After losing a key cog to their bench in Carl Landry, the Golden State Warriors looked to more than one option as viable replacements. They settled on a pair of guys who together may be able to more than make up for the loss of Landry.
PF/C-Marreese Speights (19.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg per 36)
The Warriors decided that Carl Landry wasn’t worth the $26 million over four years that the Sacramento Kings offered him and instead decided to sign Speights away from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although Landry’s per 36 stats are slightly less impressive than Speights’
(16.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 0.6 bpg) Landry fit extremely well in the Warriors system replacing David Lee off the bench. Speights has largely been a guy who can be relied on to get some good stats, but doesn’t necessarily offer any spark or high energy off the bench. Landry’s per 36 numbers in the playoffs were even better at 20.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 0.3 bpg while replacing David Lee who was injured for the majority of the two series’.
Speights’ defense is a bit of a mixed bag. He’s an inch taller than Landry, and he blocks a considerable amount more shots than Landry, yet he’s slower and less athletic than Landry, making it a little more difficult to rotate after screens and defending the pick and roll.
C- Jermaine O’Neal (15.9 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.7 bpg per 36)
Assuming he can stay healthy for the entirety of a season (don’t count on it: the last time he played in more than 55 games in a season was the 2009-10 campaign) O’Neal is a nice addition and definitely an upgrade over Andris Biedrins who got dumped to the Utah Jazz. O’Neal will be able to offer Andrew Bogut some valuable rest in short stretches without too much of a drop off in productivity. O’Neal isn’t much of a scoring option, but the Warriors possess one of the most dynamic offenses in the NBA so adding a backup posterior defender seemed to be a priority this offseason.
The health of O’Neal is the main concern. The Suns are known to have some of the best trainers in the NBA in terms of keeping guys healthy and/or getting them back after an injury, and it seemed like that helped him last year as he averaged 18 minutes played over 55 games and four starts. The Warriors are hoping that he will stay healthy, allowing their bench some flexibility.
Losing Carl Landry isn’t ideal, but the additions of Speights and O’Neal should be able to more than make up for his absence without the price tag that Landry comes with.