Golden State Warriors’ next man up mentality is coming up big

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 8: Kevin Durant
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 8: Kevin Durant /

The Golden State Warriors have been shorthanded as of late, but their bench has come up big, regardless of who steps onto the court.

When the Golden State Warriors hired Steve Kerr following their heartbreaking Game 7 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, there was an immediate culture change. The Warriors would shift from a solid middle-of-the-pack squad that relied heavily on Stephen Curry, David Lee, and, to a lesser extent, Klay Thompson to a complete team. While the stars have gotten brighter in the Bay Area, the rest of the Warriors have also improved.

Not many teams can afford to miss one starter, let alone three of them. This what Golden State has been dealing with. Curry, Draymond Green, and Zaza Pachulia have all been sidelined with various injuries. It hasn’t impacted their ability to win games.

Sure, the games are more difficult. Baskets are harder to come by when you don’t have the luxury of using the greatest floor spacer basketball has ever seen and one of the game’s premier playmakers. The Warriors have managed to win in other ways, though.

More from Blue Man Hoop

Of course, Kevin Durant‘s heroics cannot be overstated. Since Curry hurt his ankle against the New Orleans Pelicans, Durant has turned it up to a notch that’s higher than even his MVP campaign back in 2014. He’s been phenomenal.

Still, the Dubs have had to grind out some tough wins. Even with all of Durant’s elite abilities on full display, he needs help. Klay Thompson has been rather inconsistent shooting the ball. Despite having as many as four key players out with injury at once, Kerr has been able to turn to nearly every available player on his bench for production.

David West turned back the clock against the Portland Trailblazers and threw down some monstrous dunks. Omri Casspi excelled against the Dallas Mavericks with 17 points and 11 rebounds while starting for the injured Green. Jordan Bell continues to impress.

The Warriors have a legitimate “next man up” attitude that allows them to keep going, even when a two-time MVP is sidelined with an injured ankle. When one guy goes down, there are others ready to do whatever is needed to get a win. That’s the culture and the mindset of the reserves.

Golden State will need everyone on board to make their deep playoff run, but having a bench Kerr can trust makes things a lot easier. The reserve Warriors have been stepping up big time.