Warriors

Steve Kerr agrees that Warriors' Omari Spellman deserves more playing time

Steve Kerr agrees that Warriors' Omari Spellman deserves more playing time

SAN FRANCISCO -- One day after Omari Spellman expressed a desire to play more minutes, Warriors coach Steve Kerr offered a response that should please the second-year big man.

He agreed.

“Omari has absolutely earned more minutes,” Kerr said Sunday after practice. “He played great last night. Played well for us early in the season before things went against him.”

On Saturday night, when not many Warriors played well, Spellman did. He scored 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. He also grabbed five rebounds and had four steals in a 111-104 loss to the Pistons at Chase Center.

Insofar as the 6-foot-8, 255-pound Villanova product achieved those numbers in 20 minutes, it was pretty close to maximum offensive efficiency.

After the game, Spellman pointed out that he has no control over how often he plays or how much time he’ll get on a given night. He made it clear that he believes he can be a productive member of the rotation if given a chance.

“Honestly, I was just going out and trying to play aggressive and seize the opportunity,” Spellman said. “I don’t want to lie down and just accept losing minutes. ... I’m just going to stay ready, but I don’t want to take that lying down. No. I want to prove that I can play. I should be out there in my opinion, so that’s really it.”

The numbers seem to support Spellman’s assertion. Playing a total of 42 minutes over the last two games, he averaged 16.5 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-6 from deep. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Going further back, Spellman closed November with a six-game stretch during which his averages were 25.0 minutes, 11.7 points -- on 46.3-percent shooting, including 48.0 percent from deep -- and 6.1 rebounds per contest. He posted his only double-double of the season during that span, with a 13-point, 11-rebound game in 24 minutes against the Bulls.

Averaging 9.0 minutes in the last six games he played in December, Spellman’s totals were 16 points and 14 rebounds. To be fair, he was fighting off an illness that forced him to miss two games and surely impacted his statistics in the other six.

Spellman has been in the rotation for much of the season, but out of it for particular segments as Kerr continues to experiment.

“It’s harder when there’s no clear line of delineation between your top eight or nine and the rest of the group,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of different rotations, a lot of different starting lineups.”

There also is the fact that the coaching staff is trying to evaluate each of the team’s four big men: Willie Cauley-Stein, Marquese Chriss, Alen Smailagic and Spellman. Cauley-Stein is the starter, when healthy, with Chriss as the primary backup. That leaves Spellman and Smailagic -- who did not play Saturday night -- to be shuttled between backup center and backup power forward.

[RELATED: Kerr says 'tired' Draymond might need extended time off]

“Sometimes it’s just circumstantial,” Kerr said. “But circumstances turn, especially if you have the fortitude to keep working and remain patient, like [Spellman] has, and remain positive.

“That’s probably the thing I’m most proud of him for. As a young player, it’s easy to get frustrated. From the beginning of the season until now, he’s much more mature in the way he has handled disappointment. Rather than pouting, he has just stayed positive and continued to work. And it paid off last night.”

Do not consider this a promise that Spellman’s playing time will remain in the 20-minute range. But don’t be surprised if that’s the case. It seems to be the surest way to get the most out of him.

Warriors season review: Jordan Poole's improvement should be encouraging

Warriors season review: Jordan Poole's improvement should be encouraging

Editor's note: Amid the current climate, it's looking increasingly likely we'll be away from basketball for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, NBC Sports Bay Area will take a look at each player on the Warriors' roster and examine how their performance will fit with the roster long term. First up is rookie guard Jordan Poole.
 
In need of scoring, the Warriors used the No. 28 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft to select Jordan Poole, who was expected to make an impact right away. Those hopes didn't come to fruition early on, as Poole struggled from the field.
 
Here's everything you need to know about the Michigan product's rookie season with Golden State.

Contract

2 years / $4,028,040 (with options for the 2021-22, 2022-23 seasons). 

Last season

Poole's rookie campaign started slow. Through his first 19 games, he shot just 27 percent from the field. Poole's struggles came as he was put into the starting lineup following Steph Curry's hand injury. During his initial stint as a starter, Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted that the rookie was losing confidence. 
 
As a result, Poole was banished to the G League, averaging 26 points on 46 percent from the field. Nonetheless, any question about his struggles would elicit the same response.
 
Poole's defiance paid off following the All-Star break as the rookie routinely put together double-digit scoring outputs. Over his last nine games, he averaged 14.1 points, including a 17-point performance against the Los Angeles Clippers in what might be the season finale.

In all, he showed signs of progress following a disappointing start to his rookie season, which should bode well whenever the Warriors return to the floor. 

Outlook

In order to build on his late-season performance, Poole will have to improve his defense and strength. Moreover, he has to continue to change his mindset. 

[RELATED: How new rules affect Dubs' ability to evaluate prospects]
 
Just before his G League stint, Kerr encouraged his rookie to watch film of Clippers guard Landry Shamat and Pelicans shooting guard J.J. Redick. The sentiment behind the message was to encourage Poole to snap out of his habit of standing around in Golden State's motion offense. During the onset of the season, Poole's stagnant off-ball mindset frustrated the coaching staff. 
 
Upon return, Poole took heed to Kerr's message, often leading the offensive attack as injuries mounted again. If he can continue his current trajectory, he has a chance to be a contributor next season. 

Eric Paschall picks starting lineup from Warriors coaches, executives

Eric Paschall picks starting lineup from Warriors coaches, executives

When you look at the Warriors coaching staff and front office, it's a pretty accomplished group of hoopers.

So during a Zoom conversation with forward Eric Paschall on Monday afternoon, NBC Sports Bay Area put the Golden State rookie on the spot:

"Put together your starting five -- basketball team -- of Warriors coaches and executives."

After saying, "Ummmmmmmm ..." and pausing for a couple seconds, Paschall revealed his squad:

Theo Robertson, Luke Loucks, David Fatoki, Zaza Pachulia and Steve Nash.

Pachulia and Nash -- who hold consultant roles with the franchise -- don't need introductions.

But let's take a look at the other three who made the cut.

Robertson -- a player development coach who works closely with Paschall -- played at Cal from 2005 to 2010. Over his junior and senior seasons combined, he averaged 13.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists, while shooting better than 49 percent from the field and 47 percent from deep. The Bears won the regular-season conference championship his last year in Berkeley, and he was named team MVP.

Loucks -- a player development coach as well -- played collegiately at Florida State. He started all 35 games as a senior, and registered 10 points, 13 assists and six rebounds in the Seminoles' 2012 ACC Tournament championship game victory over North Carolina.

Fatoki -- assistant manager of basketball operations and GSW Ventures -- averaged nearly 13 points and 7.6 assists during his senior season in 2014-15 at Washington University in St. Louis.

That's a very solid unit.

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But what about the members of the organization who were snubbed by the No. 41 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft?

General manager Bob Myers played at UCLA from 1993 to 1997.

Assistant general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. was selected by the Warriors with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, and averaged 19.1 points during the 2007-08 season for the Indiana Pacers.

Head coach Steve Kerr shot 45.4 percent from 3-point territory over his 15-season career, and won five NBA titles as a player (in Paschall's defense, Kerr doesn't even play pickup basketball anymore).

Assistant coach Jarron Collins played in the NBA for 10 seasons after entering the league in 2001 as the No. 53 overall pick in the draft.

Player development coach Aaron Miles had a fantastic college career at Kansas, averaging 8.6 points, 6.9 assists and 1.9 steals while starting 137 games over four seasons for the Jayhawks.

[RELATED: Warriors' Paschall explains why he became two-foot jumper]

So who will be offended at not cracking the starting five?

None of the above apparently.

"Chris DeMarco -- CD for sure," Paschall said. "Or Nick Kerr."

DeMarco -- an assistant coach who runs the team's player development program -- went to Dominican University in San Rafael. From the school's website:

As a power forward for the Penguins, DeMarco led Dominican to a winning record (16-13) in 2008-09 ... averaged a team-high 14.93 points per game on .544 shooting. He started all 29 games and led the California Pacific Conference with 9.62 rebounds per game, which was nearly a pair higher than any other player in the conference and 16th best in the nation. For his efforts, DeMarco garnered NAIA Div. II All-America Honorable Mention.

Nick Kerr -- Golden State's assistant video coordinator -- played at the University of San Diego before transferring to Cal for his final year of eligibility in 2015-16.

My sincerest apologies to any other members of the organization who might be offended for not appearing in this hard-hitting news alert.

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