Jarrett Jack

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.

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LGW: Golden State Warriors Bench Wish List: Marcus Thornton, Xavier Henry?

(Photo: Xavier Henry: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports, Marcus Thornton pic: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

(Photo: Xavier Henry: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports, Marcus Thornton pic: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

In Part One of this article, we discussed how the Golden State Warriors bench needs someone like a “Poor Man’s” Jamal Crawford.

The starters would be able to rest more with this kind of player on the roster, and this would also allow Mark Jackson to more comfortably rest Klay Thompson at times when he’s struggling to shoot the ball.

This player could fill the role that Jarrett Jack had last season, except with less point-guard duties. Jack would come in to the game and was fearless. He wasn’t afraid to take a big shot, he could initiate his own offense, and he could score in a variety of ways. That’s what the Warriors are lacking.

A couple shooting guards that the Warriors could potentially try to acquire are Xavier Henry and Marcus Thornton. These are two players who provide instant offense and can take over a game with their scoring or shooting ability.

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.

Let’s Go Warriors: Jarrett Jack and the Other Great Sixth Men in Golden Warriors History

GSWBest6thMen

The sixth man on an NBA team has a crucial role. They come in off the bench and provide some energy, usually in the form of scoring, and they hopefully provide a smooth transition between the starters and the reserves.

In Golden State Warriors history, there haven’t been many pure sixth men. Some players have started off as key bench players and then later become starters. There are also some players who aren’t necessarily the first person off the bench to go into the game, but they were typically the most important player off the bench.

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

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

Marreese-Speights-Toney-Douglas-and-Jermaine-ONeal-will-round-out-the-Golden-State-bench.-Getty-Images

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.

Analyzing the Warriors’ Options at Backup Point Guard

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

Since Jarrett Jack signed a four-year, $25 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Golden State Warriors and Mark Jackson will have to address who will play the majority of the minutes at the backup point guard position.

The Warriors have several possible candidates. The first is Toney Douglas, who the Warriors signed as a free agent. Douglas is a quality defender who is quick, gets deflections, gets steals, and strongly pressures the ball. He’s also a decent three-point shooter. Last season, he shot 38.9 percent from three, matching a career-high.

The second option is Kent Bazemore, who was excellent in the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League and was named to the All-Summer League Team after averaging 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in seven games. Bazemore’s strongest asset is his defense. He needs to prove that he can become more of a scorer and a better decision-maker as a point guard.

The third option is Nemanja Nedovic, who was selected with the 30th overall pick in this year’s draft. He officially signed with the Warriors after reaching a buyout agreement with his current team, Lietuvos Rytas of the Lithuanian A League. Nedovic is athletic, quick, and aggressive. He’s not afraid to attack the rim, and he’s excellent in the open court. He’s also a decent three-point shooter. He can still improve his decision-making, his defense, and his shooting.

The last option is Andre Iguodala, who will most likely start at small forward, but he could see some time as the backup point forward. Iguodala is a versatile player who can play several positions. He has averaged 4.9 assists over his career. Iguodala also likes to drive to the basket, so, as a point forward, he could help the Warriors in drive-and-kick situations.

Both Joe Lacob and Jackson have discussed how Iguodala can fill many roles for the Warriors. He probably won’t be the primary backup point guard though.

Jackson also saw Nedovic play in a couple of the Warriors’ practices during Summer League and liked what he saw.

“He’s a guy that can run a team, has a great feel for the game, and has a bright future, so we’re excited about having the opportunity of having here moving forward,” Jackson said about Nedovic.

When asked if Bazemore will earn more minutes this upcoming season because of his play in Summer League, Jackson mentioned that he admires how Bazemore continues to improve, works extremely hard, and stays ready. However, it didn’t sound like Jackson was quite ready to give him significant minutes at the backup point guard position.

“At the end of the day, we’re loaded,” Jackson said. “We’ve got five perimeter players that are better basketball players today than he is, and our three wing guys and Steph Curry and also Toney Douglas, who we picked up. These guys are legitimate players, so… We’ll see how it pans out, but he’s a guy I have a lot of confidence in, and he’s certainly separated himself during this summer.”

Based on what Jackson said, it seems like Douglas will play the majority of the minutes at the backup point guard position. Jackson and Lacob have to admire Douglas’ effectiveness on defense and his experience in this league, which will be significant assets off the bench. The Warriors’ rotation and minutes will most likely be determined in training camp and in the preseason, but, as of now, Douglas is the Warriors’ backup point guard.

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: