve been meeting people and seeing some of the sights as well.
Klay Thompson took a particularly picturesque snap while taking a walk to Fujimiyama Hill in the Hamarikyu Gardens. Jordan Poole enjoyed some of the local cuisine and strolled through a convenience store. The whole team visited Tokyo Tower. And BTS’ Suga met up with Steph and some of his teammates, too.
However, the best thing to come out of the Warriors’ tour of Japan so far may just be Steph and Klay’s attempt at trying the country’s national sport.
Curry & Thompson Completely Dominated by Sumo Legend
Suga wasn’t the only national celebrity to make the trip to the gym where the Warriors have been preparing for their first games. The team was also greeted on the court by the one and only Hakuho Sho.
For the uninitiated, Sho was a grand champion — or yokozuna — of sumo wrestling who dominated his sport on a level that would put even the mid-2010s Warriors to shame. Across his 20 years of wrestling from 2001-21, Sho compiled a record of 1187-247-253 and won 45 top-division titles.
Both numbers top the sumo record books, alongside myriad other records set by the 37-year-old.
As seen in the video embedded above, Curry had a go at him and, well… it didn’t turn out particularly well. He may have displayed respectable form for a hooper, but Sho — who was notably wearing slippery socks on the hardwood — didn’t budge when the two went toe-to-toe.
Thompson, on the other hand, was a total trainwreck:
Needless to say, neither man should quit their day job.
Wild Projection Puts Warriors in the Play-In Range
ESPN‘s Kevin Pelton is well-known for his analytical models and stats-based approach to evaluating — and even forecasting — the outcomes of games and seasons, as well as player and team performance. But his attempt at projecting how the 2022-23 NBA season will unfold was a wild one for the Warriors.
Pelton’s projections, which were based on a combination of his SCHOENE player projections for box score stats and three-year, luck-adjusted Regularized Adjusted Four Factors (RAPM), placed the Dubs in the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference with 41.9 average wins.
Last year’s FiveThirtyEight projections opened with the Warriors at 37 wins on average, and even after Golden State reached the Finals, the Dubs were still listed as huge underdogs to the Celtics. A full season of contention helps the Warriors’ ratings, naturally, but losing Otto Porter Jr. and RAPM superstar Gary Payton II works against them.
The hoops scribe did note that he expects the Warriors to outperform the projection “and be back near the top of the West.” In other news, water: wet.