Is the Golden State Warriors Bench up to Scratch?


OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors took fans and foes alike on an incredible journey in their 109-86 win over the Sacramento Kings.

The game had everything; a listless and unfocused first two quarters, a Draymond Green ejection and a blistering third quarter.

The Warriors scored 42 points in the third frame with a 40-12 run over the last 10 minutes of the quarter. The run erased a three-point halftime deficit and created a stunning 24-point lead. Klay Thompson hit more shots (5-of-5 for 17 points) than the Kings combined (4-of-21).

The most exciting part about the Warriors are the bench collectively proving themselves Warrior fit.

This is doubly exciting because if the Warriors want to reconstruct last season’s trajectory but add on a win, Golden State will need a decent bench.

With potential Playoff competitors, Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets harboring exceptional benches, these new Dubs will have to be good.

Which is exactly what they look like achieving having proved their worth in the last half of the Kings game.

The Warriors depth chart currently looks like this:

Source: ESPN.com

With Zaza Pachulia dealing with a strained rotator cuff, Klay Thompson complaining of heel soreness and of course Kevin Durant suffering a knee hyperextension during the Warriors loss to the Washington Wizards, the bench have, and will continue to get precious minutes on the court.

Kevon Looney

Thus far, Looney has rarely seen play time and is primarily a role player, but nailing it. He excels at passes to assist, spaces on floor, set picks and plays, which are all nuances of the role player.

Looney is currently posting an impressive 11.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks per 36.

Earlier this season, Nov. 4., against the Lakers, Looney reinforced his position in the Warriors list and proved he has the ability to crack the rotation, and caught the attention of Coach Steve Kerr.

“His best attribute is his rebounding,” Kerr said. “We all know he’s going to do that. We like his basketball IQ, his intelligence. He’ll get a chance to get out there, switch defensively, guard some different positions and blend in.”

His form was beyond impressive against the Kings posting five points (2-4 FG, 0-1 3pt, 1-2 FT), four steals, two rebounds and one assist in 16 minutes.

Those steals were a career high with Looney seeing double-digit minutes in seven consecutive games and proving himself an asset for the Warriors Ring campaign.

JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee had an absolute stunner of a game. He finished with 10 rebounds and 8 points for the Dubs after bringing extreme energy to the court after Draymond Green’s ejection. It did not go unnoticed.

“JaVale brought us energy in that second half. It was awesome to see,” Teammate Steph Curry told the media after the game.

McGee is averaging just 6.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 9.5 minutes, statistics that are all below his career averages.

Per 36 minutes, he’s managed 23.5 points and 11 rebounds.

Not the flashiest of numbers, but solid and his other attributes more than makeup for it.

In the nine games since Pachulia went down, McGee has averaged 9 points and 5.5 rebounds on .634% shooting.

His pace and size are obvious threats in transition and his incredible athleticism makes him dangerous in the half-court.

McGee isn’t ready for big minutes yet but he’s a solid player and has enormous potential to be a rotational powerhouse for the Warriors come Playoffs.

Andre Iguodala 

Being one of the more experienced on the Warriors bench, Andre Iguodala has had a rather illustrious career.

His career achievements include a twice naming in the NBA All-Defensive Team, an NBA Ring with the Warriors and named the NBA Finals MVP to boot. This season he is averaging a career low of 6PPG but leads the teams reserves in rebounding (3.9 per game) and assists (3.4 per game).

He has a plus-minus average of 6.6 which ranks second among NBA bench players with minimum 30 games and leads the league in assists per turnover. Iguodala additionally ranks eighth in steals per turnover.

Collectively, Iguodala has 175 assists, 47 steals, and only 35 giveaways.

Iguodala is invaluable as a bench/role player and has already proved his worth in Playoff series.

Patrick McCaw

The 21-year-old, was outstanding in the 109-86 win over Sacramento. He finished the night with four points, two rebounds, a steal, a block and an assist. A Draymond Green Combo to be envied.

Kerr could only describe the youngsters game as “amazing”.

“He had a tonne of deflections, he was all over the place and just seemed to be in the middle of every pay defensively”, Kerr said. “Even if his offensive numbers don’t show it, he had a huge impact on that game”.

McCaw saw his importance in the game and knew he had to bring a light to the court after Green’s dejection.

“I definitely had to bring energy and fill that void for Draymond, because he’s such an integral part of this team”, McCaw said. “If I’m just playing my game and being assertive, I think everything falls into place”.

McCaw has a low 41.6 field goal percentage and 35.0% beyond the arc. These statistics need to be addressed but at twenty-one, the guard will learn and soak up basketball IQ with every minute he plays.

With such star power in the starting roster, the bench has the potential to be lacking under salary cap restriction and play time, however, the 109-86 win over the Kings created a perfect opportunity for the bench to breakout and impress.

They impressed, and some, lifting energy, stats and hustle. 

With players like these on the bench, who needs the stars?

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