When the Golden State Warriors drafted Nemanja Nedovic in 2013, many Warriors fans were unsure of who he was, but they were excited about the prospect of having the “European Derrick Rose” on the Warriors.
One season later, Warriors fans are still somewhat unsure of who Nedovic is and what his future is with the Warriors. After a disappointing rookie season and Summer League, it’s unclear how Nedovic will fit in with this Warriors team this upcoming season.
The Golden State Warriors have a decision to make. Not a big, franchise-changing decision, but there’s still a decision to be made. The Warriors will soon have to address the situation involving who their third point guard will be this upcoming season.
This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
In recent history, the NBA’s Western Conference has been superior to the Eastern Conference. The West is usually much more competitive and talented up and down the conference. This year is no different, and, if anything, the West is even more competitive. For example, there are four teams in the Western Conference that are outside of the top eight that are right around .500. In the Eastern Conference, the fourth-best team is the Boston Celtics, who have an 8-12 record.
The Golden State Warriors finally seem like a legitimate contender in the Western Conference, but with this intense competition in the West, can they survive? After so many years of mediocrity and pure dysfunction, the Warriors have a versatile roster this season, they play stellar defense, and they have established an identity and a winning culture. All of this suggests that the Warriors will be a successful team in the Western Conference. They currently have an 11-8 record, which doesn’t seem that impressive or good enough to survive in the West. However, their record doesn’t tell the whole story.
First of all, the Warriors have had one of the toughest schedules in the NBA so far this season. They have played the most road games in the Western Conference, and they’ve played the fewest games against Eastern Conference teams. After completing a four-game road trip, the Warriors played one game at home Tuesday night before heading out for a three-game road trip. The Warriors are getting tested early with their tough schedule. Therefore, their record doesn’t exactly show how good this Warriors team is.
Second, the Warriors are loaded with talent, and their record doesn’t show that either. This is arguably one of the best rosters the Warriors have ever had. They are loaded, and they can boast the fact that they have six proven starters. In the starting lineup, they have a future superstar in Stephen Curry, they have a shooter and an excellent defender in Klay Thompson, they have a versatile, complete player in Andre Iguodala, they have a consistent double-double machine in David Lee, and they have a fiery, passionate defensive anchor in Andrew Bogut.
The addition of Iguodala has made them a legitimate title contender. His versatility is extremely valuable to this team, and his presence elevates them to an elite level. He can rebound, he can pass, he can run the offense, he can push the ball in transition, and he has a high basketball IQ. His defense is the most valuable aspect of his game though. Before his injury, the Warriors were fourth in the NBA with a 96.5 defensive rating. Since then, they have a defensive rating of 106.8. The Warriors need Iguodala healthy to stay competitive in the West.
Speaking of health, the Warriors need Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry to stay healthy in order to survive in the Western Conference. Those two have been labeled as “injury-prone,” but, for the most part, they have been relatively healthy this year. Bogut has only missed one game this season, for a suspension, and Curry missed three games with a bone bruise on his left ankle and a concussion. Bogut and Curry need to each play at least 65-70 games for the Warriors to stay competitive.
The Warriors also have a fairly deep roster. With Iguodala starting, Harrison Barnes is coming off the bench now. This automatically makes the bench stronger. He’s started to adapt to the role of sixth man, and he’s really starting to excel. He is that perfect spark off the bench for the Warriors.
Before he got injured, Toney Douglas had some solid performances also. He brings his tenacious defense to the bench. Also, Draymond Green has improved significantly from last season. He lost about 15-20 pounds in the offseason, which has improved his endurance, agility, and his three-point shooting. He has been extremely valuable off the bench this season. Nemanja Nedovic started off the season slowly, but his confidence has grown a lot and he’s shown how fearless he can be. He’s out-played Kent Bazemore, so he’s been the primary backup point guard in Douglas’ absence.
Jermaine O’Neal has also been invaluable to the Warriors. On the court, he’s a stellar defender, and he can post up and pull up from mid-range. Off the court, he’s even more valuable. He provides veteran leadership, and he’s become quite the motivator. O’Neal’s toughness and passion are contagious in the Warriors’ locker room, and his presence makes the Warriors have better team chemistry.
The Warriors have a strong roster, and they’ve proven they can compete against the best teams in the West. They have matched up well with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers this season, and they hung tough in their playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs last season. It might still be tough for the Warriors to get into the top four of the Western Conference, but they are more than capable of surviving and staying competitive in the West.
This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
The Golden State Warriors are short-handed right now. Since Andre Iguodala is out with a strained left hamstring and Toney Douglas is out with a stress reaction in his left tibia, the Warriors are in dire need of a backup point guard. Kent Bazemore is struggling and is clearly not ready or capable of playing point guard effectively. Nemanja Nedovic has shown promise and performed well in last night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, but he’s still inexperienced and may need some help handling the backup point guard duties.
In addition to their need for another point guard right now, the Warriors also need to strengthen their bench. The bench has been heavily criticized so far this season for their lack of production, especially offensively. The Warriors’ bench could use an offensive spark.
So what should the Warriors do? One option for the Warriors is to call up Seth Curry, Stephen Curry’s younger brother, who is currently playing for the Warriors’ D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. Curry participated in training camp with the Warriors before the start of this season. He had a shot at snagging one of the last spots on the Warriors’ active roster, but he was cut right before the season started.
Curry has been fantastic so far with the Santa Cruz Warriors. In his D-League debut, Curry scored a game-high 36 points, which set the single-game team record for points scored. He scored 16 of those points in the second quarter and 14 of those points in the fourth quarter. He shot 12-for-18 for the game and finished with six assists.
As a 6’2″ guard, Curry has always known that he will have to play point guard to make it in the NBA. He’s been working on his point guard skills in Santa Cruz, and according to him, he’s not in the D-League to shoot. He’s already proven he can shoot.
In Curry’s second game, he didn’t quite have the scoring performance like he did in the previous game, but he showed how he’s much more than just a shooter. He had 11 assists compared to just two turnovers in 35 minutes. He looked like much more of a point guard in this game. He handled the ball better, he was more in control of the ball, and he was more decisive and aggressive in pick-and-rolls. Most importantly, he was a willing passer and made a strong effort to get his teammates involved.
“I feel very comfortable,” Curry said. “If you watch the first three games we played, I think I looked pretty good — getting my teammates involved and scoring at the same time. I felt good handling the ball and everything like that. It feels natural. Obviously, with more reps I’ll get much better. But I feel comfortable.”
Last night, Curry had a game-high 23 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and only two turnovers. He shot 9-for-16 in 39 minutes. Curry is certainly making his case on why he deserves to play at the NBA level with the Warriors.
“I’ve just got to go out and focus on playing the same way I would (in the NBA),” Seth Curry said. “Just be aggressive. I can’t go out there thinking I’ve got to kill just to show everybody, prove everybody wrong. I just have to go out there, stay calm and play. I think I can do a good job of that. I’m definitely not where I want to be.”
Not only does he deserve to play in the NBA, but he’s ready to play. He’s healthy after suffering a stress fracture in his right shin in his last year at Duke, which kept him out of draft workouts. Now that he’s healthy, he’s physically and mentally ready to get his chance with the Warriors.
As mentioned earlier, the Warriors need help at the backup point guard position and could use more scoring off the bench. If the Warriors brought Curry up from Santa Cruz, he could play some minutes at backup point guard and provide that offensive spark off the bench that they need.
In addition to these areas, the Warriors also need some more three-point shooting off the bench and more depth at the backup shooting guard position, since Bazemore has been struggling so much. Curry could help with Warriors in both of those areas too.
First of all, he’s an incredible shooter, just like his brother. In his final season at Duke, Curry averaged 17.5 points on 46.5 percent shooting from the field and 43.8 percent shooting from 3.
“I’m an established shooter who can come in right away and not go through an adaption period to the NBA,” Curry said. “I’ve been around this game my whole life. I can come in right away and fill a need. It helped that I spent four years in college, too.”
Second, as mentioned before, Curry is a combo guard, but he’s played most of his career as a shooting guard. Since the Warriors need more depth at both backup point guard and backup shooting guard, Curry would be the perfect fit to address both those areas.
The Warriors might want to give Curry more time in Santa Cruz to develop his point guard skills and gain more experience. Playing 35 minutes every night in Santa Cruz will certainly help Curry’s confidence, but Golden State might need him more than Santa Cruz does. This might be the ideal time to call up the younger Curry and see what he can do to help the Warriors win.
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.
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.
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.