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.

Why Warriors could benefit from unique 2019-20 NBA season calendar

Why Warriors could benefit from unique 2019-20 NBA season calendar

The NBA’s calendar completely has been thrown out in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s diagnosis on March 11, putting the 2019-20 NBA season on an indefinite hiatus.

The Warriors held the league’s worst record at the stoppage, and will not be among the 22 teams returning to action later this summer in Orlando. But The Action Network’s Matt Moore believes the upside-down NBA calendar will end up playing to the Warriors’ benefit.

After five straight runs to the NBA Finals (an extra 105 playoff games) Golden State’s roster will get nine months of rest before the league’s ideal start date sometime in December. Players like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, who already sat out much of the season with injury, will get additional time to heal and return to peak physical condition. Meanwhile, the rest of the Warriors’ Western Conference rivals in 2020-21 will be dealing with the stress and unique circumstances of playing neutral-site games on the other side of the country for multiple months, and won’t have a long layoff before training camps are expected to open.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Golden State also faces the best odds of any team in the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery, which just was rescheduled for August 25. The Warriors have a 52 percent at a top-four draft pick, and will be able to pair an uber-talented young player with a healthy Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.

Then there’s the unrelenting lust Warriors fans (and reportedly the front office) have for reigning NBA MVP Giannis Anteotokounmpo. If the Milwaukee Bucks come up short of a title in this strange, Disney-hosted NBA Playoffs, Giannis could reach his breaking point with the organization after seven seasons without even an appearance in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors could dangle Green, Andrew Wiggins and potentially the No. 1 overall pick, something not many teams around the NBA could match. Plus if (and this is a pretty big if) Giannis goes to Milwaukee management and demands a trade to only the Warriors, the Bucks’ front office wouldn’t have much choice in the matter. He’s made no indication of wanting to leave Milwaukee, but things can change very quickly in the NBA.

[RELATED: Steve Kerr, Warriors need more time to prepare for 2020 NBA Draft]

Finally, there’s the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, which should be in place before the start of next season. Moore cites league sources as interpreting the details to potentially work out very well for the Warriors. With an easing of luxury tax penalties, potentially “smoothing” salary cap implications over several seasons and a severe cut to revenue sharing, Golden State won’t be hit nearly as hard by these guidelines as many other small-market teams. The salary cap will decrease, but so will the ramifications for exceeding it.

An extended offseason, very favorable NBA Draft Lottery odds, the potential trade capital to land a superstar and a new CBA all stand to improve the Warriors' chances at a championship in 2020-21.

This isn’t to say that Golden State won’t be impacted by the economic impact of the coronavirus shutdown just like the rest of the country, but the circumstances of the NBA’s return absolutely are advantageous for the organization going into next season.

Why Steve Kerr believes NBA will allow Warriors to hold 'minicamp'

Why Steve Kerr believes NBA will allow Warriors to hold 'minicamp'

The Warriors' last game before the 2019-20 NBA season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic came on March 10.

On Thursday, the league announced that its tentative plan for the 2020-21 campaign is for training camps to open Nov. 10 with Opening Night scheduled for Dec. 1.

"The one thing that we are interested in is doing some kind of a minicamp if the league will allow it," Golden State coach Steve Kerr told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami this week. "Otherwise, eight months is a long time to go without any basketball at all. And that's what it would be.

"We'd like to get together for some kind of minicamp or two. I'm thinking that the league will allow us to do something, especially given that 22 teams are gonna be playing and eight of us are not. I'm fairly certain the league will allow the other eight teams to do some practicing at some point whenever the time is right."

Warriors players were allowed to begin using Chase Center facilities this week for voluntary workouts. But that's very different from the entire team and coaching staff getting together in an official capacity.

If the NBA allows the Dubs the ability to congregate, would this include Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green?

"Oh yeah, 100 percent," Kerr said. "This is different, but everything's different now. I have no doubt our players would be all-in. It would almost be like (how) NFL teams have their OTAs.

"That's what I picture -- where we get everybody together and we're able to install offensive actions that we want to run next year, defensive schemes -- that kind of thing."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Klay has not played since he tore his left ACL during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 13, and Steph appeared in only five games this season.

The Warriors very much want Andrew Wiggins to get accustomed to playing with the "Splash Brothers" and Draymond Green, so any practice time would be beneficial.

[RELATED: Why Kerr, Warriors need more time to prepare for the draft]

Furthermore, it's very important for young players like Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole and Alen Smailagic to continue their development.

"Get our guys on the training table and in the weight room and with our strength coaches for checkups," Kerr explained. "They're all on programs right now and they're doing certain things, but they're not really able to work with our staff."

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