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Best case/worst case: Omari Spellman

The second-year big is a bit of an unknown entity for the Warriors.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

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. Next up is big man Omari Spellman. You can check out the other best case/worst case articles below:

Ky Bowman
Alec Burks
Willie Cauley-Stein
Marquese Chriss
Stephen Curry
Jacob Evans III
Draymond Green
Damion Lee
Kevon Looney
Eric Paschall
Jordan Poole
Glenn Robinson III
D’Angelo Russell
Alen Smailagić

Preseason stats

4 games, 4.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game

14.3% 2FG, 27.3% 3FG, 57.1% FT, 30.3% true-shooting

2018-19 stats (Hawks)

46 games, 5.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game

46.6% 2FG, 34.4% 3FG, 71.1% FT, 51.6% true-shooting

Role on the 2019-20 Warriors

There may be no player on the Warriors roster with a role as undetermined as Omari Spellman. It’s just impossible to know what kind of role he’ll have with the team this year.

Here’s the good that we know: Spellman was a player heavy on the Warriors radar in 2018, but they ultimately opted for Jacob Evans III instead; the Warriors traded for Spellman this summer, indicating at least some belief that he has upside; and Spellman has three-point shooting potential.

And here’s the bad we know: Spellman was unproductive as a rookie with the Atlanta Hawks; he came into camp heavier than the team would have liked; he didn’t play well in the preseason; and the Warriors didn’t seem too enticed by his preseason play.

Golden State is short on quality bench depth, but they’re not short on bench options. They can easily fill the 96 power forward and center minutes with Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Willie Cauley-Stein, Eric Paschall, and Marquese Chriss. Spellman will have to earn a role if he wants to play.

Best case scenario

The Warriors haven’t had many pick and pop options since Steph Curry became the weapon that he is. As a result, Spellman has drawn a lot of comparisons to the one that Golden State did have: Mo Speights.

Spellman shot 43.3% from three-point range in his one season at Villanova. That has yet to translate to the NBA, but then again, his career is still in its infancy. I mentioned the myriad bigs ahead of Spellman on the depth chart, but none of those players has an established three-point ball. What NBA team doesn’t have a single 4 or 5 who can shoot well? The Warriors might be the only one.

If Spellman can get his jumper up to around 38% from deep, he’ll get a lot of court time, just because his pick and pop floor stretching will be a major asset. That, then, is his best case scenario, along with good physicality inside, on both rebounds and defense.

Worst case scenario

I’m always uncomfortable talking about people’s weight, but these are professional athletes. Fitness is part of their job. Both Spellman and Steve Kerr have admitted that the second-year big man needs keep his weight down. These things, as you may know, are easier said than done.

If Spellman isn’t in good shape, he’ll have a hard time showing defensive effort. If he can’t show defensive effort, it’s hard to imagine Kerr giving him minutes outside of garbage time. And it’s hard to imagine his teammates being pleased with him.

The worst case scenario, then, is an unproductive bench player that frustrates more often than he actually plays.

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