In their sixth consecutive game in six different cities, the Golden State Warriors lacked energy as they fell to a double-digit loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
After a poor second-quarter forced them to play catch up, the Warriors threatened a comeback in the second-half on the back of some impressive production from their younger players. That included rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis who sought to provide some energy to a lacklustre Golden State performance.
Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr may have to incorporate Trayce Jackson-Davis into the rotation on a more full-time basis.
Jackson-Davis had an immediate impact in just 12 second-half minutes, proving active on both ends of the floor as the Warriors tried to conjure a fightback. The 23-year-old had five points and four rebounds, but those numbers didn’t necessarily reflect the influence he provided.
His block on a driving Darius Garland was the undoubted highlight, he was a team-high +8, and his 1-5 free-throw shooting and blown layup at the rim could have easily seen him finish with double-digits scoring-wise.
Head coach Steve Kerr went 12 deep into his rotation on the first night of a back-to-back, praising the performances of Jackson-Davis and Brandin Podziemski who were thrown into the fire in the second-half.
"“I thought Brandin and Trayce came in and did a really good job…With Trayce, he can finish in the paint against those big guys”, Kerr said in the postgame."
Kerr acknowledged he “played a lot of people just trying to find some energy”, but categorizing both rookies as just spot-minute, energy-providing players probably does them a disservice. Podziemski may be rightly behind future hall of famers Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Chris Paul, yet Jackson-Davis shouldn’t be so cemented to a limited role.
Kevon Looney and Dario Saric are playing solid basketball right now, but they’re hardly setting the house on fire even despite the latter’s 20-point outing against the Thunder on Friday. Jackson-Davis is providing an impact for Golden State, particularly defensively where he’s averaging five blocks per 36 minutes.
Having an 11-man rotation may be complicating the rotation too much, but ‘TJD’ is making a pretty compelling case to play on a more regular basis. He offers something different to Saric off the bench, and his presence could prove crucial in managing Looney who’s just ticked over 200-straight regular season games played.