The season has started out with a little bit less than a bang for all of the Golden State Warriors rookies. Harrison Barnes earned the starting forward job directly out of camp, but besides a couple of key dunks, he has been less than impressive.
The Warriors have a young team with a lot of veteran talent on the bench. Harrison Barnes’ job looks safe, but the rest of the rooks will need to do a lot more to earn coach Mark Jackson’s trust and any extra minutes.
It is hard to judge first-year players only four games into the season because they are just getting their feet wet for the first time. However, first impressions are a good indicator of how a player will adapt to his new life in the NBA.
Barnes has not made the imprint on the NBA like fellow rookie Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. Barnes has gotten off to a rather average start.
He has put up a line of 8.8 PPG, 1.6 RPG and 1.6 APG through his first five NBA games. He has started all five games this season and should continue that trend with Brandon Rush now out for the season.
Barnes has averaged 23.4 minutes per game, but during his last two games, he played 30 minutes in both. The major problem was that he only corralled two rebounds each time.
Barnes isn’t paid to pull down a significant amount of boards, but he needs to use his athletic ability and his long wingspan to come up with more rebounds. With more rebounds, he could begin to contribute more significantly or even start the transition game.
His dunks have been very colorful, but he needs to expand his total game and become more consistent, a problem that he had a the University of North Carolina.
Festus Ezeli has stepped in a lot more than expected during the start of his rookie campaign. He has made significant progress to become Andrew Bogut’s key understudy.
Ezeli has averaged 3.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 1.0 BPG in the first five games by logging in 16.4 minutes per contest. He has earned partial trust from coach Jackson, but Jackson isn’t ready yet to put him in during the final few minutes of the game.
Ezeli has showed off his big body on the defensive end when he wreaked havoc on Clippers’ superstar Blake Griffin. Ezeli pushed Griffin out of the way to grab an offensive rebound and Griffin had to resort to a foul as the only way to try to stop the big man.
He has the look of understanding the defense and positioning so far as he has been nudging his man out of the post. He could emerge into a spot defender in traditional settings.
Look for Ezeli to work on his offense and try to earn more of coach Jackson’s trust. He was a favorite of Jerry West, and he looks like one of the steals by being picked with the last pick of the first round.
Draymond Green has made little impact during the first five games in his NBA career. He has played little time with tallies of one, two, five, four and eight minutes during that time frame.
Green has yet to make his first basket as he is 0-7, but has an assist and a steal to go with two rebounds. He will most likely earn a few more minutes per game with the loss of Rush, but he will have to earn them.
Green didn’t start off on the right foot as he was on the bench because of a sore knee. The knee has healed, but he hasn’t had a chance to show off his skills.
He is a “tweener” forward who can play at both small and power forward. He has a smooth stroke to hit jumpers both in front of and behind the arc, along with the ability to be a hard worker.
Kent Bazemore has yet to see the floor in this young season, and that is why he receives an incomplete. He is considered a defensive specialist at the guard position, with good instincts.
He won’t get many minutes during this season, but that will give him a chance to develop his game during practices and adjust to the NBA life on the road.
Bazemore is a left-hander who is very athletic. He wasn’t drafted by the Warriors, but his work in summer league and his reputation from being the back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association got him a contract.
He should receive between two and five minutes a game, usually with the second team or if the Dubs need some defensive energy. The more success he has on the floor the more minutes he will earn.
Once again, the injury to Rush has opened up a minuscule hole that Bazemore can use to his advantage.