The Golden State Warriors have had an active offseason and, as a result, the roster looks a lot different than it did last year. In an effort to clear space for free agent Andre Iguodala, the Warriors sent Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush to the Utah Jazz (along with cash and draft picks).
The Warriors also lost backups Jarrett Jack (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Carl Landry (Sacramento Kings) to free agency.
Replacing Jack and Landry, who both proved valuable during last season’s playoff run, will be difficult, but the Warriors have signed a few veterans to make their loss less significant: Jermaine O’Neal, Marreese Speights, and Toney Douglas are all new to the team.
Marreese Speights, who can play both power forward and center, is expected to be Landry’s replacement. He has a reliable jump shot, much like Landry. However, the rest of his game is a bit suspect.
Landry was undersized, but he utilized pump fakes and a few offensive moves to get his points. He was also a decent rebounder for the Warriors. Speights will have to prove he can do more than just shoot, and if he can, the Warriors won’t miss Landry much.
If not, Draymond Green could see more playing time. He is a bit small to be a power forward, but he can play defense, rebound and score. He could also get minutes at small forward.
Replacing Jack will be much more difficult. There are a few players fighting to be Stephen Curry’s backup, and as of now, the frontrunner is Toney Douglas.
Douglas isn’t really known for his passing, which is what will be needed most. He is a great defender and a capable scorer, but he will need to prove that he can distribute the ball as well.
Some people think Iguodala will become the secondary ball-handler, but he will need his rest, too. Kent Bazemore, a second year player, is also a possibility even though he is a natural shooting guard.
Bazemore spent this year’s Summer League running the offense and didn’t do a bad job. As with Douglas, Bazemore will have to prove he can run the point without turning the ball over.
Nemanja Nedovic, the Warriors’ only draft pick, is also a possibility. He missed the Summer League, so no one has seen him play live yet. He doesn’t have much of a chance of unseating the other players, but maybe he will surprise people.
If the free-agent replacements work out well, the Warriors will be in great shape. Iguodala can play both shooting guard and small forward, which will give the team plenty of flexibility. Either Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes will come off the bench and will be a candidate for sixth man of the year.
Andrew Bogut should be fully healthy and, if last year’s playoffs are any indication, that will be a very good thing for the Warriors. Backing him up will be Jermaine O’Neal. Although O’Neal is 34, he can give Bogut some rest. Speights can also fill in at center if needed.
Festus Ezeli should provide more depth, but it all depends how soon he is able to recover from knee surgery.
When the season starts, the depth chart should look something like this:
PG: Stephen Curry, Toney Douglas, Kent Bazemore, Nemanja Nedovic
SG: Klay Thompson, Kent Bazemore
SF: Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green
PF: David Lee, Marreese Speights, Draymond Green
C: Andrew Bogut, Jermaine O’Neal, Festus Ezeli
Topics: Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Carl Landry, David Lee, Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli, Golden State, Golden State Warriors, Harrison Barnes, Jarrett Jack, Jermaine O'Neal, Kent Bazemore, Klay Thompson, Marreese Speights, Nemanja Nedovic, Stephen Curry, Toney Douglas