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Warriors Lose Preseason Finale, Raising Questions About Bench

The Warriors concluded the preseason on Thursday with a 90-74 home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Golden State survived the exhibition season with no major injuries to their key players. They began infiltrating new players into the fold and developing chemistry. But a major question has emerged.

Where will the Warriors get points off the bench?

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The holes left by guard Jarrett Jack and forward Carl Landry, both of whom signed elsewhere this summer, really stands out every time Golden State’s second unit checks in. They were reliable offense off the bench, Jack with his make-it-happen offense and Landry with his low-post game.

But none of the current back-up guards — Toney Douglas, Kent Bazemore or Nemanja Nedovic — look comfortable creating offense. And the Warriors are getting nothing inside from the bigs off the bench. Marreese Speights seems married to his midrange jumper, though he shoots it well, and Jermaine O’Neal can’t find a rhythm in the post.

Some of that will be alleviated with Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson on the second unit (probably Thompson for this very reason). But the offensive struggles figure to put added pressure on the starters.

With eight minutes left in the game and the Warriors down 17, Jackson put four of his starters back in the game because it was getting embarrassing. Portland ran off a 22-0 run in the third quarter as Golden State couldn’t throw a rock in the Bay from the bridge.

The Warriors finished with 33 percent shooting. They totaled 26 points in the second half. The only players in double figures were Stephen Curry (17) and Klay Thompson (16).

Especially for the early goings of the season, this could mean lots of minutes for the Warriors starters. Jackson said in a normal situation, he would keep at least one primary offensive player in the game with the second unit. But he may have to resort to mixing in one reserve with the starters.

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“It is somewhat of a concern, but not overly concerned,” Jackson said. “In a normal game, somebody would’ve been in there. (Someone with) a calming effect and not just a scoring mentality. Someone who can get us good looks and know when to stop the bleeding.”

Of course, starters were supposed to see a decline in minutes this year. The Warriors consider themselves even deeper than last season. But can the Warriors afford to go elongated stretches without scoring? Or have leads erased because they can’t stop other team’s runs?

“We’ve got guys coming off our bench that can fulfill a role,” Jackson said. “And we also went and got Andre (Iguodala) for that reason. So we’re not going to over-react. It is a process. … It’ll play itself out and we’re going to be fine.”

Marcus Thompson

  • PX

    Speights plays like DLee..both shoot mid range jumpers and cheap put backs. Can rebound though. He is just a more inexpensive version of the same player. Ws need a real post player.

    Iguodala needs to look for his shot more. Ws need all the offense they can get with this lineup sans Barnes and Lee.

  • DAVIS_over_AK47

    Speights will look like a horrible signing. Hard to believe he’s ever shot within 18ft. Green should not try to run offense like he’s done, that is a formula for 0 points. The second unit looks horrible, we may have to weaken our starting unit (taking Klay out) just to make our second unit look decent. Get used to seeing the starters getting subbed back in with 6 min left and a long periods of missed chucked jumpers (i.e. 4th qtr vs. Kings) if things don’t get worked out. Maybe I’m overreacting because it’s preseason, but then again it’s been like this all preseason and the next game is official.

  • Jarell JTruth Greer

    Overeact much?

    Check it. Yes the backups struggled. But take the 6th man out of any rotation and see hw good the bench is. The reason why im not worried is because everybody from the bench gave you exactly what they are supposed to. Toney gave great D and energy. Speights gave u hustle and jump shot. Oneal gave u a decent post presence. Etc. Without the 6th man, everyone is asked to play more of a role than they are qualified for at the moment.

    Also jermaine and toney douglas are way better than they have played. They’ll progress as the season goes.

    Also, even though the starters will rest some, the bench wont play as nearly as much as they did in the preseason. And they will hardly ever play that many becnch players all at once.

    Think about it. How often last year did you see jjack, landry bazemore ezeli and dreymond all together…barely ever.

    The point is that in preseason you want to see if guys can do what they are supposed to do. And for the most part I saw that. When you start asking role players to carry an offense for long periods of time, you’ll see struggles. You wont see that in the regular season.

    Yes a few players have to play a lil better. But the reason why we shouldn’t be worried is because we should know that they ARE better. And time will show that.

  • eastoaklandraider

    Warriors will be fine 50 plus wins. Book it.

  • leftcoast

    Maybe what they’re missing is Malone. Hope not.

  • Rob Montraix

    So the Warriors veteran bench can’t score and they get rid of Cammeron Jones who can score and play D, and Dedmond who had an exceptional preseason for his limited minutes. I don’t get keeping that 15th spot open for some imaginary player that may become available when we had a post player in Dedmond doing better than any big we had off of the bench

  • vr

    exactly. If you watched the games, the starting 5 was able to really close gaps and run up the score. They manufactured a 20 pt swing in the kings game, and cut the portland lead down to 7. The lineup changes were like hockey lines, not basketball subs.