OAKLAND -- Training camp opens next week, there are talented new Warriors players, big hopes, tickets to sell and renewed signs of life.
Hey, isn't it time for Mark Jackson to promise a playoff berth this season?
"No, I'm not going to say it," the Warriors coach shot back quickly and seriously as he sat in a team conference room Wednesday.
"Not because I don't believe it, but ultimately there comes a point where, enough of the talking, go out and do it."
Maybe this is a signal that things are clarifying for Jackson, who opened his rookie coaching season by loudly and inaccurately claiming that the Warriors were set to make the postseason.
Maybe now that the playoffs are actually realistic for this beefed-up roster, Jackson understands he can eliminate much of the bombast.
And maybe Jackson also realizes that in Year 2, he's being judged by results and reality, not rhetoric.
To that point, he was careful to point out that health issues and the strength of the Western Conference could hinder the Warriors' immediate rise.
But given the additions of Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, Jarrett Jack and others, shouldn't the Warriors be playoff-worthy this season?
"I certainly hope so," Jackson said. "Certainly hope so."
And that was the general theme of Jackson's 55-minute pre-camp session with several local reporters: Everything is trending to the good, but not so good that the coach is ready to guarantee anything.
Among the highlights:
"I don't care who I'm coaching, the pressure's always going to be to win and do the job," said Jackson, who is entering the second year of a three-year deal.
"Certainly we have a better basketball team, and I think there's added pressure across the board. I don't run from it, I embrace it."
Jackson repeatedly praised the dedication of the many players who have been working out at the Warriors' practice site for weeks, calling it the biggest indication that the culture has changed.
"They're making all the statements by showing up early, leaving late and being dedicated," Jackson said.
"At the end of the day, it was a long year last year -- it was a tough year for a lot of players," Jackson said. "But I've got everybody in here, other than Andris Biedrins."
There's little doubt that rookie Festus Ezeli starts Tuesday's opening practice with an edge for the backup center spot ... or starter if Bogut isn't ready for the Oct. 31 opener in Phoenix.
"I hope so," Jackson said. "My family certainly hopes so."
Jackson praised the talent and drive of first-round pick Barnes but also said he's considering the mix of the lineup, which could lead to a more versatile starter at that spot.
"I think one of our greatest strengths will be our ability to push the basketball and also to execute in the half-court offense," Jackson said.
"I think at the end of the day you show who you really are in the face of adversity," Jackson said. "And you own it and you move forward. This is something seven years ago. I've been who I am for 47 years.
"One owned mishap won't define me. And anybody who wants to define with that, I'm fine with. But I'm going to keep it moving, and I'm going to keep on being who God called me to be."
"I laugh because the dude is going to be filthy rich," Jackson said. "There's no pressure. Don't let it get in your head? What? That I'm going to be paid?
"To me, it's hilarious. Hopefully, it's going to be us and I expect it to be us. But one way or another, Steph Curry is going to be paid and paid very well for a long time."
No promises, a little less bombast -- that's how Mark Jackson's second Warriors season starts. It won't be words that decide his fate, but maybe the calmer tone is proof of a growing coach.