STEE-ZUS-WALKS and now the Dubs need a scorer off the bench or they might breakdown…
Maybe that Kanye reference was a bit melodramatic, but the Golden State Warriors are definitely in need of a scoring guard off the bench after allowing Jordan Crawford to leave in free agency. The team is very limited financially, restricted to offering players the minimum salary.
One intriguing prospect the team could take another look at is Seth Curry.
The Apple Doesn’t Fall Too Far from the Tree
Seth, younger brother to the Warriors’ Stephen Curry, regrettably went undrafted in 2013 after a solid senior year at Duke. Curry reportedly had a lingering issue with his right leg, which likely played a huge factor prior to the Draft as he was unable to perform workouts for teams.
Despite being one of the best players in the ACC that year, Curry’s lack of explosiveness and size also possibly contributed to teams passing over him in the Draft. He averaged 17.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the Blue Devils, shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from behind the arc.
While it’s true that Curry has jumped around the NBA early in his career, it’s not his production that has kept him from finding a home in the league; rather, teams have just been unwilling to commit to him long term as many lack financial flexibility and/or an available roster spot. His first stop was with the Warriors, who gave him a look during the 2013 preseason.
Although he was waived before the start of the regular season, the Warriors opted to send him down to the D-League to play extensively with their affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. He had small stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it was in Santa Cruz where he was truly able to shine. He averaged 19.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists on 43.7 percent shooting for Santa Cruz.
Lost in Translation
While Curry seems like a perfect fit for a bench shown to lack scoring, the one player that seems to be standing in his way is Nemanja Nedovic.
Nedovic, a 6-foot-4-inch guard out of Serbia, was selected with the 30th pick in 2013 by the Warriors. Known to scouts as the “European Derrick Rose,” he proved himself to be an incredibly explosive combo guard capable of making a difference on both ends of the court. He averaged 9.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 36.7 percent shooting from the field for the Euroleague’s Lietuvos Rytas.
Nedovic has been rather disappointing after being drafted, showing he has much to learn at the point guard position. He desperately needs to improve as an outside shooter, and his lack of floor vision has limited his abilities as a distributor. Although he has shown spurts of his elite athleticism and explosiveness, he has certainly not lived up to his nickname as the European Derrick Rose — unless of course you’re talking about how much time Nedo has spent injured on the bench.
But like Curry, Nedo’s problem doesn’t lie solely in his production: in the 15 games he played for Santa Cruz, Nedo averaged 14.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists on 40.0 percent shooting. If he could improve his basketball IQ and learn to be a better distributor, he could very well be the Golden State’s backup of the future. Until then, the team has been forced to suffer through his poor decisions on the court and proneness to injury.
Sharpshooting Seth Supports Suns Summer Squad
Both players are competing in their first Summer League season this year, with Nedo starting for the Warriors and Curry playing for the Phoenix Suns. The two teams met last Saturday evening, and the Warriors ended up keeping their Summer League winning streak intact with a 74-72 victory.
Nedovic, however, was not the best point guard on the court that day, as backup point guard Aaron Craft played with much more poise and aggressiveness. Nedo took some ill-advised shots, going 2-for-11 from the field and 0-for-5 from three-point territory. In fact, had Justin Holiday not caught Nedo’s air ball and thrown in the game-winning layup, the Warriors would have had their work cut out for them going into overtime.
Curry had only six points on 3-for-9 shooting in his 18 minutes on the floor against Golden State, but he was able to bounce back the following game against 2nd overall pick Jabari Parker and the Milwaukee Bucks. In 22 minutes, Curry contributed 26 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, 5-for-7 shooting from three. The Suns won the game 93-82, led by Curry’s amazing scoring performance.
Though both have only played two Summer League games in Las Vegas, take a look at their numbers so far:
Looking at this, it’s not difficult to see that Curry is without a doubt the better scorer, posting shooting numbers that are far more impressive than what Nedovic has done with four more minutes and two starts.
On the court, Curry always seems to be completely under control, looking to help his team in any way he can. He understands his role, and he sticks to just that. Curry also had a great outing with the Magic at the Orlando Summer League, posting averages of 9.8 points on 43.9 percent shooting.
Nedovic is the complete opposite, appearing erratic in transition and a bit lost in the half-court offense. He sometimes tries to do too much, such as when he decided a contested pull-up three to win the game was exactly what the team needed in a tie-game situation.
More Money, More Problems
Not having a first round pick of their own in 2013, the Warriors were able to purchase the 26th pick from Minnesota, subsequently cutting deals with OKC (29th) and Phoenix (30th) in order to move back to the last pick of the first round. What this did was it allowed Golden State to sign Nedovic to a lower scale rookie contract.
The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that the last pick of the 2013 draft is entitled to a first year salary of $880, 600.
First rounders are able to sign for as much as 120 percent or as little as 80 percent of that number. Per Spotrac.com, Nedovic’s signed a 2-year contract worth a guaranteed $2.16M. As with all first round prospects, he also has two additional years on his contract, both being team options worth worth about $2.23M total.
In other words, Nedovic has a guaranteed contract for at least another year, which contributes to the team’s salary cap and keeps the Warriors limited financially.
Had the Warriors bought into the second round instead and drafted Seth Curry, they would have been able to sign him for a much cheaper price with a much more flexible contract. They also would have had their much-needed bench scorer alongside someone like Shaun Livingston, with Curry possibly outplaying his contract like Draymond Green has done the past two seasons.
Nedo has done very little to demonstrate he’s worth the money Golden State is paying him. He has potential, but he’s been completely unable to refine his athleticism into skill. In the long run, Nedovic could turn into an exciting slashing backup worth a good deal of money. In the short run, he’s a burden to Golden State financially, which is exactly what they do not need right now.
Looking to fill out their roster, the Dubs not only require the services of another big man (preferably a stretch-four), but they also need another guard to provide scoring off the bench. With four guards already in rotation, adding a fifth guard into the mix wouldn’t hurt the team at all.
Nedovic has a great deal of growing to do before he becomes a reliable backup at the point. His understanding of the game will come with time and experience, but he’s still maybe two years away from being a serviceable NBA player. He’s not yet a reliable scorer off the bench, and the Warriors don’t need another project to worry about when they’re already in playoff contention.
Seth Curry is an ever-improving scorer off the bench. While the door is open for Nedovic to prove he’s improved since last year, Curry has shown time and time again to be the better overall player. He deserves a fair shot in the big leagues to prove he can be exactly what the Warriors need right now.
Do you think Seth could be a successful backup on the Warriors? Are there any other prospects the Warriors should take a look at before the start of the season? Leave a comment below!