What’s to Make of the Golden State Warriors Summer League Success?


Jul 22, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Kent Bazemore looks to dribble past Phoenix Suns center Arinze Onuaku during the NBA Summer League Championship game at the Thomas and Mack Center. Golden State won the game 91-77 to remain undefeated during the Summer League games. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors’ Summer League performance was certainly impressive, but there are more things  to take away from the Las Vegas tournament than just the title.

The Loss of Ian Clark

Ian Clark was the Finals MVP equivalent from the Summer League. Clark averaged 12.4 points on 47.8 percent shooting from the field and an insane 48.5 percent from beyond the arc. He was also able to record 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals in just 21.6 minutes of playtime.

But unfortunately, the 6’3’’ combo guard will not be suiting up in blue and gold next season.

It should be noted that of the 87 points he scored in all seven of his Summer League appearances, 33 of them came in the championship game against the Phoenix Suns.

While Clark was not the single reason the Warriors performed so well this summer, he was certainly a player that management wanted to retain and offer a spot in the training camp. The Warriors already have a lot of strength in their backcourt rotation, but it certainly would not have hurt having another hot hand coming off the bench.

The Absence of Ognen Kuzmic and Nemanja Nedovic

The Warriors’ two European draft picks from the last two years are both nursing ankle injuries and were unable to suit up for Summer League. Optimistically, both the players will be able to play in the training camp after they heal up and finish some contractual obligations to their current clubs.

Kuzmic and Nedovic are still unknown quantities, and it’s really anyone’s guess as to how they will transition into the NBA. Both will be essential in adding some youth to positions in which the other backups, such as Jermaine O’Neal and Toney Douglas, are not getting any younger.

Kuzmic and Nedovic certainly have high ceilings given their innate physical potential, but it will be on the training staff of the Warriors and the coaches to ensure they transition well into the big leagues.

Apr 26, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (left), center Festus Ezeli (top center), forward Brandon Rush (center) and and guard Jarrett Jack (right) react to a three point basket made by guard Stephen Curry (not pictured) against the Denver Nuggets in the second quarter during game three of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Emergence of Kent Bazemore

Kent Bazemore started the summer as the unofficial 12th Man of the Year and will finish it as one of the best two-way players under the age of 25. After a season where he was more known for his hilarious celebrations and his next to nothing preseason rating than his actual play, Bazemore impressed the critics by not just averaging 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, but by also shutting down some of the hottest prospects going into the Summer League–Otto Porter and Ben McLemore.

In his games against the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings, Bazemore scored 21 and 15 points, respectively, while holding Porter and McLemore to seven points on 23 percent shooting from the field and 14 points on 30 percent shooting from the field, respectively.

His dismantling of the “young bloods” proved that his Lefty Driesell award was not a fluke. The Old Dominion product could likely improve his three-point shooting, as he shot an abysmal 22.6 percent from beyond the arc. There is likely no better way to learn than playing with the best during training camp.

The Future of Draymond Green

Draymond Green was the only player on the Warriors’ Summer League roster who was actually drafted by the team. That simple fact is a testament to the strength and scouting capabilities of the team’s management  (though if Festus Ezeli and Nemanja Nedovic were healthy, they would have suited up so take it as you will).

Green demonstrated some serious potential during the regular season and made his mark during the postseason. This Summer League would have been the opportunity for a player who was clearly overqualified to destroy the opposition. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Green averaged 30.1 minutes during the Summer League and had a stat line of 12.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists, as well as two steals over his seven games. He shot an awful 31.1 percent from the field and his average was likely brought down by his terrible three-point shooting, where he shot 20.7 percent.

For a player who has had starting experience and has logged significant minutes during the playoffs, this Summer League was certainly a failure for the young forward. Perhaps Michigan State University products need the pressure of the big stage to perform, but if all else fails, Green has established himself as a locker room leader and someone who can, at the very least, contribute in small intervals.