The Warriors were looking for four attributes from whoever they signed as the back-up power forward spot. They wanted an asset, something with value (basically, talent at a good price). They wanted a veteran to bring experience to their young team. They wanted someone who would improve the toughness profile. They wanted someone who could defend.
Landry at $8 million over two years is pretty good value. If he plays well, he could be a guy who commands at least the mid-level most years. And the fact that his deal is only two years makes him even more attractive as a trade commodity.
He’s been in the league for five years, playing for three teams. He has 25 playoff games under his belt (15.4 minutes per), twice making the postseason with Houston and once with New Orleans.
Toughness? Well, on March 17, 2009, Landry was shot on in his left calf. Three weeks later, he was back on the court and said he could’ve played sooner if they had let him. Later that year, in December, he had his two front teeth knocked out by a Dirk Nowitzki elbow. Landry missed one game.
“If you want toughness,” Landry said, “I’m the guy you’re looking for.”
As far as his defense, Landry said he’s a better defender than he gets credit for, his offense just usually shine brighter.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said he believes Landry has the tools to play defense. He said you know Landry (a career 53.5 percent shooter) isn’t soft because he lives in the paint on offense. And he’s known for playing hard. Those attributes, the Warriors hope, translate to the defensive end.
Even still, Myers said, the Warriors would live with it considering Landry’s talent, production and cost.
“He makes too much sense rather than going to get a guy who just brings a defensive presence,” Myers said. “The skill set that Landry brought was too good to pass up.”
Landry said he wasn’t concerned about minutes. It would make sense that he wanted to go to a place with minutes to give. But with the Warriors, Landry will be behind Lee, who averaged 37.2 minutes per game last season. That figures to leave Landry — who hasn’t averaged fewer than 20 minutes since his rookie season — with about 11 minutes.
But Landry said he can play center, and even play some small forward.
“I’m just a guy that’s going to compete,” Landry said. “At the end of the day, if you average 20 points a night and lose, nobody’s going to look at that. … I’m all about winning. If I get 30, I get 30. If I don’t, I don’t. At the end of the day, as long as I contribute and we win, that’s what it’s all about.”
* Rush, who wound up accepting less money than he thought he would get after his breakout season, said he isn’t ready to just accept less minutes, too.
“I’m coming in trying to get that starting job at (small forward),” he said. “I’ve been working hard the entire summer to build up on that.”
Rush, listed at 6-foot-7, showed he can hold his own defending small forwards. And no doubt he can shoot it. The question is how well can he be a playmaker. What the Warriors need from the small forward spot is someone who can create off the dribble and find teammates. I think Rush is better at getting to the rim than he might have let on last season. But you have to wonder about his passing.
Rush said he’s been working all summer on his post-game and his pick-and-roll game. Coach Mark Jackson is going to run a lot of pick-and-rolls. Some times, he’s going to want the SF to be able to run the pick-and-roll so Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can spot up on the wings. Whoever it is, he has to be able to find the shooters out of that situation or create offense while the floor is spread.
The Warriors don’t have to have the small forward do that. But that would be ideal. Otherwise, his option is to put Jack in there with Curry and Thompson. If Rush can do that, it would help his cause.
He has three things working against him, though: Richard Jefferson, Harrison Barnes, and Mark Jackson’s comfort with Rush coming off the bench.
On a winning team, Rush could possibly find himself in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year if he plays as well as he did last season. You’re willing to give that opportunity up?
“For a starting job, yeah,” Rush said with a laugh. “If it all comes down to it, I’d love to be a Sixth Man, too. That would be a great award.”
* Myers addressed the tax situation as well. He confirmed the Warriors are over the tax. However, it’s not a big deal at this point. The penalty for being over the tax isn’t levied until the last day of the season. So the Warriors have until the trade deadline to get under the tax and avoid the penalty if they so choose. But Myers said ownership has not given him a mandate to get under the tax and avoid the penalty.
“The one mandate that has been placed on myself and the group was to win. Clearly. That’s the one thing I know.”
Myers said management had daily conversations about the tax. He said every time he asked co-owner Joe Lacob about going over the tax, Lacob was on board if it was worth it. The conclusion was that the opportunity to get both Landry and Rush was worth it.
“We did it for a purpose. We are into the tax, but we have flexibility. We can go deeper into the tax if we want to. We can find ways to get out. We’ll keep our eye on that. It will probably depend on how we’re doing.”