In Blake We Trust: The Warriors’ Bench Stepping Up
Originally I was going to write about how the Golden State Warriors needed to add a player late in the season (possibly on a ten day contract from free agency) to bolster their bench; however, I have noticed a recent trend when watching the Warriors’ games as of late in the month of February: not only has the starters stepped up their game, but the bench as well.
Though the Warrior’s bench averaged the least amount of points in the NBA earlier in the season, the added presence of Steve Blake and the return of Jermaine O’ Neal bolsters the Warriors’ bench and readies them to contend against other legitimate NBA benches.
I have ran some numbers to show the averages of each player on the Warriors’ bench that regularly gets minutes in each game: Steve Blake, Jordan Crawford, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Marreese Speights, and Jermaine O’ Neal.
Warrior’s bench stats per game averages since Steve Blake arrived:
Steve Blake: 19.8 MP, 37.1 FG%, 36.3P%, 100 FT%, 1.0 3PM, 1.5 TRB, 3.6 AST, 0.25 STL, 4.8 PTS, 0.5 TO, -19 +/-
Jordan Crawford: 15.8 MP, 42.2 FG%, 32.3 3P%, 77.0 FT%, 1.0 3PM, 1.1 TRB, 0.9 AST, 0.1 STL, 9.3 PTS, 1.6 TO, -35 +/-
Harrison Barnes: 23.8 MP, 33.3 FG%, 38.1 3P%, 75.0 FT%, 1.0 3PM, 3.3 TRB, 1.5 AST, 0.2 STL, 0.5 BLK, 7.9 PTS, 0.75 TO, -14 +/-
Draymond Green: 21.1 MP, 34.5 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 78.6 FT%, 0.4 3PM, 4.4 REB, 2.5 AST, 1.75 STL, 0.6 BLK, 6.5 PTS, 0.8 TO, +1 +/-
Marreese Speights: 8.4 MP, 37.9 FG%, 93.8 FT%, 2.3 TRB, 0.7 BLK, 5.3 PTS, 0.6 TO, -10 +/-
Jermaine O’ Neal: 25.1 MP, 61.5 FG%, 65.2 FT%, 7.4 TRB, 0.4 AST, 0.1 STL, 1.4 BLK, 11.3 PTS, 2.3 TO, +26 +/-
Averages as a unit: 19.0 MP, 41.1 FG%, 33.8 3P%, 81.6 FT%.
Statistical output as a unit: 23 REB, 8.9 AST, 2.4 STL, 3.2 BLK, 45.1 PTS, 6.6 TO, -37+/-.
Problems and how to solve them:
- Crawford and Speights need better shot selection, which they can get through Blake getting more assists.
- Less turnovers as a unit, which can be solved by Steve Blake handling the ball more.
- Crawford should become a spot up shooter from mid and 3-point range, which can be solved by more passing in and out of the post.
- Driving lanes need to be setup for Crawford and Barnes so they can draw more fouls, something that can be fixed by Green, Speights, and O’Neal setting more screens.
Steve Blake and Jermaine O’ Neal can help tremendously, as shown, because they are veteran leaders that play the game well in their respective roles.
Blake knows how to pass proficiently from the wing into the post, as well as in situations where he’s driving to the hoop. Blake’s ability to do this will allow for more easy points via dump offs around the hoop for bigs, all the while setting up the team for better midrange and three point shots. However, Blake’s most important skill is his ability to pass the ball into the post. If Blake is able to get the ball into the post and into the hands of O’ Neal and/or Speights, this helps spread the floor and open up more scoring opportunities. This would be a huge development for the bench and make it more efficient in four ways: less turnovers, more ball movement, higher shooting percentage, and more points.
Summing things up, running the offense through Blake on the wing and O’Neal in the post will make them a better scoring unit by spreading the floor and minimizing the 6.6 TO’s they are getting as a unit. All of this will not only work short-term, but it will ultimately help the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. The Warriors will need a deep bench to compete with the Western Conference powers of the Rockets, Spurs, Thunder, Suns, Clippers, and Trailblazers, who all have great benches themselves. It will be a hard-fought battle in developing the bench as much as possible before the postseason, but the six Dubstitutes are more than capable of competing against the other benches of the Western Conference.
Warriors Achieve Back-to-Back Wins on the Road vs. Pacers, Celtics
MAR. 6, 2014 || Twitter: @iAMgoldenstate
A couple nights ago, the Golden State Warriors pulled out an amazing win against the Indiana Pacers before achieving another victory against the Boston Celtics yesterday. The last long road trip of the season, the Warriors were able to go 4-2 and now look to return home against the Atlanta Hawks. Here’s a few words on the last two wins:
The Warriors are the only team in the NBA to defeat both the Miami Heat AND the Indiana Pacers at home this season, but their win against the Pacers was the epitome of a nail-biter.
The team got off to an early start in the first half, dominating the Pacers in what looked like was going to be a solid win. Of course, you can never count out the best team in the NBA (record-wise), especially considering how poorly the Dubs close out games. Going into the half, the Warriors gave up a couple of petty turnovers, which shifted the momentum in Indy’s favor. Despite the Warriors controlling the tempo for most of the game, the Pacers found the will to lockdown defensively right out of halftime, forcing numerous Golden State turnovers. David Lee was also getting cooked defensively by David West (game-high 27 points) down low, which was central to the Pacers’ comeback in the second half.
Luckily, Klay Thompson was set up late in the fourth quarter with a mismatch against Pacers point guard Geroge Hill, resulting in an easy fadeaway game winner. With 0.6 seconds to go in the game, superstar Paul George was able to get off a deep-3 following the inbounds, but his prayer went unanswered. Golden State ended up winning 98-96 in a much-needed victory.
Thompson had a team-high 25 points on 10-20 shooting from the field and 3-5 shooting from deep. The Warriors notably play extremely well when Thompson’s shots are falling, and last night’s game was just another example of that notion. Steph Curry, despite having four game-changing turnovers, finished with a respectable 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Credit must also be given to the much-improved Warriors-bench, which combined for 34 points. Draymond Green, who was celebrating his birthday, chipped in 10 points, seven rebounds and three asists to help lead the bench. Harrison Barnes followed suit with his own 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. Both forwards knocked down their open jumpers and made good plays within the flow of the game. Props to the rest of the supporting cast, as well, for their contributions off the pine.
In Boston, Golden State completely dominated the game start to finish, blowing out the Celtics 108-88. Playing the end of a back-to-back, this definitely wasn’t what many expected the team to do after playing such a tough game in Indiana; fortunately, the Dubs came into the TD Bank Garden with a winner’s mindset. They proved they wanted this one with their tenacity and high-level play, allowing them to return home to Oracle Arena with some pride and momentum.
Golden State took a commanding lead going into the half and continued to dominate far into the third quarter. Coach Jackson opted to take out his starters and have them rest for what was left of the game following a thigh injury to Steph Curry (soreness).
Luckily, the Warriors’ ever-improving bench was able to close out the game with ease, playing more minutes than any of the starters. Klay Thompson and David Lee still shared a game-high 18 points, and Steph Curry was able to add-in 14 points before being taken out of the game. Last night’s game also marked the first time that Jordan Crawford played against his former team since being traded to the Warriors, and he contributed a solid 15 points off the bench.
They say the hardest game is the home game right after a long road trip, so hopefully Golden State can continue to ride this wave back to #WarriorsGround and extend their winning streak! #LetsGoWarriors
Be sure to read my recap on the Warriors’ back-to-back road wins against the Pacers and Celtics!
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In Blake We Trust: The Warriors’ Bench Stepping Up
Originally I was going to write about how the Golden State Warriors needed to add a player late in the season on a ten day contract from free agency to bolster their bench. However, I have noticed a recent trend when watching the Warriors’ games as of late in the month of February. I have seen a…
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