With the NBA season starting this week, we’re running through mini previews of the Golden State Warriors’ 16 players, focusing on what their best and worst case scenario is for the upcoming year. We get things started with Ky Bowman.
4 games, 2.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game
44.4% 2FG, 0.0% 3FG, 100% FT, 31.2% true-shooting
2018-19 stats (Boston College)
31 games, 19.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.4 steals per game
42.7% 2FG, 37.4% 3FG, 76.1% FT, 52.7% true-shooting
Role on the 2019-20 Warriors
Bowman has the unenviable task of playing the same role that Quinn Cook had in the 2017-18 season: Break glass in case of emergency.
The Warriors don’t envision using Bowman - an undrafted rookie signed to a two way contract - much. Bowman is a point guard, and the Warriors not only have the best point guard in the world, but start a second point guard at shooting guard. Steph Curry and D’Angelo Russell will likely stagger court time to fill all of the meaningful point guard minutes, with Jacob Evans III filling in as needed.
So Bowman’s role is to stay ready with the Santa Cruz Warriors, so that Golden State can rely on him if the team’s greatest fear comes true: A Curry injury.
Best case scenario
The best case scenario is that Bowman thrives in the G League, proving that he’s an NBA talent. Ideally the Warriors are involved in a few blowouts in the first weeks, as Santa Cruz’s season doesn’t start until November 8, meaning Bowman can stay with Golden State until then, without accumulating any time on his 45 days of NBA service time.
Given the Warriors case of injuries, there’s a decent chance Bowman will be one of the 13 active players for a few games, and could see some court time if the contest isn’t close. That would be good for him.
The Warriors hope to not have to rely on Bowman this year, but they’ll be a lot more comfortable if he shows out in the G League. It may give them the confidence to activate him a few times during the year so that they can rest Curry.
Worst case scenario
Bowman’s spot on the Warriors is the most tenuous of the 16 players on the roster. Two way contracts can be waived and signed with zero cap space repercussions, meaning that the hard cap won’t prohibit the Warriors from getting rid of him if they see a better option.
There’s a reason that the Warriors signed Bowman to a two-way contract - they obviously like him. But he didn’t perform particularly well during Summer League, and he didn’t play well in limited preseason minutes.
The word “limited” there is important, because Steve Kerr and Bob Myers didn’t make a goal of finding court time for Bowman, despite the outcome of the games not mattering. In the team’s five preseason games, the rookie saw just nine total minutes of action.
That means that Golden Sate isn’t planning on using Bowman this year, which makes his spot that much more in jeopardy.
So the worst case scenario is that Bowman continues his lack of impressive play, and is cut the first time a more interesting prospect arrives on the two-way market.