Andre Iguodala has anchored the Golden State Warriors’ second unit for the last two seasons, and, despite losing some pieces, thinks Golden State’s bench has improved.
Adding Kevin Durant meant that the Warriors had to let some guys walk. Among them included Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa, Brandon Rush, and Marreese Speights. Alongside Iguodala, the Dubs held on to Shaun Livingston, and those two were huge pieces of the second unit puzzle.
Iggy told Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area that he thinks “our second unit will be better, actually” than last year’s.
The acquisition of Kevin Durant will make the second unit look better because Steve Kerr can run various lineups and always one of his four superstars on the floor.
Moreover, the Warriors didn’t lose when signing other free agents. Although, the guys they brought on won’t have the impact of the ones who left.
Aside from Durant, Zaza Pachulia and David West signed deals this summer with Golden State. Pachulia will be most likely replace Andrew Bogut as the starting center, and West will serve as one of the first guys right off the bench. He brings an interior presence and solid rebounding ability, so he’s not entirely impotent.
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Then there are the guys who saw sporadic minutes last year, but will need to step up big this year–I’m looking at you, Ian Clark and James Michael McAdoo. Those two, however, have proven they can contribute. It’s their consistency that’ll be tested this year.
Beyond those guys, it’s up in the air. Realistically, though, Kerr won’t need to go any deeper than eight or nine. Rookies Patrick McCaw and Damion Jones won’t see much time, but Kerr has been impressed with McCaw.
A dark horse contributor is JaVale McGee, but that’s if he makes the team. Everyone jokes about McGee not being the brightest guy in the NBA, but he’ll make plays if given a chance. His length and athleticism makes him a menace on defense and a fantastic rim protector and shot blocker.
Collectively, is the 2016-17 Warriors bench better than last year? I don’t believe so. And it looks like they’ll struggle offensively without one of the fantastic four out their with them.