Dragan Bender played in nine games for the Warriors during the 2019-20 NBA season, but he certainly made a good impression.
Signed to two 10-day contracts by the Warriors, the 22-year-old center averaged 9.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 21.7 minutes.
Despite the limited action, those are far and away the best numbers of Bender's short career.
Bender showed enough during his brief audition that the Warriors would like to bring the free agent back for the 2020-21 season, NBA reporter Keith Smart reported Saturday.
Hearing Dragan Bender is a player teams have their eyes on as an "early free agent addition" for 2020-21. The idea would be to sign him now with some guaranteed money for 20-21. Teams like what the only 22-year-old (yes, really!) did with GSW. Warriors would like to keep him too.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 20, 2020
Of course, the Warriors will have competition for Bender's services, Smart reported.
Bender, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, never lived up to his potential in three seasons with the Phoenix Suns. After signing with the Milwaukee Bucks last offseason, he played in seven games and was waived on Feb. 10. Two weeks later, the Warriors were able to sign Bender to his first 10-day contract.
The Warriors aren't deep at center, with Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss as the players on the roster capable of playing heavy minutes at the position. Of course, when Golden State goes small, Draymond Green plays the five.
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Depending on what the Warriors do in the 2020 NBA Draft and in free agency, if Bender returns, he could play big minutes off the bench.
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