It was well known that the Golden State Warriors needed to find a way to improve their bench production. They were rumored to be looking into names like Kyle Lowry, Andre Miller and Kurt Hinrich. However, the Warriors chose to pull the trigger on two players who could potentially have a big impact on the team with Jordan Crawford and Marshon Brooks.
The trade was a three team deal that also included the Miami Heat as well as the Boston Celtics who provided the Warriors with the two players. Crawford will step into the spot of backup point guard that was occupied by Toney Douglas, who was traded to the Miami Heat as part of the trade. Crawford will most likely take on a role similar to what Jarrett Jack played last year; be a scorer for the bench unit and then play the point guard spot with the starters and allow Stephen Curry to play off the ball where he’s even more deadly.
Assuming that Crawford works out the way the Warriors hope, they could very well be of the top four teams to beat in the Western Conference if the bench production improves even a little bit. Crawford isn’t an extremely efficient player. He’s a career 40 percent shooter and is shooting 31 percent this year. But he should be more efficient with the Warriors because he wont be asked to do to much. Another thing on Crawford is he hasn’t been a great locker room personality according to several sources, but the Warriors feel that won’t be a problem because Crawford will be winning and the Warriors have an extremely strong locker room presence to keep him in line if he acts up.
The next player, Marshon Brooks, is an interesting case. He was drafted 25th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the then New Jersey Nets and averaged nearly 13 points per game. He actually outscored fellow 2011 draftee and now teammate Klay Thompson that year 12.6 to 12.5. However, he’s failed to live up to the hype surrounding him after his rookie season. From being a bench player, playing sparingly and going to the D league it’s been a struggle for Brooks the last year and a half. Maybe a change of scenery will do him well, because scoring 13 points per game in the NBA is hard enough as it is, let alone as a rookie, so the potential is still there. He will certainly get a chance to shine with the Warriors.
Even though the Warriors pulled off these two trades, GM Bob Myers hinted that the team might not be done with changing their roster. When talking to reporters Wednesday night after the Warriors/Nuggets shootout he said “ Nobody is sitting back and saying, Well we’re done now. We did our jobs. Let’s see what happens.” That’s obviously not indicating anything imminent, but he left the possibility open.
Now that the Warriors have at least temporarily addressed their bench issues there are still two things that they need to improve on. The first is free throw shooting. The Warriors remain toward the bottom in free throw shooting ( 23rd at 73.4 percent)which doesn’t make sense considering how good they are as a team shooting the ball. A bigger problem remains which is turnovers. The Warriors are 29th out of 30 teams in turnovers per game with right around 17 per game. That’s a number that needs to decrease if they want to get to the Western Conference Finals or further which is very possible.
The Warriors took an obvious step forward toward improving their team by getting two key bench players. The Warriors also have two players coming back from injuries. Jermaine O Neal and Festus Ezeli plan to return in a few weeks and help out the bench as well. If everything goes as planned Mark Jackson will have some shuffling to do as far as what the rotation will be for the rest of the year, but it’s better to have too many quality bench players than not enough.
With this trade the Warriors are trending upward in the Western Conference and should only continue to make up ground as the season goes on.