The Golden State Warriors made the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The team was explosive, versatile and maybe most importantly deep. Golden State had a solid backup at every position. With the addition of All-Star forward Andre Iguodala, the Warriors did not have enough room to resign some of that depth. Now, they will have to look for that same production elsewhere.
Carl Landry was a huge part of Golden State’s successful season. The power forward converted an impressive 44 percent of mid-range jumpers. Landry does lack defensive intangibles, but gave a lot of effort on both ends of the floor. Now Landry is headed back to his former team the Sacramento Kings.
Fortunately, the Warriors were able to sign a very similar player at a lower cost in Marreese Speights. Actually, he averaged an even better mid-range shooting percentage of 46 percent. The lower cost is for a reason though. Speights is even less of a defender that Landry is and has less of a motor, but Golden State should be able to make up for his faults the same way they did with Landry.
Then there is Jarrett Jack, who finished third in voting for last season’s Six Man of the Year Award. The backup point guard provided a good deal of scoring, averaging 12.9 points a game on 45 percent shooting. He also took some of the ball-handling duties, which let star Stephen Curry play off the ball a little. Jack was able to get a nice deal to back up rising star point guard Kyrie Irving for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
To fill the backup role, the Warriors will have the options of sophomore guard Kent Bazemore or newly-signed point guard Toney Douglas. Bazemore did impress in this year’s Las Vegas Summer League, but may not be ready for huge NBA minutes just yet. On the other hand Douglas, while a good defender, lacks the ball-handling skills and court vision to run an NBA team.
Rather than have Bazemore or Douglas take on the ball-handling duties that Jack had, the Warriors should look to someone else in the starting lineup. Iguodala is a very good ball-handler and has pretty good court vision. Even though he is starting, he can take on a similar role that Jack had at times.
Ideally, when the Warriors want Curry off the ball, they should move him to shooting guard, bring in Douglas at the point and have Iguodala be the primary facilitator. This will allow Douglas to focus on defense and to spot up on offense, while Iguodala handles the ball and Curry spaces the floor. At all other times, Golden State should have Bazemore in at point, which would basically split the backup point guard minutes between him and Douglas.
Iguodala’s incredible versatility enables the Warriors to have many options when it comes to replacing last year’s production. That, along with the signings of Speights, Douglas and the development of Bazemore, should be more than enough to fill the void Jack and Landry left behind.