Amidst all of the craziness surrounding the NBA offseason so far, it’s nice to finally have basketball back (sort of). On July 11th, the Golden State Warriors’ Summer League squad will kick off their Summer League title defense against the Charlotte Hornets.
Without Summer League star Kent Bazemore and NBA super-sub Draymond Green on the roster, the Warriors will have their hands full defending the championship. More important than the Summer League championship though will be seeing how Steve Kerr handles his first run at coaching a near NBA talented team.
Given, only a small handful of these guys will find themselves on NBA rosters this season, it will be a small taste of what to expect from Kerr heading into the season. Kerr will, of course, implement bits and pieces of his offense into this team. Warriors fans who watch the Summer League should pay attention to the little things, like the ball movement and spacing, Kerr’s mannerisms on the sideline and control of the huddle, and make an initial judgment based on that.
Just make sure that the initial judgment is small. Don’t rush to bash the hiring and call the season a lost cause or don’t crown the actual Warriors NBA champs if the Summer League squad runs the table. Instead, focus on what the Summer League is really about, which is prospecting young talent for the 15-man roster.
A couple names to look out for outside of Ognjen Kuzmic and Nemanja Nedovic are Travis Bader (G, Ohio State), Orlando Johnson (G, UC Santa Barbara) and James Michael McAdoo (F, North Carolina).
The Warriors just brought in Shaun Livingston to be the backup point guard but Bader, the NCAA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made, would be an intriguing guy to keep around. You can never have enough shooting off the bench, and Bader would provide just that, and at a much cheaper rate than any available free agent.
Johnson and McAdoo both could find seats on the Warriors’ 15-man bench thanks to their size and athleticism, and the Warriors need of a wing player. Barnes and Green will provide quality of minutes off the bench, but a lot of that could be logged at power forward, so Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala will need a backup.
Johnson has played in 96 career games, and although his numbers have regressed since his debut in 2012, he could be counted on for about 10 minutes, a few buckets and decent defense.
McAdoo was a big name in high school and was often talked about as a top-10 pick as an AAU player. Underwhelming is probably an understatement in describing his tenure at North Carolina, but perhaps his game starts to come together at just 21 years young.
More than likely, only Kuzmic and Nedovic will grab roster spots and anyone else would be a surprise. The Warriors have a trade exception that is about to expire and not much cap room to work with, but expect them to fill out the roster by other means.
As for Festus Ezeli, the hope was that he would be healthy and ready to start the comeback trail in the Summer League but a shin injury has derailed any chance of that. Ezeli provides quality minutes for the Dubs with this latest injury, the Warriors will need to consider bringing in another center in the event Ezeli isn’t ready to go to start the season.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 2014 FREE AGENT MINI-CAMP ROSTER
|Name||Position||Height||Weight||Birthdate||College/From||Previous Team||NBA Experience|
|Travis Bader||G||6-5||190||7/2/1991||Oakland (MI)/USA||Oakland (MI)||R|
|Aaron Craft||G||6-2||195||2/2/1991||Ohio State/USA||Ohio State||R|
|Festus Ezeli||C||6-11||255||10/21/1989||Vanderbilt/Nigeria||Golden State Warriors||2|
|Kiwi Gardner||G||5-7||155||4/7/1993||Midland/USA||Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League)||R|
|Lance Goulbourne||F||6-8||225||4/6/1989||Vanderbilt/USA||Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League)||R|
|Justin Holiday||G||6-6||185||4/5/1989||Washington/USA||Szolnoki (Hungary)||1|
|Orlando Johnson||G||6-5||220||3/11/1989||UC Santa Barbara/USA||Sacramento Kings||2|
|Ognjen Kuzmic||C||7-0||251||5/16/1990||Bosnia & Herzegovina||Golden State Warriors||1|
|Rob Loe||F||6-11||245||8/5/1991||Saint Louis/New Zealand||Saint Louis||R|
|James Michael McAdoo||F||6-9||230||1/4/1993||North Carolina/USA||North Carolina||R|
|Tyrus McGee||G||6-2||205||3/14/1991||Iowa State/USA||Breogán (Spain)||R|
|Rodney McGruder||G||6-4||205||7/29/1991||Kansas State/USA||Atomeromu SE Paks (Hungary)||R|
|Nemanja Nedovic||G||6-3||192||6/16/1991||Serbia||Golden State Warriors||1|
|Christian Watford||F||6-9||232||4/28/1991||Indiana||Hapoel Eilat (Israel)||R|
|Mitchell Watt||F||6-10||225||12/14/1989||Buffalo/USA||Ironi Nes-Ziona (Israel)||R|