The Golden State Warriors are slowly creeping their way up to the top of the NBA. They have a solid core of guys featuring Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee, and several others.
Much of their success last season can be credited to their stellar bench production. The Warriors had guys like Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry who were able to check into the game and provide the immediate spark off the bench that the team needed. And if a starter went down, they were always there to fill in and play the starting role.
Jack averaged 12.9 points per game while dishing out 5.6 assists per game as part of his strong backup point guard role. Landry was able to score 10.8 points per game and grab 6.0 rebounds per game last season while playing in all but one game of the regular season.
These two were clearly the best bench players for Golden State, but the truth is that both of them will likely not be returning to the team. Landry has already opted out of his $4 million player option and has become a free agent, while Jack has yet to make a decision of who he will be playing for next season.
Sure, they both may end up returning to the team, but since nothing is guaranteed in the NBA, let’s just assume that they don’t return. Will Golden State’s bench production drop next season?
The obvious answer is yes. Jack and Landry are both veterans in the NBA that could start on a number of teams around the league, and the market now should present them with that kind of money.
The Warriors will definitely miss Jack’s playmaking ability and his leadership and tough demeanor that he brings to the court each and every night. They also won’t be too happy about losing Landry and his ability to knock down the midrange jumper on a consistent basis, while also being able to snag rebounds and bang down low with some of the NBA’s finest big men.
But what fans need to realize is that Golden State will be getting back one of their key bench players that they had to play without last season: Brandon Rush.
Rush, who tore his left ACL in the team’s opener last year, should be back by training camp and will instantly make the team better. He is a team player who can block shots and knock down three-pointers consistently. Pair that with his lengthy body frame and solid athleticism and you’ve got a legitimate Sixth Man of the Year candidate.
Look, losing Jack and Landry could be killer for the Warriors, but with Rush coming back and the emergence of young guys like Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli, and Kent Bazemore, the young Oakland-based team should not be too concerned.