Jonas Jerebko

Jonas Jerebko very confident he can help Warriors in one specific area


Jonas Jerebko very confident he can help Warriors in one specific area

Their eternal search for a 3-point specialist from the bench brought the Warriors last summer to Nick Young and Omri Casspi, with Young's nominal impact and Casspi fading his way off the roster.

So the defending champs keep searching. The new guy, Jonas Jerebko, signed up last month and has the potential to deliver the best of what they received from Young and Casspi.

Jerebko’s physical fitness won’t be an issue, as was the case with Young.

And there is absolutely nothing to indicate the 31-year-old forward will have anything resembling a crisis of confidence, as Casspi surely did.

Asked what element of his game he’d put against anyone in the NBA, Jerebko didn’t flinch.

“Just out on that 3-point line,” Jerebko said on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Insider Podcast. “I’m shooting the ball really well right now. The corner 3 . . . I’m feeling really confident shooting the ball.”

After being introduced to Bay Area media on July 16, Jerebko grabbed a Warriors playbook and some video to study before returning to his home in Michigan. Most of the last six weeks have been dedicated to putting himself in position to help his new team, particularly as a reserve who can drill the 3.

In 74 games with Utah last season, Jerebko shot 41.4 percent (65-of-157) beyond the arc, which is indicative of his gradual improvement. After shooting 30.6 percent from deep over his first three NBA seasons, he is at 39.1 percent over his last five.

“I did not come into this league a shooter,” Jerebko conceded.

Shooting is, more than anything else, what the Warriors need him to do. They finished 30th (last) in 3-point makes off the bench last season (2.0 per game), 29th in 2016-17 (2.1), 28th in 2015-16 (2.2) and 28th in 2014-15 (1.9).

Which is a statistical way of pointing out coach Steve Kerr has never known the feeling of looking down his bench and knowing he’d see a consistently reliable deep threat. The best so far: Marreese Speights, who shot 38.7 percent from deep in 2015-16.

“I’ve been shooting the ball well the past few years,” Jerebko said. “I feel really confident in my shot. I’m very confident that I can help in that field.

“I’ve been in the league for 10 years now. I know Steve and those guys have watched me and know what I can do on the court. I’m going to help every which way I can. If that’s on the defensive end, getting steals or rebounds, whatever it may be, hustling, you’re going to see me all over the court.”

At 6-foot-10, 230 pounds, Jerebko believes he offers a bonus: the ability to defend multiple positions.

“I feel comfortable guarding people shorter than me, no problem,” he said. “I try to use my length. I feel I’ve got really quick feet, so I can try to stay in front of people. That’s the way I want to play, mixing it up, guarding big guys or smaller guys, point guards, whatever. Switching on screens? I’m ready for it.”

Jerebko has about four weeks to prove he is ready for it all. Training camp opens on Sept. 25.

Warriors signing Jonas Jerebko brings Pistons lessons with him

Warriors signing Jonas Jerebko brings Pistons lessons with him

Jonas Jerebko entered the NBA in 2009, straight from Sweden to the Detroit Pistons, where he toiled under five head coaches in five seasons. He listened to them to varying degrees, but mostly found himself applying lessons taught by teammates.

There may not have been a better bunch from which to learn. Ben Wallace, Rip Hamiliton and Tayshaun Prince formed the core of a group that had made six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals and won a championship in 2004.

“I had Rip, Tay, Ben ... some really good vets that showed me the ropes,” Jerebko said this week on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Insider Podcast. “These are guys I was looking up to when I was 15 and watching The Finals. I really wanted to just pick up on what they were doing.”

From them, Jerebko learned one thing above all else.

“There’s no secret recipe: It’s hard work,” he said.

Jerebko started 73 games as a rookie, leading the Pistons in that category. He averaged 9.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. He also began establishing a reputation as a hungry, full-effort utility player that followed him to Detroit, Boston and Utah.

“He’s a versatile guy,” Jae Crowder said of Jerebko in January 2017, when they were Celtics teammates. “He does a good job of bringing that energy, of doing what we need him to do.”

That versatility and energy, along with accurate 3-point shooting, is why the Warriors signed Jerebko to a one-year contract last month.

The hunger is what keeps sending Jerebko to a Michigan gym this summer.

“I’ve always hated losing,” he said. “It’s always been that way. I don’t care if it’s cards or whatever game it might be. I’ve always hated losing. I want to be on the other side. I want to be on the winning team. That’s always stayed with me.”

Put another way, Jerebko entered the NBA as eager pup and was lucky enough to land in a place with like-minded, accomplished veterans.

“I had Ben Wallace as my vet. He was the first one in the gym and the last one to leave,” Jerebko said. “So I just started picking up the things he did and what he was telling me about, like how to be a professional.”

And now Jerebko, 31, is a nine-year vet joining another team of pros.

“I’m just looking forward to getting in there and mixing it up with the guys,” he said. “I’m a team-first guy and I move the ball and if I’m open, I’m going to knock down the shot. It’s going to be fun.”

Jonas Jerebko ready to show he's 'a lot better player than people think'

Jonas Jerebko ready to show he's 'a lot better player than people think'

Earlier this week, Jonas Jerebko was introduced to Bay Area media members.

He talked about his expectations for next season and his role with the Warriors.

On Friday morning, he was a guest on 95.7 The Game and told Warriors fans they should have a pretty high bar for the "Swedish Larry Bird."

"I've been 10 years in the league and I feel like I'm getting better every year. I feel like I haven't played my best basketball yet," Jerebko declared. "The most minutes I did play was my rookie year."

Jerebko -- the 39th pick in the 2009 draft -- averaged 9.3 points and 6.0 rebounds as a rookie in Detroit.

He missed the entire 2010-11 season because of a torn Achilles tendon, but bounced back in 2011-12 to the tune of 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest.

The 31-year old played a couple more seasons in Detroit and was then traded to Boston in February 2015.

He re-signed with the Celtics in July 2015 and averaged 15.1 minutes and 15.8 minutes per contest in his two seasons under Brad Stevens.

In Utah last year, Jerebko registered 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 15.3 minutes, and shot over 41 percent from 3-point territory.

"I got a lot more to give and I'm a lot better player than people think I am sometimes," Jerebko said. "I'm ready to show that."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller