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Key Storylines for Golden State Warriors' Summer League Team

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Key Storylines for Golden State Warriors' Summer League Team
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Kent Bazemore will have to prove his worth this summer.

The Golden State Warriors made their mark at the start of NBA free agency with the signing of Andre Iguodala, but the dumping of salary set up key storylines for Golden State's summer league team.

The Warriors are currently toeing the salary-cap line with $56.1 million in guaranteed contracts, and the salary cap for the 2013-14 season sits at $58.5 million

With non-guaranteed contracts on the roster (which include guards Kent Bazemore and Scott Machado and forward/center Dwayne Jones), the Golden State brass will have to decide if these players are worth the remaining roster spots or if better talent is available using its $20 million in traded player exemptions (TPE).

The only returning guaranteed contract that will be on the summer league roster is forward Draymond Green, who will be looking to fine-tune his skills when the team opens up against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, July 13. Harrison Barnes will probably not play since he was invited to the Team USA camp, and Festus Ezeli is out with an injury.

The first player who highlights the summer storylines is the master of celebrations on the bench after big-time buckets. That is Bazemore, and he even earned his way into the new NBA 2K14 video game.

Now is the time for Bazemore to show that type of energy on the court this summer. With a non-guaranteed contract, he will have to show his defensive skills that earned him the nation’s top defensive player at Old Dominion and his ability to be a quality backup point or a combo guard.

As you can remember, he was an undrafted free agent when he was invited to the summer league last season. 

All he did was show off his skills and earn a spot on the Warriors’ roster. If he can continue to make on-court improvements and bring the energy, he should have the best shot at keeping his spot.

With the removal of the highly criticized center Andris Biedrins and the lengthy injury to Ezeli, the Warriors are very limited in the center department. This would have been the ideal time for last year’s second-round pick, Ognjen Kuzmic, to get some quality time in front of Warriors’ brass.

However, Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle said that will not be the case since he is out with a bone bruise in his right ankle.

Kuzmic will probably remain stashed away until he can get healthy and show that he is developing his skills in Europe. He is still a raw big man, and his game has not yet translated to the NBA level. 

With Kuzmic on the shelf this summer, Jones has an excellent chance to show off his skills. The Dubs signed Jones to a contract late in the season, and now he has a chance to prove his worth.

Jones has been an NBA journeyman by playing with five NBA teams in his career. The most production he has had is 56 games played for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007-08.

He played with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League (8.8 PPG, 12.6 RPG and 1.4 APG) before he was called up to the Warriors. During his NBA career, he has averaged 1.3 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game and 0.4 blocks per game. He will hope to show off his skills and earn some playing time while Ezeli is on the mend.

Another player who is part of the point guard fight is Machado. He, just like Bazemore, is entering summer league without a guaranteed contract.

Machado signed with the Warriors at the end of last season after playing a short time with the Houston Rockets. He played for the NBA Development League’s Rio Grande Vipers and the Santa Cruz Warriors before his return to the NBA.

The former MAAC Player of the Year, the conference’s all-time leader in assists and a Bob Cousy Award finalist at Iona has a shot at sticking around as a backup guard, similar to Charles Jenkins last season. He will have to prove his skills during the summer and hope the Warriors keep him as a backup.

As shown in the tweet by the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami, Machado is working hard early on in order to stick with the Dubs.

The final player in the mix at guard is first-round draft pick Nemanja Nedovic, who the Warriors traded up to draft. He was considered one of the best guards in Europe, and the Warriors could not pass up the chance to fill one of their biggest needs.

The biggest question that remains is whether or not Nedovic will participate in summer league. Marcus Thompson tweeted that fact and stated that he should get a chance to play after he is done with his duties for the Serbian national team.

The stage is set for the NBA Summer League, and the Warriors are looking for answers to their roster. Bazemore, Machado and Nedovic have their work cut out for them, but can they keep possible replacements away? This summer will spell it out.

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