The Golden State Warriors have put the final touches on a bench that was pretty much overhauled this offseason. The process began with the jettisoning of Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins. They flipped those three for Andre Iguodala, which pushes Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson to the bench.
Monday saw them add Marreese Speights into the mix, and Tuesday, Toney Douglas and Jermaine O’Neal were both inked to one-year deals.
Jermaine O’Neal’s deal with Golden State is one-year, $2 million, I’m being told. That’s a solid pickup.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 9, 2013
O’Neal, a six-time All-Star, just about rounds out the Warriors’ frontcourt bench unit. Carl Landry bolted for Sacramento over the weekend after having his rights renounced, so O’Neal slides into that role. Perhaps managment adds one more big into the mix for strictly depth reasons, as O’Neal and Andrew Bogut aren’t the most durable big men around.
The 34-year-old O’Neal probably isn’t going to provide Landry-type production unless he undergoes some rejuvenation. The latter is unlikely while the former is more reasonable. After all, he’s been on a downward spiral since he averaged about 14 points per game with the Miami Heat in 2009-10. Since, his minutes have decreased and yes, so have his offensive contributions. He’s averaged a mere 6.8 points per game since 2011.
O’Neal can play the power forward and center positions. Quicker power forwards probably aren’t his best match, so he’s a matchup-dependent player at this stage in his career, at least at the power forward spot. He is 6’11,” so slower centers better fit his mobility.
O’Neal’s versatility to defend both positions also provides the Warriors with insurance in the likely case that Andrew Bogut gets injured. Emphasis on “likely.” The Australian center might not suffer a long-term injury, if he isn’t struck by any “bad luck” injuries.
But there’s always the possibility that Bogut’s ankles or back flares up. In that case, Golden State wouldn’t have to completely mortgage an interior defense, consisting of the unreliable David Lee, an inexperienced Speights and an undersized Draymond Green. Not that O’Neal is a defensive specialist, but he’s a capable defender.