The Golden State Warriors are a bit depleted now. Guard Stephen Curry has been cleared to resume non-contact activities after sustaining a concussion in Monday night’s win at Utah.
But that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Backup center Jermaine O’Neal is out with a cranky groin and reserve point guard Toney Douglas is sidelined with a stress reaction in his leg.
Put all of that together and it makes Coach Mark Jackson a bit more tentative about his bench, he told the San Jose Mercury News.
“When you go to your bench, the good teams either keep the game where it is or they increase the lead,” Jackson said. “What you don’t want is to be thinking, ‘I’ve got to get my starters back in there quick.’ That’s not getting the job done.”
The Warriors came into the season with two gigantic question marks about the bench: Replacing point guard Jarrett Jack, who signed with Cleveland as a free agent, and forward Carl Landry, who shuffled up I-80 to Sacramento.
Jack and Landry were key pieces to a second unit that helped Golden State push the Spurs to six games in the Western Conference semifinals last spring.
In Wednesday’s overtime loss to Memphis, the starters all played at least 43 minutes. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement from the coach.
But the bench has been in flux for most of the first three weeks of the regular season. Harrison Barnes missed the first four games and most of the preseason with a bad toe … and he’s in the starting lineup now with Curry out.
Center Festus Ezeli hasn’t played yet, exacerbating O’Neal’s injury issue.
The Warriors are 24th in the NBA in bench scoring at 25.5 points per game and 40.7 percent field goal shooting, according to hoopsstats.com, and are rated as 26th in the league in overall efficiency.
That’s not good.
Still, it’s hard to complain about an 8-4 start that has the Dubs leading the Pacific Division by a half-game over the Clippers. It’s just going to take some patience to get through the early going.
And some hopes for some speedy recoveries.