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Warriors Season Preview: How will the small forward rotation shake out?

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As long as Andre Iguodala stays spry and healthy, the Warriors seem set at the small forward position.

NBA: Golden State Warriors-Media Day Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since he arrived in Golden State, Kevin Durant has given the Warriors an extra gear, getting buckets at will when Steve Kerr’s offense breaks down. Though is future here is uncertain, the Warriors cannot ask for much more from one of the greatest scorers of all time.

Behind him, there are questions about the Warriors’ depth, similar to their problems at the shooting guard position. Andre Iguodala played well in the playoffs last year, but his aging and injury concerns are difficult to dismiss. Other than him, Jacob Evans is the only other wing certain to be on the roster.

The Warriors would like to have wings who can contribute on both ends so they can play Kevin Durant and power forward and Draymond Green at center in the playoffs. If Andre Iguodala declines further or gets hurt this year, the Warriors could be in some trouble

Kevin Durant

KD averaged 34.2 minutes per game last year, and now at age thirty, would probably like to scale back a bit. Let’s lock him in for 33 minutes a game. Of course, come playoff time, he will once again have as heavy a workload as any player on the Warriors due to his versatility and instant offense. Because of the roster skew towards bigs instead of wings, Durant will spend most of his time at the 3 this regular season, with some more time at power forward during the postseason.

Andre Iguodala

Despite a terrible regular season, Andre Iguodala proved how valuable he is to the Warriors in the playoffs, where his defensive pressure and offensive playmaking stood out. The Warriors missed him when he was out with injury.

It goes without saying that the Warriors should decrease his minutes to keep him healthy this season. His 25.3 minutes per game last year could be decreased to around 21 minutes a game this year, spent mostly at the small forward position. If Iguodala is too old or too injured for the playoffs, the Warriors will have a difficult time replacing him.

Jacob Evans

Evans is probably a true shooting guard, but in today’s NBA, the two wing positions are largely interchangeable. Because of the lack of other wings, he’ll get playing time immediately (maybe 15 minutes a game, split between the two wing positions), but the real question is whether he’ll be in the rotation for the playoffs.

For a rookie, his odds are high: as long as he is merely adequate on both sides of the ball, he’ll be a fine piece of the rotation. I think he’ll end up being a good defender, though it might not come quite together in his first year. Because of the other stars on the Warriors’ roster, Evans won’t be expected to create his own shots, but he will be expected to hit open threes. Since Evans was merely an average shooter in college with a shorter three-point-line, this could prove difficult—otherwise, he won’t be any type of threat on offense.

If Patrick McCaw returns, he’ll spend time at the three as well, where he excelled in the 2016-2017 season. As mentioned in the shooting guard rotation preview, the Warriors have some wings on their training camp roster: Alfonzo McKinnie, Danuel House Jr., Damion Lee, and Marcus Derrickson could all play the 2 or 3 in Kerr’s system. If McCaw does not end up in a Warriors’ uniform this year, expect one of them to make the final roster. The depth at small forward isn’t a big concern unless Andre Iguodala cannot play good basketball in the postseason, whether through age or injury. If so, somebody from the margins will have to prove themselves on the biggest stage.