Mar 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) is guarded by Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors Could Use More Depth At Center

It’s gotten to “that point” in the offseason where I may have to start breaking down why the Warriors should sign Emeka Okafor.

Despite his injuries, he’s a very serviceable big man when healthy, and it’s no surprise that about half the league has shown interest in signing him, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

But no, I don’t think Okafor signs with the Warriors because a) the Cavaliers are among those interested, and they should be the odds-on favorites to land any free agent right now and b) he’s still recovering from a neck injury and will likely miss half the season.

For a Warriors team filled with injury-riddled centers — Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli — the last thing they need is another big man who has trouble staying healthy and is on the wrong side of 30.

However, what needs to be addressed is the team’s lack of depth at the center position. Bogut is one of the top defensive big men in the league, but what happens when he goes down and misses an entire playoff series, as he did last season? What happens if his backup, Ezeli, who missed the entire 2013-2014 season recovering from knee surgery, is absent as well, and you have David Lee and Draymond Green as your biggest bodies on the court?

You don’t have to be an expert to realize that formula won’t lead to much success — the Clippers proved it during the playoffs. But right now, with Jermaine O’Neal possibly retiring and Ognjen Kuzmic still not ready for consistent minutes, the Warriors are stuck with just two serviceable centers who could get hit with the injury bug at anytime.

Right now, the Warriors have 13 players on the roster, excluding free agent Jordan Crawford and O’Neal. Assuming neither of them return, they will have two blank roster spots, who they can fill with players earning the minimum. The list of available centers, however, is extremely thin. One interesting name is Ekpe Udoh, the former Warriors’ first round draft pick, but it’s unlikely he’ll settle for a minimum salary. The Warriors could try Jason Collins or Nazr Mohammed, two veterans who could be available for cheap.

Is the Warriors’ lack of depth of center a huge concern? Not exactly, because when Bogut and Ezeli are both healthy, there’s no need for a third center. But if one of them goes down and they’re stuck with one serviceable center on the roster, that’s when it becomes an issue.

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