Defining roles: Warriors' 2017-18 player previews
Monte Poole's roster breakdown
The drive for the first back-to-back NBA championship in Warriors history begins this month. Barely three months after drawing more than a million people to a parade through the streets of Oakland, the Warriors reconvene on Sept. 22.
After GM Bob Myers completed construction on the team's roster, let's take a look at all 19 of the team's players entering Media Day -- only 15 of which will remain when the season opens on Oct. 17.
Player: Jordan Bell
Height/weight: 6-8, 225.
Age (opening day): 22
Salary: $816K (first year of two-year pact at $2.19M)
2016-17 Review: Bell started 38 of 39 games at Oregon, averaging 10.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. Extrapolated over 40 minutes, those numbers rise to 15.2, 12.2 and 3.1. He led the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds, total blocks and defensive rating for the second consecutive season.
2017-18 Outlook: Bell’s high energy and athleticism, along with sheer selflessness, stood out in Summer League and projects to him having a productive role in the future. Though the rookie is bound to do some impressive things, particularly on defense, he’s still learning the nuances of the game. How quick will he learn? The expectation is he will spend time in both the NBA and the G-League.
Player: Chris Boucher
Height/weight: 6-10, 200
Salary: $75K (in G-League)/$816K (in NBA)
2016-17 Review: Boucher played in 31 of 39 games (12 starts) at Oregon, averaging 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and a Pac-12-best 2.5 blocks. Those numbers extrapolated over 40 minutes bump up to 20.0, 10.3 and 4.3. His season ended on March 10 when he sustained a torn ACL in his left knee during the conference tournament.
2017-18 Outlook: A “two-way” contract allows for no more than 45 days in the NBA, so Boucher will spend the season completing rehabilitation and, once cleared, begin participating at the G-League level. It is not likely that he will see significant playing time in the NBA.
Player: Omri Casspi
Height/weight: 6-9, 225.
Salary: $2.1M (one-year contract)
2016-17 Review: Limited a strained right foot and later a fractured right thumb, Casspi played only 36 games for the Kings, Pelicans and Timberwolves. He averaged 5.2 points on 47.0-percent shooting, 34.9 percent beyond the arc while playing 17.9 minutes per game.
2017-18 Outlook: Casspi was signed to provide shooting off the bench, particularly from 3-point distance. He’s shooting 36.7 percent beyond the arc since entering the league in 2009. He reached double figures seven consecutive times during one seven-game stretch last season, averaging 17.8 points and scoring 20 or more points on three occasions. Casspi is an offensive upgrade over Matt Barnes.
Player: Stephen Curry
Height/weight: 6-3, 190.
Salary: $34.7M (first year of five-year pact worth $201.16M).
2016-17 Review: After spending a couple months subjugating his offensive aggression to accommodate the addition of Kevin Durant, Curry found himself over the final four months and posted yet another banner year. His numbers dropped, as expected, but he still averaged 25.3 points, 6.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds. And, of course, Curry’s 324 3-pointers were tops in the league.
2017-18 Outlook: Having earned the largest contract in league history, Curry’s significance to the Warriors -- and the NBA -- is well established. He has nothing to prove. But Steph wouldn’t be Steph if he didn’t create a cause for himself. He seeks out slights, and they’re not hard to find -- even if he’s on course to become just the eighth player to make 2,000 3-pointers, and well before his 30th birthday.
Player: Kevin Durant
Height/weight: 6-9, 240.
Salary: $25M (first year of two-year deal worth $51.25M, with second year player option).
2016-17 Review: His move from the Thunder to the Warriors stirred the NBA pot. There was drama and animosity and a major adjustment for Durant, as well as his new teammates. Through it all, he crushed it, averaging 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds (career high), 4.8 assists and 1.6 blocks (career high). He shot a career-best 53.7 percent from the field. Despite missing 20 games, Durant was the team’s best player. He put a stamp on that by going out and earning the trophy for NBA Finals MVP.
2017-18 Outlook: The Warriors would be pleased if Durant posted numbers similar to those of last season. Yet there is reason to believe he can improve on the spectacular. The adjustment is complete and he has full license to swagger. He wants to be more of a factor on defense, and the Warriors would be delighted with that.
Player: Antonius Cleveland
Height/weight: 6-6, 195.
Salary: $816K (not guaranteed).
2016-17 Review: Rangy and with the ability to get to the hoop, Cleveland spent last season as a senior at Southeast Missouri State, averaging 16.6 points per game and shooting 38.4 percent beyond the arc. He was not drafted but participated in Portland’s Vegas Summer League team.
2017-18 Outlook: Cleveland is getting an invitation to camp so the Warriors can have a look at yet another wing. He’s hoping to gain positive exposure in hopes of receiving a G-League contract.
Player: Michael Gbinije
Height/weight: 6-7, 200.
Salary: $1.31M (one-year deal, not guaranteed)
2016-17 Review: The Syracuse product spent most of the season with D-League Grand Rapids, playing only 32 NBA minutes as a rookie in Detroit. He was sidelined for most of January with a bone bruise in his left forearm.
2017-18 Outlook: It’s highly unlikely that Gbinije makes the final roster. His best chance is if he impresses and one of the rotational wing players sustains serious injury. He’s more likely to land on a G-League squad.
Player: Draymond Green
Height/weight: 6-7, 230.
Salary: $16.4M (third year of five-year pact worth $82M).
2016-17 Review: Green’s scoring/rebounding dropped (10.2 and 7.9 per game), as expected, other elements of his game were as good or better than the previous season. He led the team in assists (7.0 per game) and posted career-highs in steals (an NBA-best 2.03 per game) and blocks per game (1.38). Green nabbed his first Defensive Player of the Year award and his second consecutive All-Star berth.
2017-18 Outlook: Green will continue to be the team’s most valuable defensive presence, generally defending all five positions as if his life were at stake. He’ll want to improve his field-goal percentage (41.8, 30.8 beyond the arc) but clearly understands he’s the team’s fourth scoring option. After a no-drama summer, Green is poised to continue his maturation and further validate his status as one of the league’s most effective leaders.
Player: Andre Iguodala
Height/weight: 6-6, 215
Salary: $14.81M (first year of three-year pact worth $48M)
2016-17 Review: Iguodala was a stabilizer on defense. But he quietly had his most efficient offensive season, averaging 7.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, shooting a career-best 52.8 percent while leading the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.5). His 36.2-percent shooting from deep was his best since 2011-12, when he was a member of the 76ers. Iguodala’s walk-year performance made him a finalist in the Sixth Man of the Year voting and was key in convincing the brain trust re-sign him at a salary higher than they had hoped.
2017-18 Outlook: Having earned what likely will be his final substantial contract, expect Iguodala to continue in his role as the man most likely to keep his teammates grounded. His effectiveness is best defined more by the success of the team than the individual. When the Warriors are at their sharpest, Iguodala will be one of the primary reasons. The key question as he enters his 14th season is whether he can stay healthy and maintain his sneaky-lethal bounce.
Player: Damian Jones
Height/weight: 7 feet, 245
Salary: $1.31M (second year of two-year pact worth $2.48M)
2016-17 Review: Jones played a total of 106 NBA minutes (including postseason) as a rookie, as his only significant playing time came with the D-League team in Santa Cruz. A very good athlete, Jones was a study in highs and lows in the D-League, which is why the Warriors consider him an ongoing project.
2017-18 Outlook: The Warriors would like to see an accelerated upward trend. To achieve that, Jones will have to maintain a high energy level while also improving his court awareness, touch around the basket, and become more consistent with his defensive fundamentals.
Player: Shaun Livingston
Height/weight: 6-7, 192
Salary: $7.69M (first year of three-year pact worth $23.69M, third year partially guaranteed).
2016-17 Review: Livingston excelled in his role as a backup point guard also able to generate his own offense, usually with a high-release turnaround jumper. He averaged 5.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists over 17.7 minutes per game. Moreover, he shot a career-high 54.7 percent from field, hitting at least 50 percent in 55 of the 76 games in which he played.
2017-18 Outlook: Given his injury history, Livingston is best suited to come off the bench for 15-18 minutes to post up defenders and make midrange shots. Expect his role to remain the same, providing stability and shooting a high percentage. The primary reason Livingston re-signed mere minutes into free agency is because both he and the Warriors realize he is a perfect fit.
Player: Kevon Looney
Height/weight: 6-9, 220.
Salary: $1.47M (third year of three-year contract worth $3.55M with a team option for 2018-19.)
2016-17 Review: Playing in 53 games, totaling 447 minutes, Looney averaged 2.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, shooting 52.3 percent from the field. He was a healthy non-participant in 20 games and missed the final two weeks of the regular season and the entire postseason with a hip strain. He failed to make an impression that would warrant more playing time.
2017-18 Outlook: The Warriors selected Looney in the first round of the 2015 draft realizing he was physical risk. He has since had surgery on both hips and has yet to gain a fluid stride. The Warriors have been patient but quietly wonder if Looney’s body can withstand the demands of the NBA. He is not a lock to be on the opening day roster.
Player: Patrick McCaw
Height/weight: 6-7, 185
Salary: $1.31M (second year of two-year deal worth $1.85M)
2016-17 Review: A second-round pick purchase in 2016, McCaw quickly proved that, despite his rail-thin frame, he belongs in the NBA. Playing 71 games, he averaged 4.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists, shooting 43.8 percent. The rookie impressed with his smarts and composure, persuading the Warriors to give him 20 starts in the wake of injuries to others.
2017-18 Outlook: McCaw played well in Vegas Summer League and has continued to work on his game over the summer. Having gained a valuable year of experience, his goal will be to earn more minutes by improving his scoring and defense. This season is about determining if McCaw can be the heir apparent to Andre Iguodala.
Player: JaVale McGee
Height/weight: 7 feet, 270.
Salary: $2.12M (one-year contract)
2016-17 Review: Signed to non-guaranteed contract less than two weeks before training camp, McGee revived his career. After missing four of the first 11 games, he gradually made his way into the rotation and was a difference-maker off the bench, averaging 6.1 points (on 65.2 percent shooting) and 3.2 rebounds over 9.6 minutes per game.
2017-18 Outlook: Unable to sign a lucrative long-term deal with another team, McGee returned to the familiar environment of Warriors. With one full year in the system, it is expected that McGee could be even better in providing production and game-changing impact.
Player: Georges Niang
Height/weight: 6-8, 230.
Salary: $1.31M (non-guaranteed).
2016-17 Review: A second-round pick (50th overall) of the Pacers in 2016, the Iowa State product played a total of 93 minutes over NBA 23 games while splitting time between Indiana and D-League Fort Wayne.
2017-18 Outlook: An undersized power forward, Niang signed in August as the team sought to fill out its camp roster. He has very little chance of making the team. If he flashes well, though, the team might look to sign him to a G-League deal.
Player: Zaza Pachulia
Height/weight: 6-11, 275
Salary: $3.48M (one-year contract).
2016-17 Review: Pachulia was signed to be the fifth and final member of the starting lineup, serving as steady and selfless muscle amid his lithe teammates. He generally met that request, averaging 6.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 18.1 minutes per game. He led the team in offensive rebounds and his 6.0 plus/minus led all NBA centers.
2017-18 Outlook: Having spent a full season in the system, Pachulia should be at least as good as he was before. There should be fewer glaring errors and more instances when he can contribute beyond setting rugged screens. If his defensive synchronicity with Draymond Green improves, the Warriors will be ecstatic.
Player: Klay Thompson
Height/weight: 6-7, 215
Salary: $17.83M (third year of four-year deal worth $69.98M)
2016-17 Review: Though he averaged 22.3 points, boosting his scoring average for the fifth year in a row -- and joined teammate Stephen Curry as the only two players to post five consecutive seasons with at least 200 triples -- Thompson’s shooting percentages, across the board, took a slight dip. He was an All-Star for the third straight year and his 60-point game against Indiana was a highlight of the season.
2017-18 Outlook: That his defense is a constant makes him a sublime backcourt partner to Curry. As hard as it is to imagine Thompson improving his scoring average for a sixth straight year, he’s coming off his poorest offensive postseason and will look to bounce back. Expect him to make more of an effort to get to the free-throw line for easy buckets.
Player: David West
Height/weight: 6-9, 250.
Salary: $2.33M (one-year deal).
2016-17 Review: Signed to a minimum deal before the season, West spent the first few weeks struggling to get his footing among his new teammates. He eventually found himself and became a productive playmaker off the bench, with 13 games of at least four assists. He averaged 4.6 points (on 53.6-percent shooting), 3.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists over 12.6 minutes.
2017-18 Outlook: Having received the gratification that comes with earning his first championship in the twilight of his career, West decided to return in search of another. He’ll be a strong, mature presence on and off the court. The Warriors will ask nothing more than what West gave last season, and having made the adjustment, he should be able to deliver.
Player: Nick Young
Height/weight: 6-7, 210
Salary: $5.19M (one-year deal).
2016-17 Review: In his fourth and final season with the Lakers Young played in 60 games (all starts), averaging 13.2 points over 2.3 rebounds 25.9 minutes. He took four times as many 3-pointers as 2-pointers, shooting 40.4 percent beyond the arc with an effective field-goal percentage of 56.4, the best of his career.
2017-18 Outlook: Despite his image as a free spirit, the Warriors thought enough of Young to add him to the roster. They believe he’ll adapt to their locker room. His length, savvy and deep shooting range make him an upgrade over Ian Clark. Young directly addresses the need for bench scoring, one of the few areas where the Warriors were weak.