The 2013-14 season for Marreese Speights was unpredictable, intriguing, and somewhat inspiring.
During last year’s offseason, the Golden State Warriors turned to the Florida alumni to fill the void Carl Landry left when he departed. Fans were expecting Speights’s impact to be similar to what Landry offered; they wanted energy and strength off the bench. However, they did not exactly get that early on in the season.
Speights looked terrible in the beginning of the season. In the month of November, he logged 11.1 minutes per game and averaged just 3.5 points per game. It was tough to determine what Speights had to offer on both sides of the court. He was not tough enough to grind it out inside the paint, nor did he have the athleticism to work outside of the paint.
Fans and the front office were unsure on the value Speights presented to the team. His name was mentioned frequently in trade rumors. It seemed like his departure would have been the best for both parties.
Even with the struggles Speights faced, he never gave up on the season. He seemed to turn things around in the month of December as he began to play more efficiently. Speights pumped out 16 points and nine rebounds against the Houston Rockets on December 13th, his first double digit scoring game.
One of the most shocking moments of the entire season for the Warriors came on February 20th when the Philadelphia 76ers came into town. The 76ers were a former team for Speights, and he was out for revenge. He had a career night that evening by erupting for 32 points on 80 percent shooting from the field. Social media exploded on that night with tweets calling him MVP, “#MoMoney”, and “#AceOfSpeights”.
After being on cloud nine with a career performance, Speights seemed to return to Earth. His play became inconsistent, and he lost minutes on the floor due to his struggles and the emergence of Draymond Green.
With the depth the Warriors had at the forward position, the odds of were stacked against Speights. He had many DNP’s (did not play) and single-digit minute games. As far as playing time goes, the end of the season did not look promising for Speights. But deep down in his mind, he was waiting for the opportunity.
A hamstring injury ruled David Lee out for a two-week period, and in Speights-like fashion, he stepped up and gave it his all. Speights gave a 22 point outing against the San Antonio Spurs and recorded a double-double against the Sacramento Kings. He ended the season on a high not by averaging 10.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in the month of April.
It is tough to gauge the value of Speights for the Warriors’ front office. But from a fans point of view, his display of perseverance, relentlessness, and tenacity is well appreciated. He is on contract for the following season. Hopefully, he can find consistency in the upcoming year.