The Golden State Warriors’ bench was instrumental in both their regular season and postseason success. Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli were the four main contributors with occasional appearances by Richard Jefferson, Andres Biedrins, and Kent Bazemore.
But Jack is a free agent and Landry has a player option for this offseason, meaning he can opt out and test the free-agent market. Both were active pieces all year, but as we turn to the 2013 offseason, Golden State must prepare to decide who they would rather have: Jack or Landry?
When the Warriors signed Jack last offseason, he appeared to be a one-year rental. His role seemed to be no more than your average backup point guard, spelling Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson when needed. But early in the season, Jack emerged as one of the quietest, most underrated signings of the 2012 offseason, contributing crucial minutes for the Warriors.
Jack was a major offense punch and flourished when on the floor with Landry, Thompson, Andrew Bogut and Curry. Jack showed the ability to shoot three-pointers and stretch the defense, yet also have the ability to use a screen and knock down a mid-range jumper. This shot chart by Grantland.com’s Krik Goldsberry displays just how good from midrange Jack was.
Jack was one of the best midrange jump shooters in the entire league, better than the likes of Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant.
When David Lee went down with his injury to his hip flexor, Jack stepped up and received a healthy boost in minutes, which translated to increased production.
But so did Landry, who was brought in last offseason on a two-year contract with a player option for the second year. He also provided good offensive production off the bench, and with the countless injuries to Bogut was able to play more than what was originally expected of him.
Landry is a good big man, one capable of knocking down open mid-range jumpers, yet also scoring over smaller defenders. Though not an elite defender, he is not a liability.
Yahoo! Sports first reported back in March, that if Landry opts out, the Toronto Raptors would go after him and have major interest in bringing him north of the boarder.
Jack will likely have a large market as well, as in a league where point guard is the most crucial position; He is a quality player at a quality price. Curry praised Jack saying, “this is the place for him. He’s bounced around a lot. For him to have hopefully found a home here for the foreseeable future would be huge. I know he wants to be part of a winning team, and I think we have that here now.”
When asked about the prospect of his return next season after the Warriors Game 6 loss to San Antonio, Jack responded, “I hope so, man. Obviously there are other things that go into seeing if that works — we all know this is a business at the end of the day. If I could do it, if I could rearrange it, I would definitely be back at this same locker.”
Though Jack was a productive player and arguably more important to the Warriors this season than Landry, their priority should be keeping Landry.
With the growth of Harrison Barnes and the incoming return of guard Brandon Rush, Jack’s minutes will likely decrease. Finding a cheap replacement at backup point guard is not as difficult, and if worst comes to worst, testing out youngster Scott Machado could be an option as well. Jack was a great addition this year but he recognizes that this is a business and if another team offers him starting point guard money than he will probably have to find a new locker.
Finding a big man that score consistently is much more difficult, and the Warriors will need someone to spell Bogut, or start instead of him if he gets injured again. Lee is also injured and may not be 100 percent at the start of the season, and will surely be on a minutes limit by head coach Mark Jackson. Being one of the better offensive power forwards in the league, Landry is incredibly productive for the amount of minutes he plays compared to others at his position and will provide a needed boost to the Warriors at the start of next season.
In a perfect world, they would be able to keep both players with ease, but it’s not that easy. If they’re forced to choose between one of them, Carl Landry should be that guy.