Matt Barnes identifies his 'one concern' about Warriors, how to fix it


Matt Barnes identifies his 'one concern' about Warriors, how to fix it

Ever since Steve Kerr became Warriors coach in 2014, the team has lived by the "Strength in Numbers" mantra.

Not only did the Warriors have a dominant starting lineup, but they prided themselves on having a deep, reliable bench.

But this season, the Warriors' bench is averaging just 29.5 points per game, the lowest mark since Kerr joined the franchise.

Former Warriors forward Matt Barnes is worried about the defending back-to-back NBA champions' depth.

"If I have one concern," Barnes said Monday on 95.7 The Game. "It’s that their bench hasn’t been as strong as it’s been in the past. So these guys really have to figure out on the fly where they can be most effective at."

Barnes is right. Here's what the Warriors' bench has averaged in the five seasons under Kerr and where that ranks in the NBA:
2014-15 -- 36.4 PPG (9th)
2015-16 -- 33.7 PPG (22nd)
2016-17 -- 32.8 PPG (21st)
2017-18 -- 33.0 PPG (22nd)
2018-19 -- 29.5 PPG (28th)

Instead of having savvy veterans such as David West, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee helping Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, the Warriors have Quinn Cook, Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie trying to provide quality minutes. Jonas Jerebko is the one veteran role player the Warriors added over the summer. Once DeMarcus Cousins debuts, the Warriors' bench will get stronger with the addition of Kevon Looney.

But for now, Barnes believes the next few months are important for the bench players.

"I think it’s time for these young guys to really start to step up and find their place on the team," Barnes said.

NBA power rankings: Western Conference standings by top four players

NBA power rankings: Western Conference standings by top four players

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The NBA landscape was completely altered this summer with many teams loading up on star power, in an effort to make a run for a suddenly wide-open NBA title. Following the league's talent reshuffling, the Western Conference is deeper than ever, and with Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors to head to the Brooklyn Nets, there is no clear-cut favorite to win the conference.

To illustrate how talented the West is, I will rank all the teams in the conference by their four best players.

This list does not show how I'd rank each team in the standings. Some teams are built on depth rather than star power (i.e. Denver), while others have question marks about their bench (i.e. Golden State). Also, for the sake of this exercise, let us assume all players are completely healthy.

Opinions definitely will vary on the order of this list, and the players I selected to represent each team. So what do you think?

Click to see Outsider's rankings of top quartets in Western Conference

NBA rumors: Team USA considering D'Angelo Russell as World Cup replacement

NBA rumors: Team USA considering D'Angelo Russell as World Cup replacement

After playing in five straight NBA Finals, Steph Curry and Draymond Green have a ton of extra miles on their legs, and Klay Thompson is recovering from surgery on his torn left ACL.

But Warriors newcomer D'Angelo Russell doesn't have the same wear and tear, which is why he could find himself playing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup later this summer.

The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported Monday that Team USA is considering adding Russell as a replacement on the roster that will compete in China.

Russell is under consideration because a plethora of marquee stars have withdrawn from the competition in recent days to focus on the 2019-20 NBA season.

On Monday alone, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris and No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson pulled out of the event. Anthony Davis, James Harden, Bradley Beal, C.J. McCollum and Eric Gordon also have withdrawn in recent days. Vardon reported Monday that Damian Lillard and Kevin Love are expected to make their decisions in the coming days.

Russell had a breakout 2018-19 season with the Brooklyn Nets and earned his first All-Star Game selection. In 81 games, the former No. 2 overall draft pick averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists in 30.2 minutes.

The Warriors acquired Russell earlier in July as part of the sign-and-trade deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Nets.

[RELATED: Can Poole earn a rotation spot?]

While the Warriors probably would prefer if Russell rested and got ready for his first season with the team, experiencing the Team USA environment and playing in high-level competition could be beneficial for the 23-year-old. Getting a taste of winning can't hurt, either.