Not too long ago, Toney Douglas was one in a string of offseason signings for the Golden State Warriors this offseason. The backup point guard adds depth to a backcourt that took a hit in that department when Jarrett Jack left for Cleveland, eventually to be signed by Cleveland. He’s definitely no replacement for Jack, but brings some experience with four years in the league and 27 years of age.
However, the Warriors already have another guard on the bench who’s a much more prominent member of the team.
Across certain numbers, Douglas looks solid. His career averages are 8.6 points per game, 2.4 assists per game, 2.3 rebounds per game and about one steal per game. He’s pretty much lined up to be the primary backup point guard.
But after his Summer League performance, youngster and bench phenom Kent Bazemore might have something to say about the depth chart arrangements.
Already known for his team spirit and crazy bench celebrations, Bazemore played very little last year (although he did happen to nearly ice Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs). He’s also known to more hardcore fans for his intense work ethic, great personality and for his potential as a defender due to great athleticism and decent size.
Bazemore’s got a long wingspan and stands a measured 6’5,” solid for any backcourt role. He made himself a squad leader this year in Summer League, making huge contributions (tangible and intangible) towards the Warriors winning the first ever Vegas Summer League Championship. His defensive capabilities should be evident in part due to his 1.5 steals per game and 1.8 blocks per game.
Bazemore’s glaring issue is still a lack of efficiency, as he shot an average of two-for-three on free throws (.667), and takes way too many attempts. He took 25 in one game, making 10. That’s too many shots.
Bazemore’s field goal percentage (about 46 percent) is decent, but he plays like a volume shooter that he isn’t. He also only dished out 1.3 assists per game in Vegas this summer. It almost seems he might get a big share of minutes at shooting guard as well as point guard. His regular season numbers are unimpressive, but he has shown flashes of something more.
Douglas is a better traveled, more experienced point guard with better numbers and more minutes logged in the league. But he’s a fresh member of this team, and his stats aren’t exactly standout. Bazemore is already a huge part of the team despite low minutes. He’s young, he’s athletic and he’s already a pretty good defender even in full-fledged NBA games. Bazemore’s shot is unreliable and he’s turnover prone, but those are issues more easily changed or reduced than others. Defense is huge for this kid. He focuses on that going into this year and works on his shot, and we just might have a position battle on our hands in the Bay Area.
The guy known for extravagance on the bench and for major locker room presence is improving his on-court game. Dramatically. If he can keep it up, his second year as a pro might just see him with significant minutes.