Warriors Game Analysis: James McAdoo Fighting for His Roster Spot


In case you missed it, the Golden State Warriors started their preseason schedule with a routine win over the Toronto Raptors. What wasn’t routine about the game was the fact that it wasn’t broadcast on TV, and fans instead had to depend on a radio broadcast to tune into the game.

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And while a preseason game against the Raptors in early October might not mean much to many fans, it could end up deciding the fates of several roster hopefuls on the Warriors’ roster – James Michael McAdoo being one of them.

McAdoo is no stranger to this process – last season, he signed on with the Warriors in September as a training camp invitee. He was later waived by the Warriors as he failed to make the final roster, but signed on with their D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. Midway through January, he signed a ten-day contract, but wasn’t retained upon the expiration of that contract. He returned to the NBA in February, when he signed a second ten-day contract and subsequently signed on for the rest of the season.

Alongside Ian Clark, Ben Gordon, Jarell Eddie, Chris Babb, Tony Mitchell, and Juwan Staten, McAdoo’s contract is partially guaranteed for the 2015-16 season. So while he is a favourite to retain his roster spot, nothing is guaranteed and a poor showing during the preseason might spell the end of his run as a Warrior.

But if last night’s performance is anything to go by and he continues to perform in such a manner, McAdoo’s roster spot should be safe. He scored 10 points in the win, and was tied for the highest plus/minus in the game with a healthy +12 score. With an extra two rebounds and steals, and one assist and block each, McAdoo filled up the box score in the 13 minutes he played.

Apr 15, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward James Michael McAdoo (20) reacts after a play against the Denver Nuggets during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Denver Nuggets 133-126. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

He scored all of his ten points in the final quarter, on a 3-of-4 shooting performance. The only blemish to an otherwise impressive performance was his free throw shooting, where he went 4-of-7 for the night.

Detractors will be quick to point out that McAdoo’s scoring only came against the Raptors’ lesser names like Norman Powell, Delon Wright and much-criticised former first overall pick Anthony Bennett. However, a rebuttal would be to point out how McAdoo scored most of his points – by being aggressive and attacking the rim. All three of his made baskets came at the rim, with two being driving layups and one being a dunk. He was rewarded for his aggression when he was fouled and given an and-one opportunity on all three field goals.

While McAdoo is capable of playing either forward spot, he was used primarily as a power forward for most of last season.  And with David Lee no longer with the Warriors, McAdoo and new Warrior Jason Thompson will be fighting for his minutes as Draymond Green’s backup. McAdoo’s advantage here is that Thompson can also play as the Warriors’ small-ball center, which could see the Warriors employ a McAdoo-Thompson frontcourt duo – a highly-athletic and mobile big-man combination.

It seems odd that we at Blue Man Hoop are putting so much attention on the Warriors’ final two roster spots, but as we saw last season, the Warriors’ depth was key in keeping them healthy on their run to a title. A non-televised preseason game might mean nothing in October, but it could have an impact on a successful title defense in June.

Other observations:

  • Stephen Curry was ejected from the game midway through the third quarter after picking up six fouls. Yes, that’s right, Curry was ejected from a preseason game. Perhaps it was Ty Lawson’s comments on him slacking on defense that prompted a more gung-ho approach from the MVP or it might have simply been him frustrated with the fact that the defending champions’ first preseason game wasn’t televised.
  • Leandro Barbosa also had an impressive performance, leading all scorers with 15 points. He failed to put up any assists, rebounds, steals, or blocks, but was efficient in his scoring, going 7-of-9 from the field. Barbosa recently signed a $2.1 million, one year extension with the Warriors, after a successful return to the NBA last season.
  • Festus Ezeli is another name to be keeping an eye on throughout the rest of October. With Harrison Barnes’ contract extension taking up most of the Warriors’ gossip columns, we are yet to hear much about Ezeli’s potential contract extension. The backup big man is being picked by many to be the Warriors’ eventual successor to Andrew Bogut, which could result in the Warriors having to invest big money in a player who has only played 124 games over his first three seasons. However, if the Warriors decide to wait on an extension and Ezeli has an impressive season and enters restricted free agency, the Warriors could end up taking a big hit financially when they could have signed him earlier for a much cheaper price. This, along with Barnes’ contract talks will mean a busy October for Warriors’ general manager Bob Myers.

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