Carl Landry

The Importance of Brandon Rush to the Golden State Warriors

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

Brandon Rush only played in two games for the Golden State Warriors this past season, but he is one of the most important players for them going into next season. During the 2011-2012 season, Rush was a stellar sixth man for the Warriors. He played in 65 games and averaged 9.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks on 50.1 percent shooting and 45.2 percent shooting from three (sixth in the NBA) in 26.4 minutes per game. Rush was sidelined with an ACL injury last season, and his presence was certainly missed. He would’ve made the Warriors’ bench even deeper and more dangerous.

Rush has officially picked up his player option with the Warriors for the 2013-2014 season. It’s not clear if the Warriors will be able to bring back other key free agents off the bench, such as Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, but let’s assume for now that they bring back both. If the Warriors’ bench next season included Jack, Rush, Landry, Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeli, then the Warriors would have one of the deepest rosters in the league.

A sixth man is key to any playoff team. If Jack, who assumed the role of sixth man with Rush out last season, doesn’t re-sign, the Warriors are going to need an effective sixth man who can score and provide energy off the bench even more.

Rush is an extremely valuable asset to have off the bench because of his defense, his three-point shooting, and his ability to attack the basket. He is the best perimeter defender on the team, even though Klay Thompson has improved significantly defensively. Rush has good size and length, so he can defend wing players, which provides a great complement to Thompson’s ability to guard point guards and shooting guards.

If needed, the Warriors could go small and play a lineup with Curry, Thompson, Rush, Harrison Barnes, and David Lee or Andrew Bogut, or Rush could also come in for defensive purposes and replace Barnes in close-game situations. Rush’s defensive ability would also allow Barnes to focus more on offense, so he doesn’t have to expend too much energy on defense.

Rush is also an incredible three-point shooter, which allows the Warriors to spread the floor with several other three-point shooters such as Stephen Curry and Thompson. Having several three-point shooters on the floor also allows Andrew Bogut and David Lee to have more to operate room in the paint.

Rush is a versatile player who can also attack the basket. He’s one of the most athletic players on the team, next to Barnes. He can easily pump fake his defender on the three-point line and cut to the basket because of his quickness and athleticism.

Curry is arguably the most important player to the Warriors. However, a deep bench and a reliable sixth man are also important for a playoff team. Rush is the athletic, defensive-minded, versatile player that the Warriors lacked this past season. He provides energy off the bench and has a wide array of skills that complement this Warriors team well. Rush is an extremely important player to the Warriors, especially if Jack and Landry don’t return to the Warriors next season.

Golden State Warriors: Which Free Agents Could Replace Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry?

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

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The Golden State Warriors have two key free agents this offseason: Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry. If the Warriors are unable to re-sign both of these players, they will need to address filling the backup point guard and backup power forward roles in the offseason.

Jack proved to be the perfect complement to Stephen Curry in the Warriors’ system. Jack’s toughness and his ability to attack the basket provide the perfect balance to Curry’s unbelievable three-point shooting. When he plays alongside Curry, he plays point guard, which allows Curry to slide over to the shooting guard position, so Curry can focus more on shooting than distributing.

Jack would be the Warriors’ best option for backup point guard given the leadership, toughness, and intensity that he provided. Some possible replacements for Jack that are in the Warriors’ desired price range are Will Bynum, D.J. Augustin, Earl Watson, Jerryd Bayless (who has a player option with the Grizzlies for next season though), Jamaal Tinsley, or Sebastian Telfair.

Augustin would probably be the best option to replace Jack out of those players, because he could easily fit into this Warriors team. Augustin played last season for the Indiana Pacers and clearly didn’t fit into their slow-paced system. Augustin would flourish in the Warriors’ up-tempo, defense-dependent system. He’s excellent in pick-and-rolls, and he would give the Warriors another quality three-point shooter. Although Augustin wouldn’t provide the same toughness that Jack does, he turns the ball over less than Jack does. Augustin has averaged 2.2 turnovers and 5.8 assists per 36 minutes in his career, and Jack has averaged 2.5 turnovers and 5.6 assists per 36 minutes. The Warriors could surely use less turnovers.

Landry was a valuable rebounder and offensive weapon off the bench, and the Warriors hope he picks up his player option for next season. If he decides not to though, some replacements could be Elton Brand, Andray Blatche, Jason Maxiell, Antawn Jamison, DeJuan Blair, Jermaine O’Neal, or J.J. Hickson. Although Hickson is arguably the best power forward out of this group, he rejuvenated his career last season with the Portland Trailblazers as their starting center. He will most likely not want to settle for a backup power forward role and will want a pay increase that the Warriors can’t afford.

Brand seems to be the best remaining option. He didn’t have much success last season as a reserve for the Dallas Mavericks, but Brand is still solid defensively, as he averaged 1.3 blocks in just 21.2 minutes per game last season. He also has averaged 9.1 rebounds per game over his career, which would be a valuable asset off the bench.

Ideally, the Warriors could re-sign both Jack and Landry and keep the same core of players intact for next season. Both Jack and Landry will draw a lot of attention as free agents though because of their stellar play last season. The Warriors have to be prepared for this and have a backup plan for which free agents they should target to replace Jack and Landry.

Golden State Warriors: Should They Re-Sign Jarrett Jack or Carl Landry?

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

Apr 20, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Jarrett Jack (2) warms up before game one of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors have some big decisions to make this offseason. They will have to assess if they can keep both of their key free agents, Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, and, if they can’t afford to keep both, they need to decide which player of the two they should sign. Jack and Landry have both expressed that they want to come back to the Warriors. They will each have to discuss all possible situations though with their families and agents.

Jack averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 assists in 79 games this season, and he also finished third in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award voting. Jack made a little more than $5 million this season, but his level of play might have increased his value in free agency. He will certainly be a highly sought-after free agent, but he has expressed that he’d love to come back to the Warriors. However, Jack might be searching for a long-term deal, which the Warriors might not want to or be able to offer him.

Jack has been quite the journeyman around the league in his career so far. In his eight NBA seasons, he has played for five different teams. Curry has said that his biggest selling point to Jack to re-sign has been that Jack has found a home with the Warriors, and he could settle in here where he already knows what his role will be.

“As soon as I walked in the locker room, I looked down at my jersey and there just is a sense of pride that I have wearing it that I haven’t had as a professional,” Jack said. “Most of the time in college you go somewhere because you love it and there’s a connection there that’s deeper than basketball.

“I guess in the NBA since it’s such a business you usually don’t get that unless you’re one of those guys, one of the lucky few, that get to stay with one franchise for a long period of time.”

Landry averaged 10.8 points and six rebounds in 81 games this season, and he finished as the Warriors’ fifth-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder. Landry made $4 million this season, and he has a player option for next season for $4 million. It’s not clear if Landry will take that player option though, because it depends on what other offers he receives from other teams. Landry, like Jack, said he’d like to come back to the Warriors, but he also wants to keep his options open as he might also be offered a longer-term deal.

“Right now, I’m just going to try and clear my head and not worry about what’s ahead of me,” Landry said.“Sit down with the coaches and my mom, my family and my agent and see what’s the best for me in the future.”

Feb 22, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors power forward Carl Landry (7) questions the call against the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeats the San Antonio Spurs 107-101 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors general manager Bob Myers has said that he is willing to go into the luxury tax in order to acquire the right players. Last offseason, Myers and the rest of the Warriors’ front office wanted to acquire Landry and re-sign Brandon Rush, and, in order to do that, the team would have to go into the luxury tax without knowing if they’d be able to get out of it.

According to Myers, the ownership group, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, told them to spend whatever they needed to if they thought Landry and Rush were important to the team. Myers will continue this philosophy when entering into discussions with Jack and Landry.

“That’s a blessing to be able to work in an organization like that where it’s not budget, it’s not cost, it’s not dollars, it’s winning,” Myers said.

Several players on the Warriors have also shown that they want both Landry and Jack to re-sign.

“I want them back,” Stephen Curry said. “They’re great teammates. They’ve added a lot to us as a team and what we’re trying to do.”

Andrew Bogut has expressed the same desire. However, he realizes that it might be a difficult task to bring back both.

“In an ideal world, it’s very important (to bring them back), but being a realist we probably can’t keep both of them,” Bogut said. “I don’t think we’ll have cap room to keep both, even though we’d like to. They’re going to both demand some pretty good money.”

So if the Warriors decide they aren’t fiscally able to re-sign both Jack and Landry, who should they aim to re-sign? Who will be more valuable to the Warriors next season? Both players were important to the Warriors and their playoff run, so which one would be easier to replace in free agency then?

Some point guards who are going to be free agents and would most likely be in the Warriors’ desired price range are Will Bynum, D.J. Augustin, Earl Watson, Jerryd Bayless (who has a player option with the Grizzlies for next season though), Jamaal Tinsley, Sebastian Telfair, etc. None of these players would adequately fill the role that Jack had, and wouldn’t make up for his scoring, passing and leadership.

Some power forwards who are going to be free agents and would most likely be in the Warriors’ desired price range are Elton Brand, Andray Blatche, Jason Maxiell, Antawn Jamison, DeJuan Blair, Jermaine O’Neal, J.J. Hickson, etc.

May 16, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Jarrett Jack (2) passes out the ball between San Antonio Spurs point guard Gary Neal (14) and center Boris Diaw (33) during the first quarter of game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, it’s not guaranteed that the Warriors could persuade any of these players to win, but their playoff run could certainly help attract some of them. This group of power forward free agents seems stronger than the group of available point guards. Because of this, if the Warriors could only afford to re-sign either Jack or Landry, it seems as if the Warriors should aim to re-sign Jack. Of course, the Warriors have the option of acquiring a point guard or power forward via trade, but regardless of the potential trades, Jack had a strong leadership role and presence on this team.

Although it would be ideal to bring Landry back too, it seems as if there are better options to replace Landry, which makes Jack more valuable to the Warriors next season.