The Warriors bench doesn’t get enough credit

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Shaun Livingston
OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Shaun Livingston /

The bench of the Golden State Warriors has been criticized for its depth. But the players sitting out are solid, experienced and contributing.

This year Golden State Warriors have been described as top-heavy and with a very thin bench. A closer look reveals that things may not be as bad as the media wants to make to look.

Correct, Warriors are top heavy. Signing DeMarcus Cousins was the final pillar of excellence. The All-Star team is complete.

But, is the bench in such a sad state of affairs?

Let’s have a look at the Finals last year. Guys on the bench this year who contributed last year were:

Andre Igoudala

Jordan Bell

Shaun Livingston

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Quinn Cook

Kevon Looney

These guys are bench players this year – all spare parts to the well-oiled starting lineup of Durant, Curry, Green, Thompson and Cousins.

But are they any good? That what media is questioning repeatedly this season.

First of all, one has to notice that Warriors have five guys on their bench with playoff and NBA Finals experience. That’s got to count for something, right?

These five players contributed with 55:30 minutes in Game 1 of the Finals. In G,ame 2 it was 41:04. Both games Andre Igoudala was injured. Game 3 was 51:15 minutes and Game 4 57:54 minutes.

Golden State has a very experienced bench.

Since the Warriors and Cavs were the only teams in the Finals for the last four years, and the fact that the Cavaliers are now at the bottom of the East, these Golden State players are the only ones who have extensive Finals minutes – on a team with championship potential.

Last year their Finals minutes were distributed like this:

Igoudala           44:33 min.

Bell                   54:02 min.

Livingston      1:04:52 min.

Cook                 03:29 min.

Looney             38:47 min.

One could always argue that Livingston (33) and Iguodala (35) are aging. These guys keep playing great when called upon.

If we look at the +/- for this year, it doesn’t look that awful either. We’ve included the five guys from before and added Jerebko and McKinnie as players who are expected to deliver minutes in potential playoff games or Finals.

Iguodala           +8.8

Bell                   -1.5

Livingston        +0.9

Cook                 -3.7

Looney             +11.0

Jerebko            +4.1

McKinney        +5.6

Golden State Warriors are loaded on the court, but their bench is both experienced and solid.

When you get down to crunch-time, you need guys you can depend on. Livingston, Bell and Looney showed their importance in both Game 6 and 7 of last year’s thrilling win over Houston in the Western Conference Finals, and we all know what former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala is capable of when healthy.

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So, the questioning of the bench seems a little farfetched.