The Golden State Warriors, to the dismay of their opposition, keep finding new weapons to employ in battle and Marrees Speights has become their latest weapon of choice.
In a year where critics have openly suggested the Golden State Warriors greatness as somehow tainted the NBA season, by making it too predictable. Great so-called predictors of the future, such as Nostradamus, couldn’t have foreshadowed the electricity and gripping anticipation these two-words, “Mo-Buckets,” creates inside the greatest home court in the NBA, Oracle Arena.
Marreese Speights has transformed himself from a little used big-man, whose playing time fluctuated more than the Dow-Jones, into a vital member of one of the best second units in the NBA. Speights has been riding this new wave of success for a few weeks, and has given the Warriors a much-needed boost off the bench, in the absence of Andre Iguodala, who has been sidelined with a left ankle sprain, for the last couple weeks.
March has been Speights’ most productive month. Mo Buckets is averaging 9.6 points per game and shooting 50.9 percent from the field, during the Month known for its “Madness.”
In the past, Speights inability to gain Steve Kerr‘s trust on the defensive end of the court kept him out of the regular rotation. Kerr knew Speights had one of the best mid-range strokes for a big man in the association, but he also knew of Speights’ knack for losing concentration when the ball wasn’t in his hands, making it extremely difficult for Kerr to give the 28-year-old minutes in “crunch time.”
Steve Kerr realizes Speights isn’t going to bring to the table the shot-blocking ability of a Andrew Bogut, or the athleticism of a Festus Ezeli, but he has noticed the defensive intensity rise in Speights’ game lately.
“He’s picked it up. Yeah, he’s made some big plays for us, hustle plays, blocked shots. We challenged our whole team; we didn’t challenge guys individually, we just challenged everybody,” Kerr said of Speights to Tim Kawakami of the mercury news. “And I think Mo has done a good job taking that upon himself,” Kerr concluded.
The “new” wrinkle in Speights’ game (Even though he will tell you it’s not new and he’s had it in his repertoire this whole time) is his new fondness for not only taking three-pointers, but making them. To put Speights recent three-point barrage in perspective, just look at the most recent boxscore versus the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, where Mo Buckets hit his 20th and 21st three-pointers of the season, surpassing the 19 he had during his first seven years in the NBA combined!
Over the last few years the best coaches in the World have been trying to formulate a scheme that could slow down the “Best Shooting Backcourt” in NBA history. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have shot their way into the NBA record books on more than one occasion, and have become the standard for shooting greatness in today’s NBA. But even the “Splash Brothers” would have to admit there is something special about watching “Mo Buckets” line up for a three, hit nothing but net, hear Oracle go crazy and see Speights give that little grin as he heads back on defense.