OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Mark Jackson announced Monday that rookie Harrison Barnes will be his starting small forward.

Jackson said he was looking for the best fit and not necessarily the best player. Apparently, Barnes beat out forward Richard Jefferson and swingman Brandon Rush.

"Starting was definitely a goal of mine," Barnes said. "Playing in the NBA and starting on opening night is a huge accomplishment. But my mindset is not going to change. I'm going out there and try to provide this team all of the little things I can to help us win."

The Warriors have known four of their starters since they acquired center Andrew Bogut in March. The question since had been who would start at small forward. The options entering training camp were Barnes, the No. 7 overall pick, Jefferson and Rush. Barnes and Rush had emerged as front-runners early in training camp.

At 6-foot-8, 206 pounds, Barnes gives the Warriors the desired combination of size and athleticism at small forward.

Though Barnes has shown he's pretty capable of scoring, his offense wasn't what won over Jackson. Instead, it was Barnes' proving he wasn't a liability on defense that made Jackson feel comfortable enough to start Barnes.

"He doesn't give up on plays," Jackson said. "He battles. He competes. He knows when he makes mistakes."

A big factor in the decision was Jackson's comfort with Rush, who registered a breakout year coming off the bench last season. Jackson said part of him wanted to keep Rush in that role. The value of knowing what he's going to get from Rush off the bench was not lost on the second-year coach.

Bringing Barnes, who has never played a sixth man role, off the bench was too much of an uncertainty for Jackson. The rookie, it stands to reason, has a better chance at success being surrounded by the experience and talent of the first unit, the rest of which comprises point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guard Klay Thompson and power forward David Lee.

Plus, Rush's versatility gives Jackson more options, as Rush can come in for Barnes or Thompson.

"B-Rush is going to get his share of minutes," Jackson said.

  • Bogut participated fully in practice for the first time in training camp, taking part in full-court action and contact drills without limitation. It was his first such action since fracturing his left ankle Jan. 25.

    Bogut, who had a second surgery on the ankle in April, still is uncertain about whether he will play in the season opener Wednesday in Phoenix.

    "It was a long time coming for him. He put in a lot of dedication and therapy and rehab," Curry said. "It was good to have the big fella out there."

    Now the Warriors will see how Bogut's ankle responds. If he has no issues, the likelihood is he will play. Even if Bogut plays, Jackson has already begun lowering the bar.

    "At the end of the day, it's going to be asking whole lot for him to be Andrew Bogut from Day 1," Jackson said. "But we're making steps toward that."

  • For the first time this season, the Warriors had all 15 players fully available. Curry returned to action for the first time since spraining his right ankle Oct. 19. Even center Andris Biedrins, who played in only two preseason games because of groin issues, returned to action.

    Wednesday's opener

    Warriors at Phoenix, 7 p.m. CSNBA