With the Golden State Warriors battered, bruised and—at least in one instance—suspended, the role of rookie point guard Nemanja Nedovic is getting ready to expand.
Nedovic is coming off a 31-point performance for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the D-League on Sunday night, playing 35 minutes, after logging just 60 in 11 games for Golden State in the early going.
But backup point guard Toney Douglas is still out with a stress reaction in his left leg and do-everything forward Andre Iguodala is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury.
Suddenly the pickings behind starting guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have gotten mighty thin. So the 22-year-old Serbian who was acquired in a draft night trade after being selected with the final pick of the first round by Phoenix in June might be called upon to do more.
With second-year guard Kent Bazemore showing himself to not be a viable option to run the offense, the ball may be in Nedovic’s hands.
“I don’t know if I will score 31 in a game,” Nedovic told the San Jose Mercury News. “But I hope it will translate. It was important for my confidence. It was important for me to get those minutes. I had fun.”
Coach Mark Jackson warned Nedovic it would be a slow transition to the NBA, that the plan for the Warriors was to slowly integrate the rookie into things.
But he’s moving up the depth chart in a hurry, playing a season-high 13 minutes in the loss to Portland Saturday night at Oracle Arena.
His shooting eye seems to be sharpening—he hit his only 3-point attempt against the Trail Blazers Saturday night and then went to Santa Cruz and nailed all four of his long-ball tries against the Austin Toros.
For the season he has 12 points, six rebounds and five assists in 11 games and is just 4-of-17 from the floor and 1-of-8 from 3-point land. But the one make was on his last attempt.
Something to build on as the Dubs head out on a four-game road trip to New Orleans, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Sacramento this week.