Golden State Warriors might already have their backup center

Golden State Warriors, Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors, Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Golden State Warriors have an open roster spot, but they might not have to use it on a center because of Damian Jones and Jordan Bell.

The Golden State Warriors moved quickly when free agency opened. They made sure to retain their two biggest stars, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. They also retained other core members Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

David West and Zaza Pachulia will both be back for another year. They bolstered the rest of their bench by adding veterans Nick Young and Omri Casspi. And, of course, they added Jordan Bell through a Draft Night trade with the Chicago Bulls.

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They did all this and they still have one roster spot open. The Warriors don’t have a lot of money to work with. Even with Durant’s salary sacrifice, Joe Lacob is going to have to write a big check to the league.

Golden State might not be in a rush to fill that up. While JaVale Mcgee, who instantly became a fan-favorite last season, is still a free agent, his return isn’t guaranteed. He might get a bigger contract elsewhere or, it’s possible, the Warriors don’t think they even need him.

The defending champs are pretty deep at the guard and wing spots. Pachulia will return to the starting lineup, West will get some run as an undersized big man, and Draymond Green will be the five during the important small ball lineups .Still, they need someone else to eat minutes there.

The solution might be in-house. Golden State has two young big men in second year Damian Jones  and rookie Jordan Bell. Both guys could be ready for bigger opportunities that would allow the Warriors to keep that roster spot open.

Jones is a big and strong center. He opened some eyes with the Santa Cruz last season, showing why Golden State is excited about him. Standing at seven feet tall, Jones is trying to incorporate a jump shot to add offensive skill to his defensive prowess.

Bell is a very interesting piece. He’s just 6’8, but the Warriors like to go small. He has shown that he possesses a unique Draymond Green-like skillset. He’s undersized, but he’s a very good rim protector.

The Warriors might turn to one of those two players at different moments throughout a game. They are solid defense-first players that can exert all their energy on that end of the floor because Golden State can have three or four other offensive weapons on the court with them. Choosing which one to play might be a matchup dependent decision.

Jones will get his chance. Bell–who recorded a 5×5 in his third Summer League game–should also get a chance. While McGee was a key part of the Warriors’ championship run, they might have young talent to replace and, eventually, surpass him and his abilities.