Las Vegas Summer League

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.

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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:

How Nemanja Nedovic Can Help The Warriors

Nemanja Nedovic (Photo: LithuanaBasketball.com)

Nemanja Nedovic (Photo: LithuanaBasketball.com)

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

The Golden State Warriors selected Nemanja Nedovic with the 30th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Nedovic is a 22 year-old combo guard who is from Serbia and has played professionally for four years in Europe. He’s currently playing for the Lithuanian club Lietuvos rytas in the Lithuanian A League, and he’s averaging 11.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in 18 games.

In a conference call yesterday with members of the Warriors media, he said he has a commitment to the Serbian national team, but he still plans on playing in the Las Vegas Summer League. It’s not clear yet if Nedovic will play for the Warriors in the 2013-2014 regular season though. If he does, he could prove to be a valuable asset off the bench for the Warriors for several reasons.

First of all, he’s very athletic, and the Warriors could surely use some more athleticism. His stat line might not sound that amazing, but he has been called the “European Derrick Rose” because of his speed and explosiveness. He uses his speed to beat his man to the basket, where he can either finish with a layup or explode to the rim for a dunk. Standing at 6’4″ and 195 pounds, he has good size for a point guard, and he can guard shooting guards too. He has a 41″ vertical, so he’s an incredible dunker for his size.

Second, he’s extremely effective in the open court. Again, he can use his speed to get steals on defense and break away from a defender to get an easy dunk in transition.

Third, he attacks the rim and is fearless. He finds ways to get into the paint, and he has a quick first step. He utilizes his ball handling skills to get past a defender, and he can finish strong above the rim.

Fourth, he has shown improvement in his ball distribution skills. When Nedovic drives to the basket, his ability to finish draws defenders in, which allows him to pass to open teammates. He’s improved his drive-and-kick skills, and this skill could be extremely valuable to the Warriors, given how they spread the floor with three-point shooters. Nedovic claims that he’s more of a point guard than a shooting guard, but he’s willing to play whatever position the team wants him to.

Lastly, Nedovic says he’s a hard worker, and he knows what he needs to improve on, which is an admirable quality for a young player. He also said he’s had 12 or 13 different coaches since 2007, so he knows how to adapt to a new coach, new system, and new teammates.

Check out a full scouting report below:

Nedovic can improve on his shooting, his defense, and his decision making. In terms of his shooting, he has a good release and mechanics, and he’s slowly gaining more confidence shooting off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot situations. He raised his field goal percentage this season from 27% to 34%, but he still needs to work on consistency.

On defense, Nedovic has the physical tools to guard both point guards and shooting guards, but he needs to improve on his focus. He needs to work on helping his teammates more, recovering if his man beats him, and defending through screens. He believes he can guard quick, athletic point guards, which would really help the Warriors, given Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack’s weaknesses on defense.

He can also work on his overall decision making as a point guard and decreasing his turnovers. However, with Curry and maybe Jack playing in front of him, Nedovic could fluorish as a secondary ball handler who can help create shots for his teammates and attack the rim.

Nedovic will wear #8 for the Warriors. This seems fitting, because a lot of his skills seem similar to the last player to wear #8 for the Warriors: Monta Ellis. Nedovic has also said that his biggest NBA idol growing up was Kobe Bryant, who also wore #8 in the beginning of his career.

Nedovic is an intriguing, young player who could really provide a spark off the bench for the Warriors. It will be interesting to see how he does in Summer League, and, hopefully, he’ll be able to play for the Warriors next season.