That isn’t the worst fall-back plan. Landry, in his fourth playoffs, represents one of Golden State’s most experienced players.
“I’m not David Lee. I’m not an All-star. I don’t average 20 points and I don’t average 12 rebounds per game. But I can pick up some of the weight that was lost.”
Landry proved to be a coup for Warriors management. General manager Bob Myers pulled off the improbable signing late in the summer, inking Landry to a two-year deal worth $8 million (with a player option for next season). But Landry can etch himself and Myers into Warriors’ lore with a big performance in place of Lee.
Such is even more likely if Landry gets back to the inside game that helped lead the Warriors into the playoffs.
The sixth-year forward became a fan favorite with his productive inside game, which Golden State fans hadn’t seen in years. But somewhere along the line, Landry gradually shifted into a jump shooter. On the radar of defenses, Landry’s been facing traps and thwarted by longer defenders.
The result has been a lot of midrange jumpers.
‘Teams have put (longer defenders) on him so that’s been the thing he’s been able to get,” coach Mark Jackson said. “And defenders are backing up when he catches the ball, so that’s what they’re giving him. He’s a jump-shooting big man also. He can post up, but one of the main weapons he has is his ability to make that midrange jumper. I’m fine with that.”
But this is the playoffs, where outside shots are harder to make. The Warriors need that other Landry, the low-post guru who gets buckets in the paint.
The first two months of the season, Landry gave the Warriors a dynamic inside presence. He used an array of post moves to get baskets or get to the free throw line.
Over the first 31 games of the regular season, Landry averaged 12.5 points on 52.9 percent shooting. He attempted 143 free throws, usually a sign of him going to work inside.
But in the last 50 games, he’s only taken 130 free throws, part of the reason his production declined to 9.7 points (54.7 percent) between January and February.
By the end of the season, more than 20 percent of Landry’s shots came form 16 feet or deeper.
On the season, Landry made 40.6 percent of his jumpers. On every other type of shot, Landry shot 67.4 percent.
His jumper wasn’t falling in Game 1, missing four his five mid-range shots. But he had some success going inside despite the presence of lengthy athletic center JaVale McGee. Twelve of Landry’s 14 points came from inside the paint.
Landry said he’s been working on his midrange to make defenses pay for leaving him open. But he’s also ready to get inside and make things happen.
“I will just take what the defense gives me,” Landry said. “I’m very comfortable. Been in the league for a while now. It’s nothing new to me.”