Apr 21, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) looks on from the bench during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers in game two during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Have The Warriors Improved Their Bench This Offseason?

The Warriors bench was one of the worst benches in the NBA last season.

Led by the wildly inconsistent Harrison Barnes and Jordan Crawford, the bunch struggled to consistently make a positive impact on the game.

This season the Warriors have made an effort to address their second unit bringing in Shaun Livingston and Brandon Rush. Rush quietly played for the Utah Jazz last season averaging a mere 11.0 minutes and 2.1 points per game. Rush shot a mere 33 percent from the field, and a career low 34 percent from three. But when he played major bench minutes on the Warriors back in 2011-12, Rush averaged 26.4 games on 50 percent shooting from the field, and 45 percent shooting from downtown.

Rush thrived coming off of the Warriors bench and seemed to enjoy the Bay Area far more than Indiana. He was traded to the Jazz last season and didn’t make any impact. But rumors out of the Bay Area are that Rush will play a major role in the second unit and will likely play both the backup shooting and small forward roles.

He also provides the Warriors with a legitimate option behind Harrison Barnes. If Barnes does struggle then Rush could take his spot on the floor and provide the Warriors with more perimeter shooting.

Couple Rush with the addition of Shaun Livingston and the Warriors bench looks much improved. Livingston provides the Warriors with a ton of added versatility. He has the ability to play both the backup point guard and shooting guard role and post-up smaller guards on offense and guards bigger guards on defense. In the Nets loss to the Miami Heat in the playoffs last season, Livingston guarded LeBron James and disrupted him with his length.

Livingston’s versatility made Steve Blake expendable and made the Warriors realize that they don’t need to bring back Jordan Crawford. Crawford struggled last season and was inconsistent with his decision making. Livingston is coming off of the best year of his career and hopes to build on his success in Brooklyn this coming season.

Possible contributions from Festus Ezeli and Aaron Craft also could make the Warriors bench even more well-rounded. Ezeli missed all of last season with a knee injury and hopes to return to the backup center role this season. Craft has had a major role on the Warriors summer league team and was a leader with his Ohio State Buckeyes the past few seasons.

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