The Golden State Warriors have a size problem, and there is an internal fix.
Veteran forward Nemanja Bjelica is looking more and more like the answer for Steve Kerr’s squad when it comes to frontcourt depth and could actually be among the biggest X-factors if he works his way into the playoff rotation.
The Warriors won on Sunday night largely due to the play of forward Nemanja Bjelica, and he’s looking like the answer to the questions about the Dubs size.
The 6-foot-10 Bjelica was one of many key additions over the course of last offseason. Players like Otto Porter Jr. have also been helpful in the Dubs’ question for another Finals berth.
With the Warriors having clinched the playoff spot, the fun is set to begin in just a few weeks. One strange thing not typical of Kerr’s rosters is the rotation, especially this late in the year, and it’s because we really don’t know who will be in that 8-man rotation.
Bjelica is making a strong case to be the backup center, and his offensive versatility is increasingly important. If two-time MVP Stephen Curry isn’t 100% when he takes the court in the playoffs, they’ll need that extra shooting and playmaking.
The big man showed his worth against the Kings, being dubbed the player of the game. He put together 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists, the latter two of which were a team-high in the Warriors’ 109-90 victory.
Bjelica is a unique big man.
He can shoot from deep, averaging .8 triples per game and shooting 36% from deep. He increases that to 46% in total. On top of that, Bjelica averaged 4.9 assists and 9.2 rebounds per 36 minutes. Those are both career-high numbers for Bjelica.
That’s the type of player you’ll want on the court, and he gives the Warriors size in the paint when starting center Kevon Looney goes to the bench. The Warriors need what Bjelica offers, but he can be a liability defensively.
It’ll be interesting to see what Kerr does, but the size that Bjelica offers will matter. He could be a huge X-factor if he can solve his defensive woes or if the staff can hide him on that end of the court.
Nonetheless, he showed his potential for the team and should be in the rotation in the playoffs.