Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has stated he’s “really excited” about the prospect of young two-way big man Usman Garuba, adding that the franchise is a good fit for the 21-year-old.
After two years with the Houston Rockets, the former 23rd overall pick was traded twice before eventually being waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Warriors, needing to fortify their frontcourt, snapped up Garuba on a two-way contract.
After playing among a wave of young players in Houston, Usman Garuba now has the opportunity to learn from a pair of Golden State Warriors veterans.
Asked about Garuba during his press conference on Wednesday, Kerr compared Garuba to a pair of Warrior stars who possess a similar skillset to the Spanish international.
"“I was really excited. I’ve liked Garuba the last couple of years watching him in Houston. He’s got a little bit of sort of a Draymond-Loon type game. You know, not necessarily the most athletic but really smart, good passer, good dribble hand-off guy, excellent defensively. He’s a very intriguing player,” Kerr said."
The Warriors recent history with young centers doesn’t make for great reading, with the likes of Jordan Bell, Alen Smailagic and most notably James Wiseman unable to fulfill the hopes the franchise once held.
Yet given the similarities he shares with Green and Looney from both a physical and skillset standpoint, there’s genuine optimism that Garuba can develop into a genuine rotation player for Golden State.
He’ll potentially have to battle for minutes with second-round pick Trayce Jackson-Davis, with the 23-year-old seemingly preferred over Garuba in the franchise’s preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
Garuba saw less than six minutes in his Warrior debut, yet showcased his defensive versatility on a couple of possessions. He finished with one steal, one block and two rebounds in his limited opportunity, while Jackson-Davis had one rebound, two steals and two blocks in nearly 15 minutes of playing time.