Jonas Jerebko solidifies rotation spot with career-high in Warriors' win


Jonas Jerebko solidifies rotation spot with career-high in Warriors' win


OAKLAND -- Even as the Warriors say they knew what they were getting when they signed Jonas Jerebko to a veteran’s minimum contract in July, they were not sure.

Their summary, in short: 6-foot-10 power forward, good shooter and rebounder, plays hard, playing time will vary wildly from game to game.

Shred the last nine words. They no longer apply.

Jerebko has jammed himself into the rotation, become a staple among the bench corps and his performance in a 120-116 win over Dallas on Saturday provided an illustration of why his minutes do not vary wildly.

Jerebko delivered 23 points -- a career-high -- on 10-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-4 from deep, along with six rebounds, three assists and one steal. All in 21 minutes.

“He had several plays that just got the crowd into it with his hustle,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He gave us a huge lift off the bench. It was a great night for him.”

Jerebko is making a habit of contributing what’s needed, often with rebounding but particularly with scoring. He has scored in double figures in seven of the last 11 games, averaging 11.4 points per game during that stretch.

Moreover, Jerebko has played at least 20 minutes in 19 consecutive games.

“That’s what I’m in the gym for every day,” Jerebko said. “I want to get consistent minutes, so that’s why I’m in the gym working and showing what I can do, just playing my butt off every night to get to that point. I’m going to keep doing that and keep helping this team win.”

The guy who wasn’t projected to get regular playing time leads all Warriors reserves in minutes and has played more minutes than any Warrior not named Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson or Stephen Curry.

Jerebko, a ninth-year veteran, often is the first reserve to enter, replacing either Kevon Looney or Draymond Green in the first quarter. On this night, he owned the pivotal third quarter, scoring nine points on 4-of-4 shooting and grabbing two rebounds in six minutes.

[RELATED: Draymond rediscovers 3-point stroke, lets Mavs know it]

The Warriors, down three at the half, took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter. Jerebko earned the standing ovation he got when he exited with 6:39 remaining.

“He’s a big part of what we do,” Curry said. “He’s very versatile in terms of what he can offer. He can shoot the ball really well and he’s pretty smart on defense in being in the right position and sacrificing his body. On the offensive end, he just tries to make the right play at all times.

“The ball is moving and hopping and he knows that if it’s an open shot, take it, and if not, move it along and set a good screen and get it back. He’s really implemented himself into what we do.”

Those regular minutes won’t be going away anytime soon. Two months into the season, Jerebko -- who was released by Utah last summer -- has outperformed projections and become a regular on a championship team.

The Warriors didn’t see this coming, but now they’re taking all they can get.

Warriors' Steph Curry ranked No. 31 player in NBA five years from now

Warriors' Steph Curry ranked No. 31 player in NBA five years from now

Steph Curry has been one of the best players in the NBA for more than half a decade now. 

He's the only player in league history to be named unanimous MVP, has been an All-Star six years in a row,and has posted the three highest scoring averages of his career outside of that unanimous MVP season in each of the last three years, with the numbers increasing each year.

Curry. LeBron James. Kevin Durant. Kawhi Leonard. James Harden. Anthony Davis. Giannis Antetokounmpo. If you were to ask a random person off the street to rank the top five players in the game today, chances are they would all come from that list of names.

But what about the best players in the game five years from now? Will Curry maintain his lofty place among the top NBA superstars?

This week, the NBA team at NBC Sports has been counting down its list of who it projects to be the 50 best players in the NBA five years from now in the summer of 2024. Age, potential, injury history and other factors all were taken into account, and the projections have Curry lower than you might expect.

NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh certainly feels that way, being of the opinion that Curry's No. 31 ranking is too low for the greatest shooter in the history of the sport.

"Did I miss something?" Haberstroh questioned. "I feel like the best shooter ever deserves a higher spot on this list. If you don’t think his superhuman ability to score from far away places won’t age well, consider the careers of Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, the only two players who have made more 3-pointers than Curry has in this league. Miller was starting playoff games at age 39. Allen was starting Finals games at age 38. Oh, and Steve Nash was an All-Star two weeks after his 38th birthday."

For reference, Curry will be 36 in the summer of 2024.

"Curry’s ranking suggests he’s at the tail end of his career," Haberstroh continued, "but he just increased his scoring average for the second consecutive season, averaging 27.3 points per game with pristine efficiency. After raising his scoring average to 28.2 points per game this postseason, there’s no signs of decline."

So why No. 31? What factor is holding Curry back from being ranked higher?

Haberstroh concedes that it's certainly possible Curry's injury history could rear its ugly head at some point, but even if that were to occur, he still thinks Curry is being underrated.

"OK, the ankles," Haberstroh wrote. "Yes, the ankles. There’s reason to worry that Curry’s wheels will deflate faster than the average NBA player, but even if Curry moves off the ball and becomes more of a spot-up shooter, I still think he’d stretch defenses to near half court. We’ve never seen a player like Curry who can launch from just about anywhere with the ball in his hands. 

"But even if he can’t terrorize defenses with his lightning-quick handles and crab-like lateral movement, he’ll still impact the game at a high level simply by standing there beyond the arc. Just ask Miller, Allen and Nash about how that gravitational pull ages."

[RELATED: Curry cements himself as leader for social justice in NBA]

Curry underrated? Some things never change ...

Steph Curry as MVP? Six Warriors storylines to watch in 2019-20 season

Steph Curry as MVP? Six Warriors storylines to watch in 2019-20 season

 The Warriors enter the 2019-20 season at a crossroads. 

With Kevin Durant off to Brooklyn, Klay Thompson out for an extended time and eight new faces on the roster, Golden State looks to continue their Western Conference dominance. 

To get you ready, here are six storylines to follow entering the season.