LAIE, Hawaii -- Five observations from the training site of the Golden State Warriors &hellip;</p>

1. About the only player whose stock fell during the Warriors' playoff run last season was forward Al Harrington, who struggled so mightily he slipped in and out of coach Don Nelson's starting lineup. "Coach made me feel like I had something to prove to him," Harrington said. "I haven't had a coach push me like that in a long time. The biggest thing I've focused on in training camp has been defense and rebounding and I think that's impressed him." Harrington blamed his postseason collapse on fatigue after months of extra conditioning to adapt to the Warriors' up-tempo style. Putting in 30 minutes to an hour daily on an elliptical machine or stationary bike, on top of practice, took its toll.</p>
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<p class="photoCredit">Don Smith/NBAE via Getty Images</p>
<p class="photoDesc">Al Harrington is lighter on his feet these days.</p>
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"I probably shouldn't have done so much, but coach was always calling me a fat a--," said Harrington, who weighed 262 pounds when he arrived from Indiana and came to camp at 246. The svelte form has allowed him to be a lot quicker to the ball, hence the improved board work.</p>

All of which has Nelson calling him something else: "Al has been the best player here. He's been dominant."</p>

2. Austin Croshere has picked up the Warriors' system so quickly that he routinely can be seen directing newcomers and returnees alike on where to go. Considering he was available for the veteran's minimum, has always been a good locker room presence, decent jump shooter and a solid team defender, it's extraordinary that Golden State was the only interested team.</p>

"Cro has been one of the smartest players out here," Nelson said. "He's not a great NBA player, but he's a great addition to our team. I'm going to put him on the floor, no question. It's just a matter of when and how much."</p>

3. Baron Davis said it took him until mid-July to recover from the various leg and back problems that had him hobbling through the final games against the Jazz. And although he spent a good part of the summer jetting to Paris for Tony Parker's wedding and to China for Yao and Steve Nash's charity game, he said his core strength and lean muscle mass is even better than it was this time a year ago.</p>

His objective, he said, is to lead the team in triple-doubles, rather than scoring. "I want to have an all-around game," he said. "It would be nice if I could have one of those Jason Kidd-type years."</p>

4. Chris Mullin went from clueless to shrewd in a hurry. Fitted by many for a dunce cap after the hefty contracts he handed out to everyone from Troy Murphy to Derek Fisher to Adonal Foyle, Mullin is in the early running for executive of the year, having improved the Warriors' depth and yet increased their cap flexibility as well.</p>

"I said it when I was playing, too," he explained. "It takes me a couple of years to catch on, but once I do &hellip;"</p>

He didn't finish the thought, perhaps believing it sounded too self-congratulatory. In truth, he deflected credit for the Warriors' good fortune to a combination of factors -- Baron Davis and Don Nelson being at the top of the list. But those fat contracts to Foyle et al were part of the equation as well.</p>

"We were coming from a different place then," he said. "We had to stop guys from leaving first in order to become a place where guys now want to stay."</p>

As for keeping Davis, even though the Warriors didn't extend him this summer, "We're going to keep him here as long as he wants to be here," Mullin said.</p>

In waiting, Mullin is simply utilizing his new position of strength. Before, he might've had to overpay at the first chance to assure Davis didn't bolt, but another playoff run equal or better than last year's and it will be hard for Davis to find a more promising situation. Considering Davis' health issues, it's a smart gamble.</p>

5. If there was a curious move by Mullin, it wasn't dealing Jason Richardson to the Bobcats for their No. 8 pick as much as who the Warriors had Charlotte select for them. Their choice, North Carolina forward Brandan Wright is, by all counts, years away from making an impact. Whereas Florida State's Al Thornton, who the Warriors supposedly also liked, might've contributed this season.</p>

The move was so curious a rumor has been circulating the league ever since that the Warriors actually failed to contact the Bobcats in time on draft night to tell them to take Thornton, and so Charlotte took the local product, as has been its hallmark, in case the deal didn't go down. Both Mullin and a Bobcats source denied the rumor, Mullin explaining that he wanted Wright because neither the roster's current bigs nor Thornton have the offensive potential Wright does.</p>

If there's a pleasure Mullin gets out of being an administrator, it's picking a Wright and having him prove everyone wrong.</p>

"I like to see guys do well that people question," he said. "Crunching numbers and all that stuff? Can't say it gets me going."</p>

For the time being, though, don't look for Wright to be any sort of factor. "He's not ready for the NBA yet," Nelson said flatly.</p>