Carl Landry

LGW: Golden State Warriors Roster: Steve Blake and Jermaine O’Neal The New and Improved Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry

(Photo: Rocky Widner/Getty Images and Kelley L Cox/USA Today)

(Photo: Rocky Widner/Getty Images and Kelley L Cox/USA Today)

Steve Blake and Jermaine O’Neal have filled a deep void, on and off the court, for the Golden State Warriors this season.

When the Warriors were unable to re-sign Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry in the offseason, they lost two players who were the heart-and-soul of the Warriors’ bench last season. Jack and Landry were also a huge part of the Warriors’ miraculous playoff run.

In Jack, they lost a backup point guard who averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 assists per game and who could run the offense, which allowed Stephen Curry to play off the ball. He also was a significant part of the Warriors’ team chemistry last season.

In Landry, they lost a backup power forward who averaged 10.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. They also lost someone who was that low-post threat that added another dimension to their offense and that they severely lacked for a long period of time this season.

After a short and ineffective stint of Toney Douglas and Marreese Speights taking over their roles, the Warriors are finally getting production from a backup point guard, Blake, and a backup big, O’Neal.

The Warriors’ signing of O’Neal in the offseason was an under-the-radar type of move that many ignored or even criticized. Many said he was too old and too fragile to contribute anything to the Warriors.

When the Warriors traded for Blake, many Warriors fans saw potential in the trade but focused too much on the loss of Kent Bazemore.

Now that O’Neal is healthy and Blake is starting to settle into his new team, Warriors fans are finally starting to see the benefits of signing a proven veteran like O’Neal and trading for a hard-working, smart point guard like Blake.

When glancing at these two players’ stats for this season, they aren’t necessarily jaw-dropping or as good as Jack and Landry’s from last season. O’Neal is averaging 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season, and Blake is averaging 8.0 points and 6.4 assists.

However, their contributions and their effect on this team are much greater than any stat can show.

Read about O’Neal and Blake’s specific contributions to the Warriors this season and the rest of the article on Let’s Go Warriors.

LGW: Marreese Speights Showing Improvement off the Bench for the Golden State Warriors

(December 28, 2013 - Source: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images North America)

(December 28, 2013 – Source: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images North America)

Marreese Speights has had a rocky start to his time with the Golden State Warriors.

In the offseason, the Warriors signed Speights to a three-year deal in the hopes that he would replace Carl Landry‘s production from last season. Unfortunately, that hasn’t quite happened…yet.

Last season, Landry, along with Jarrett Jack, was one of the most important players off the bench for the Warriors. In 81 games with the Warriors last season, he averaged 10.8 points and 6.0 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game, and he shot 54 percent from the field.

In 37 games this season, Speights is only averaging 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds on 38.7 percent shooting and in only 12.2 minutes per game.

To be fair, Speights and Landry have completely different skillsets. Speights is more of a mid-range jump shooter than Landry was, and Landry has more success with post-ups than Speights does. Although neither one is known for their superior defensive ability, Landry held his own in that department last season.

With that being said, Speights has recently started to play more like the player the Warriors hoped they would get when they signed him in the offseason. He’s playing with more energy, and he appears more confident out on the court.

Read the rest of the article on Let’s Go Warriors.

Golden State Warriors: Evaluating the Bench Play So Far

Oct 30, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Draymond Green (23) celebrates with center Jermaine O

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The Golden State Warriors are expected to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference this season. They have six proven starters and have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA. Despite all these impressive qualities, the Warriors’ bench has been disappointing so far this season.

Even though the Warriors have a deep roster and have such a powerful starting lineup, the bench hasn’t come together as a cohesive unit yet. To be fair, there are many new faces coming off of that bench this year, such as Toney Douglas, Marreese Speights, Ognjen Kuzmic, Jermaine O’Neal and Nemanja Nedovic.

In addition to these newcomers, the Warriors’ reserves also include Kent Bazemore and Draymond Green. They will also have Harrison Barnes coming off the bench soon and once Festus Ezeli returns from injury, he will come off the bench as well. The Warriors certainly have talent coming off the bench, but the reserves haven’t shown yet that they can play cohesively together.

“I’ve been very disappointed in the way that those guys have closed out ballgames,” Mark Jackson said about his bench. “They’ve had opportunities to play extended minutes and they haven’t made statements with their play.”

The bench has really struggled in a few specific areas. Generally, the reserves have struggled on the offensive side. Defensively, they are actually quite impressive.

The first thing the bench is lacking is someone who can create their own shot. This is the area where the Warriors miss Jarrett Jack the most. With the shot clock winding down and a broken play, Jack was able to make something out of nothing and create his own shot. No one on the Warriors’ bench has shown they can do that this season. Once Barnes comes back though, he will most likely help in that category.

Second, the bench needs a proven floor general. They need another ball handler and someone who can initiate the offense. Douglas, Nedovic and Bazemore haven’t proven that they can run the offense smoothly and create opportunities for their teammates if a play breaks down. Unless one of those players proves that they can consistently do that, Jackson might have to keep one of the starters in with the reserves at all times. To ensure the offense continues to run smoothly, Jackson would have to leave in a playmaker like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson or Andre Iguodala.

Lastly, the Warriors’ bench is lacking a serious low-post threat. This is the area that the Warriors miss Carl Landry the most. Landry was a threat from mid-range and on the low block. He could back down his opponent and attack the rim. The Warriors have tried to run plays with O’Neal and Speights on the low block, but they haven’t been successful. O’Neal is not quick enough anymore to be a consistent low-post threat, and Speights is more successful as a mid-range jump shooter off of a pick-and-pop, for example.

It’s hard not to speculate how successful this Warriors bench would be if they had been able to keep both Jack and Landry and have Barnes as a reserve too. However bad the Warriors’ bench can look at times, there are several reasons why it’s too early to panic about the bench play so far.

Mar 11, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) drives in against the New York Knicks during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the New York Knicks 92-63. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

First of all, this Warriors team and the bench, specifically, need some time to adjust. There are so many new players and they’ve only been playing together for a couple months now. They’re just now getting a sense of what the rotation will be like throughout the season. Soon the reserves will have a better idea about when they will usually come into a game and who they will be playing with. This comfort will certainly help them play more cohesively.

Second, Barnes hasn’t played yet in the regular season. His presence and his play will significantly improve the Warriors’ bench. He can create his own shot, as mentioned before, and he can provide that much-needed spark off the bench. He will be the offensive focal point for the Warriors’ second unit, which will allow the bench to thrive and will help Barnes’ development as a player.

Even if the bench still struggles once Barnes is back, Jackson can continue to play one of his starters with the reserves. So far, he’s played Thompson and Iguodala with the reserves, which has usually produced better results since it gives the bench that much-needed playmaker. With Barnes and another starter playing with the reserves, the offense would flow much more smoothly.

Also, Ezeli’s return will greatly help the bench too. His presence won’t necessarily have the same impact that Barnes’ presence will have, but Ezeli allows Jackson to rest Kuzmic and O’Neal more. It also will give the Warriors another big man off the bench who can rebound and defend.

The Warriors’ bench has clearly struggled so far this season. Having Barnes play with the reserves will vastly improve the Warriors’ bench, especially on offense where the bench has struggled the most. Although the bench has been disappointing so far compared to last season’s dynamic duo off the bench, Jack and Landry, there is no need for concern just yet. The Warriors will find a way to adjust, and the bench will continue to evolve into a useful weapon for this young, contending team.

Have the Warriors Addressed All Their Needs So Far This Offseason?


This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors went into the offseason with two main priorities: re-signing Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry. Since that didn’t happen, it appeared as if the Warriors would have a weaker roster going into next season. However, based on the moves the Warriors have made so far in the offseason, they have more than made up for their losses.

With the departure of Jack, the Warriors had to fill the role of backup point guard, so they drafted Nemanja Nedovic with the 30th pick in this year’s NBA Draft. In addition, Kent Bazemore has started to develop his ball handling and decision-making skills in order to get more minutes as a backup point guard.

They also signed free agent Toney Douglas, who will most likely play the majority of the minutes as the backup point guard. Although Nedovic and Bazemore are a little unproven, Douglas is a solid backup point guard who can defend extremely well and will more than adequately relieve Stephen Curry of some minutes. Even though Jack was a valuable asset to the team last season, the Warriors made up for his loss with other players who collectively bring similar, or better, skills.

The Warriors signed Marreese Speights to fill Landry’s former role of backup power forward. Speights is 6’10” and 245 pounds, and he can play both power forward and center. Speights is also only 25 years old, and by signing a three-year contract, he will play with the Warriors while he is in his prime. Speights can shoot the mid-range shot, but he lacks some efficiency closer to the basket. He isn’t quite the scorer that Landry was, but he’s a better rebounder and shot blocker. Speights is a quality addition to this Warriors team.

The Warriors also needed to fill the backup center role, since Festus Ezeli is out with his right knee injury and Andris Biedrins was traded. In order to address this need, the Warriors signed Jermaine O’Neal. O’Neal is listed at 6’11” and 255 pounds, and he’s a fantastic shot blocker. O’Neal is a 17-year NBA veteran and six-time All-Star, and he has played in 90 postseason games in his career. O’Neal has experienced a lot of trouble with injuries in the past few years, but he will bring size, defense, and veteran leadership to this team.

One criticism for the Warriors the past few years has been there lack of athleticism. Harrison Barnes certainly improved that aspect, but this team, and any team really, could always use more athleticism. The Warriors addressed this need and more when they signed Andre Iguodala. He brings athleticism, a great work ethic, speed, an ability to excel in the open court, elite defense, playoff experience, and veteran leadership. Iguodala is the complete package. He’s extremely versatile, and his presence alone makes this Warriors team a serious contender to be a top-four team in the Western Conference.

With all these additions, the Warriors also strengthened their bench, which they needed to do with Jack and Landry leaving. The addition of Iguodala also probably means that Barnes will now have to come off the bench, which will only strengthen their reserve unit as well. The Warriors have done a great job this offseason in addressing all their needs.

Golden State Warriors: Are They Championship Contenders?

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

May 16, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30, left) and power forward David Lee (10, right) react after game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 94-82. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors had a breakout 2012-2013 season. The Warriors defied expectations and captivated many basketball fans around the nation with their stellar, exciting play.

After their incredible playoff run last year, are the Warriors championship contenders now? They’re certainly close to becoming one of the superior teams in the Western Conference, but they’re not quite a championship contender yet.

One of the reasons why is because of the immense amount of talent in the Western Conference. The Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, and Houston Rockets are among the elite teams in the Western Conference, and some of them could very well contend for a championship. Out of all those foes, it will be tough for the Warriors to even become one of the top-four teams in the Western Conference.

Even if the Warriors are able to become Western Conference Champions, it will still be a long road to their first championship since 1975. Outside of the Western Conference, some of the biggest championship contenders are the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls, and the Indiana Pacers.

Even though the Warriors aren’t quite as established and experienced as some of the previously mentioned teams, the Warriors could certainly become a top-four team in the Western Conference this season. Here are some reasons why the Warriors are close to becoming contenders:

Golden State Warriors: A Perfect Offseason So Far

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Make no mistake, the culture’s changing.

The Golden State Warriors made a series of moves in the past few days that have already, arguably, made them one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They traded Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, Brandon Rush, and first round picks in 2014 and 2017 to the Utah Jazz in order to clear cap space. They also received guard Kevin Murphy in the deal.

April 24, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob (right) and former general manager Larry Riley (right) motion for new general manager Bob Myers (center) to address a question from the media during a press conference before the game against the New Orleans Hornets at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With more cap room available, the Warriors were able to sign small forward Andre Iguodala to a four-year, $48 million dollar contract. The Warriors have been pursuing Iguodala for a couple years now, and their hard work has finally paid off. The best part of these corresponding moves was that the Warriors were able to keep Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Andrew Bogut and reduce their payroll for this upcoming season by $11 million.

Although the Warriors weren’t able to persuade Dwight Howard to sign with them, they still have a fantastic lineup. The Warriors will start Stephen Curry, Thompson or Barnes, Iguodala, David Lee, and Bogut.

Regardless of if Thompson or Barnes will start, the Warriors have so much talent in their starting lineup, with a good mix of both young players and veterans, that they will most certainly contend for some of the top spots in the Western Conference this upcoming season.

The Warriors were not only able to shed a significant amount of cap room, but they also were able to trade two players, Jefferson and Biedrins, who didn’t contribute much of anything last season. It’s a little unfortunate for fans to see Rush leave, but they should be optimistic about the player they were able to get by shedding these contracts.

Iguodala averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists with the Nuggets last season. For his career though, he’s averaged 15.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. His scoring has declined over the past couple years, but he’s also expanded and developed his game more.

The one-time All-Star can do a little bit of everything. He can score, he can rebound, he can pass, and he’s one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. He’s also very active and intense on the court. He will bring lots of energy and passion to this team, because he is such a fierce competitor. He also makes big plays on both offense and defense when his team needs it the most, which the Warriors witnessed in their playoff series against the Nuggets. He’s versatile too, as he can play and guard several positions.

May 2, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson (11) defends Denver Nuggets shooting guard Andre Iguodala (9) on the drive during the first quarter of game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors finally have someone who is strong enough and quick enough to guard players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James. He could also guard Russell Westbrook and help Thompson guard Tony Parker, if the Warriors end up facing the Spurs in the playoffs again next season.

Curry surely knows how good of a defender Iguodala is. Iguodala guarded Curry for much of the Warriors-Nuggets playoff series, and when Iguodala was defending him, Curry had a hard time establishing his rhythm and scoring. Iguodala used his length, size, and quickness to disrupt Curry.

Those two also have a history off the court. They both were on the USA men’s national basketball team that won the gold-medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, and they became good friends. It will be interesting to see how much of their chemistry on the court will carry over from that experience.

The addition of Iguodala will not affect the Warriors’ overall team chemistry. First of all, Iguodala’s skillset matches the other Warriors players’ skillsets very nicely. For example, he is aggressive on offense and likes to drive to the basket, which will help Thompson and Curry get open on the three-point line.

Second, his energy and enthusiasm will be great in the locker room. He’s a veteran presence who can help teach younger players such as Kent Bazemore or Nemanja Nedovic, if he is able to play for the Warriors next season. Iguodala is also a hard worker and focused on winning, which are qualities that can be contagious in a locker room.

Third, Iguodala loves playing in an up-tempo system like the Warriors play in. He loves utilizing his speed and athleticism in transition. He’s also used to playing in fast-paced games, because it’s the same style he played in on the Denver Nuggets.

Iguodala was offered a four-year, $52 million contract offer with the Sacramento Kings, but the Kings ultimately rescinded the offer. Iguodala wanted to play for a contending team, so he clearly wanted to wait and see if the Warriors were going to be able to move their large contracts and sign him.

May 2, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets shooting guard Andre Iguodala (9) congratulates Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Nuggets 92-88. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

“Mainly, the coach and the culture, the environment,” Iguodala said about why he wanted to sign with the Warriors. “I feel like they have a good culture there, a lot of great guys, great locker room. The way they’ve got those guys playing with such confidence, that comes from the coach.”

The Warriors still have some areas to address though. Since Festus Ezeli is sidelined with a knee injury, Jarrett Jack signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Carl Landry signed with the Sacramento Kings, the Warriors need to acquire a backup center, a backup point guard (if Nedovic doesn’t play this upcoming season), and another big off the bench.

With the use of their traded player exceptions, the Warriors will have about $17 million to spend before they hit their hard cap. They will have to use this money to acquire players using minimum salary contracts, their full mid-level exception ($5.15 million first-year salary), or either their room exception ($2.6 million) or bi-annual exception (about $2 million).

After all of these moves, both the Warriors and Iguodala have to be extremely happy about this upcoming season. Now that a high-calibur player like Iguodala has signed with the Warriors, Golden State has become a destination where other players will want to play.

This is exactly what Joe Lacob wanted to happen. He wanted to create a winning franchise, make bold moves, and lure big-name free agents to sign with the Warriors. He certainly has done that and more so far. This offseason has been pretty close to perfect for the Warriors.