Compromised by hard cap salary restrictions and an array of injuries to at least 75 percent of the roster, the Golden State Warriors are taking the 2019-20 NBA season off. Baring a dramatic turnaround, they can’t realistically compete for a playoff spot. They could try and even win some games here and there but for the most part, the Dubs are retooling for next season. Most of the active players are using this as an opportunity to audition for a place on next season’s roster.
With that being known, I thought of completing a series of stories throughout the season documenting the process of progress. With 15 games in, there is a nice sample size to track the progress of rookies Eric Paschall and Jordan Poole, two-ways Damion Lee and Ky Bowman, and young vets Omari Spellman and Alec Burke as they strive to solidify their place on next year’s roster.
F | 6’9” | 255 | Villanova
Season Stats: Points- 16.7
Shooting splits- 51.5 fg%/ 25.7 3p%/85 ft%
Paschall slipped to the 41st pick in the draft because his age (22 at the time) turned scouts off. But what they didn't take in account of is the fact that there is a “maturity” about Paschall’s game that’s helping his transition to the league. It’s why he has responded extremely well under the pressure of the Warriors’ current circumstances. Against the Blazers, Paschall exploded for 34 points after setting a previous career high of 25 against Charlotte. He also had a line of 30 points, seven rebounds, and two assist in the Dubs’ 108-100 loss to the Pelicans on Nov. 17th.
Strengths: Size and physicality. Paschall can muscle his way into the paint and score. He has a solid 10-15 ft jumper.
Weakness: Paschall has a habit of committing senseless fouls-especially offensive fouls. He also has yet to learn ‘NBA Gamesmanship in it’s entirety.’ This is what Draymond Green alluded to in his assessment of Paschall:
“Right now, he’s just scoring off raw talent. He really don’t know how to play the NBA game. As he figures out more and more the NBA game, how to get fouled, he’ll get better and better.”
What to look for: How Paschall will develop will be interesting. Could the Warriors use him as a three or a four? How much of the the NBA will he figure out as the season progresses?
G | 6’5”| 195 | Michigan
Season Stats: Points- 8.4
Shooting splits- 26 fg%/ 25 3p%/92 ft%
Poole’s first 15 games of his career have been rough. He has struggled immensely from the field and been relegated to the bench after a few rough starts in place of the injured Stephen Curry and D’Angelo Russell.
Strengths: Confidence. Regardless of how many shots he misses, Poole continues to stay aggressive and look for his shot. Everyone goes through slumps, but it’s how one reacts to the slump that determines success.
Weaknesses: Shot selection. While Poole is confident in his shot and in his range, his shot selection is much to be desired. He has to learn how to develop his awareness for a system that’s built on ball movement and taking the best available shot.
What to look for: What will it take for Poole to break out of his slump? Will he develop the awareness to take better shots in the system?
G-F | 6’5” | 210 | Louisville
Season Stats: Points- 10
Shooting splits- 38.5 fg%/ 34.3 3p%/84.8 ft%
Not really a newbie per se, but Lee’s a guy that’s been in the system for three years. Last season, on a two way deal, Lee spent more time in Oakland than Santa Cruz. In the offseason, he re-signed with the Warriors on another two-way deal. Lee was a steady and productive scoring option off of the bench until a hand injury sidelined him for two weeks.
Strengths: Solid shooter. Lee can be a viable option to get needed buckets off the bench. While he may seem to thrive when he shoots off the catch, Lee can put the ball on the floor and finish craftily.
Weaknesses: Lee tends to rush himself offensively. He also lacks court awareness. A great example his inbound pass late in the game against the Hornets. Lee also has a tendency to get lost on defense.
What to look for: The G League season is here which means that Lee and Bowman have 45 days in San Francisco and 45 in Santa Cruz. Both of these players are vying for a contract in Golden State. It is a possibility that the Warriors can waive a player to make room for either G-Leaguer. What will it take for Lee to state his case? Will he improve defensively? Is his offense enough?
G | 6’1” | 188 | Boston College
Season Stats: Points- 7.1
Shooting splits- 45.3 fg%/ 38.7 3p%/88.9 ft%
A feisty, undrafted Boston College product, it is said that Bowman plays basketball like a linebacker. It’s not a coincidence since he had various offers to play college football and even committed to play for the University of North Carolina before giving it all up for basketball. Bowman has impressed with his effort on defense.
Strengths: Bowman hustles. He tries on defense and he’s not afraid to mix it up with anybody.
Weaknesses: Bowman could make make more of his minutes offensively, and he could look for his own shot more often than he does.
What to look for: Bowman like Lee is on a two way contract. How could Bowman state his case for the Warriors to sign him for the long term? What separates him from Lee?
F | 6’8 | 245 | Villanova
Season Stats: Points- 6.4
Shooting splits- 39.2 fg%/ 25 3p%/76.7 ft%
Spellman hustled his way from an immature but serviceable big to a guaranteed contract. Since the Warriors picked up his option on Oct. 31st, Spellman rewarded the team with his hustle. The Warriors are tied for 12 in the league in offensive rebounding and Spellman has a lot to do with that. He’s averaged 2.7 in 15 minutes per game. Before Sunday’s game against the Pelicans, Spellman led the league in offensive rebounding percentage (19.1)
Strengths: Spellman hustles and provides rebounding to the Dubs. He also isn’t afraid to take the outside shot regardless of whether he makes it or misses it.
Weaknesses: Spellman’s issues with weight is well documented. To his credit, he has shed more than 40 pounds. Sometimes Spellman also gets lost on defense.
What to look for: Can Spellman remain focused and disciplined enough to continue to move up the depth chart? What kind of defensive adjustments will he make during the course of the season?
G | 6’6 | 214 | Colorado
Season Stats: Points- 14.8
Shooting splits- 43.7 fg%/ 37.2 3p%/89.7 ft%
With scoring nights of 28 23,20, and 29 over the past eight outings, Burks has solidified himself as the Warriors’ second best scorer available. He scored a season high of 29 points Tuesday night against Memphis and did it off of 9 of 15 from the field. He scored using post fadeaways. He was crafty in the paint and shot well from deep. Burkes’ output is the scoring that the Warriors have always wanted and needed in their rotation.
Strengths: Burks is a versatile scorer who can shoot off the dribble.
Weaknesses: Burks can give an ounce of effort on defense but is not a stopper.
What to look for: Can Burks commit to defense more? If he continues his offensive output, how will the Warriors make room for him beyond this year?