The Golden State Warriors’ roster looks just a bit different this year. Andre Iguodala was added to an already pretty full wing rotation along with Toney Douglas, and big men Marreese Speights and Jermaine O’Neal joined up. In addition, foreign prospect Nemanja Nedovic joins via the draft pick dealt to the Warriors in the 2013 Draft.
So with the names on the chart a bit shaken up, how to the minutes play out? Will Stephen Curry’s ankle issues and the new wing players cause his minutes to become more conservative? How big will Speights and O’Neals’ responsibilities be? Let’s take a look.
1. Stephen Curry, PG-38 MPG
Like it or not, the fate of this team is still very much settled on Curry’s shoulders. They’re not ready to see him make a big jump down in minutes if he ever does. That being said, he’ll be managed fairly well at about 38 minutes, especially since Toney Douglas and Kent Bazemore allow him to slide over to the shooting guard spot sometimes.
2. Andre Iguodala, SG/SF-32 MPG
Iggy will likely see a lot of the same time as Curry. He’s wildly versatile, even being able to function as a team’s primary ball handler at times. His defensive skill set will keep him out on the hardwood for big minutes, only slightly more than the next name on the list. He’s durable too, so there’s actually a chance this number turns out higher.
3. Andrew Bogut-28 MPG
Bogut is the team’s defensive anchor, making up for the below-average rim protection skills of frontcourt mate David Lee. His blocking ability and interior presence, as well as being a factor on offense, mean that he’ll be putting up big minutes especially since his backup big men are untested as pieces of this squad.
4. David Lee, PF/C-29 MPG
Only time will tell if Lee can remain the double-double machine that he was last year. Regardless, the fact remains that he is the most prominent feature of the Warrior’s interior attack strategy, showcasing good post moves, versatility around the rim on offense, and a lethal jump shot out to about 15 feet. Expect him to be out there for the big time shares.
5. Klay Thompson, SG/SF-26 minutes
Bear with me here, I know it’s a significant drop in minutes from last year. The fact that Harrison Barnes will likely be pushed out of the starting lineup means that he’ll likely fall into the Sixth Man role. The fact that he started a full season, though, means that he’ll get a bigger minute share than a Sixth normally would. He’ll split time with Klay in the crowded Warriors wing rotation.
6. Harrison Barnes, SF-19 MPG
Barnes is gonna lose minutes this year, that much is assured. He’ll be pushed into the Sixth Man spot, but due to his former starting position and the versatility of the wing players ahead of him on the rotation, there’ll be space or him to carve out a prominent role off the bench.
7. Draymond Green, SF-16 MPG
As valuable as Green has been as a rebounder and a defensive player, he’s got a lot ahead of him on the depth chart. That’s not helped by the fact that his offensive impact is, overall, very low. He’ll be an important cog off the bench, but he won’t crack the 20+ layer. Not yet, at least.
8. Jermaine O’Neal, C-12 MPG
The veteran center will take minutes from Bogut, especially while Festus Ezeli is out with an injury. However, the fact that certain small rotations place David Lee under center combined with Bogut’s impact mean that his minutes share will stay somewhat low.
9. Marreese Speights, PF/C-12 MPG
Speights plays a career average of about 16 minutes per game. However, O’Neal and Ezeli will remain ahead of him in the rotation due to veteran presence, history with the team, and overall level of impact.
10. Festus Ezeli, C-11 MPG
With Speights and O’Neal on board coupled with absence from the first half of the season (expected), Ezeli’s minutes will likely (unfortunately) go down a pretty solid chunk. However, if any positional rotation is particularly vulnerable to adjustment and change week to week, it’s gotta be the center/power forward one behind Bogut and Lee depending on all the players’ performances.
11. Kent Bazemore, PG/SG-11 MPG
Look, I love this guy as much as anyone, and he was great in Summer League. But that’s Summer League. NBA play is another level, and he remains shaky at times, fighting flashes of severe inconsistency and bouts of troubling volume shooting that Monta Ellis himself (the legend) would find familiar. The kid’s got potential, but he won’t make much headway into an excellent wing rotation that’s stacked as it is.
12. Nemanja Nedovic, PG- Five MPG
Nedovic missed all of Summer League due to injury, leaving little for the Warriors staff to look at to find reasons to make him more than just a prospect. He’ll see court time, but don’t expect him to play even close to big minutes.