Steph Curry should get more open looks this season.
Steph Curry has emerged as a national star, but the spotlight is on the Golden State Warriors’ point guard position. Jarrett Jack, who was cool and calm as the backup, has left and the Warriors were quick to fill that position with less-esteemed backups.
The Warriors do have some talent at the position, as they grabbed well-traveled Toney Douglas, who hasn’t yet found a permanent home. The Warriors also have a lot of unproven talent with Seth Curry, Serbian national player Nemanja Nedovic and Kent Bazemore.
Coach Mark Jackson is going to have to make some tough decisions when it comes to who gets the minutes when Steph Curry is on the bench. Both Bazemore and Nedovic can slide into the shooting guard position, so they might have better opportunities as combo guards.
The Warriors didn’t look too far from the tree to find a possible backup for Steph Curry, as they signed his undrafted brother, Seth. He put up solid marks at Duke University while snagging a First Team All-ACC award with 17.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG and 1.5 APG in his last season as a Blue Devil.
Curry will be doing a lot of driving this season between Oakland and Santa Cruz, where the Santa Cruz Warriors play in the NBA D-League. In order to get consistent playing time and keep his skills sharp, Curry should keep this option open.
Just like his father and his brother, Seth has a soft touch and knows how to shoot the ball. He averaged 46.5 percent from the field and 43.8 from three-point land as a senior at Duke.
He doesn’t have the physical tools of his brother, but Seth can create off the dribble and knows how to earn trips to the free-throw line. He uses his high basketball IQ and instincts to mask any deficiencies that he may have.
He will have to put in the effort, wherever place that may come, in order to have more than a cup of coffee in the NBA. Due to lack of playing time, I see Seth getting about four minutes a game and averages of only 0.9 PPG, 0.8 RPG and 1.2 APG.
Nemanja Nedovic will have to fight for playing time, as he will be in a dogfight for the backup point guard position. Toney Douglas will be his key competition, but both players have a different style of play and each will see the floor in different situations.
The Warriors are very excited to see Nedovic come over this early, as it was a question if he would stay one more season in Europe to develop his skills. He handles the ball well, is relentless on defense and can create on the offensive end.
As great as he is going vertical, Nedovic has some weaknesses that he needs to work on. First of all, he is a 6’4” point guard and he can play both the 1 and 2 positions, but he needs to define where he will play.
Secondarily, his assist-to-turnover ratio has been relatively high throughout his career. He needs to focus on picking up the NBA style of play and be smart when he has the ball.
Finally, he has improved his shooting percentage within the past few years, but he is going to need to be even better if he wants a spot on the floor. He has some of the most talented shooters in the NBA surrounding him, so he should get help just being around his teammates.
There is a lot of potential in the future of Nedovic, but his expectations will have to cool a bit with his place on this emerging team. I see Nedovic getting about eight minutes a game (at both the point and shooting guard positions) and averaging 3.7 PPG, 2.1 APG and 1.2 SPG.
Kent Bazemore is a defensive-minded player with a freakishly-long wingspan. Instead of being the leader of the bench celebrations, he wants to transition into becoming a meaningful member of the offense.
During the summer, his focus was on the offensive end of the court, as he earned the MVP and a summer league championship. He ran the point in Las Vegas and showed that he belonged against lesser competition.
Bazemore is a small Swiss Army knife of sorts, because he started his rookie season as a small forward, was a shooting guard throughout his college career and is now learning point guard duties.
With his long wingspan, he needs to fight off being lazy with reaches on defense. He has to use his quickness and position himself in front of the man with the ball.
Another problem with his length is shooting the ball. He is currently working with coaches to shorten his stroke and improve his mid-range jumpers.
Bazemore will be a solid contributor to the Warriors in his limited minutes. He will average six minutes at both guard positions and put up 3.7 PPG, 0.8 RPG and 0.9 APG.
Toney Douglas is the original pick to back up Steph Curry at point guard. However, he now has many competitors at this position.
He signed with the Warriors at a more economical price than what Jack would have requested if the Warriors would not have renounced Jack’s rights. Douglas has a lot of potential, but he hasn’t found the right fit yet.
Douglas is a strong defender and the Warriors are happy that Steph Curry no longer has to face up against him. He is athletic and can move with the ball, but his offensive game is not at his highest level.
His biggest weakness is his shooting percentage, as he shot a bit over 40 percent from the field last season and less than 38 percent from three-point land. If he can work on that weakness, he can increase his confidence and take his game to a desired level.
I think that Douglas will use the preseason as a time to get comfortable with his new teammates and really practice hitting the clutch shots off the bench. I see him earning about 16 minutes with averages of 6.5 PPG, 2.5 APG and 1.5 SPG.
Steph Curry is the only member on the list that knows his place and will look to expand upon it this season. He is a future All-Star and will try to rip the starting duties out of rival Chris Paul’s hands.
He is a great ball-handler who is maturing into the Golden State Warriors’ team leader. He is a lights-out shooter who has aspirations of breaking his own three-point record.
He is human, so he does have weaknesses. Curry needs to be more responsible with the ball, improve upon his mid-range shooting and make plays with the ball in the final seconds.
Curry’s third quarters in the playoffs showed that he can take over a game. However, if he truly wants to ascend to the top ranks, he will have to win games with his moves and his shots.
Let’s not forget about Curry’s Achilles heel, his ankles. He suffered only minor ankle injuries last season, but the injuries reappeared in critical playoff moments against the San Antonio Spurs.
Curry will be the Warriors’ go-to-guy this season, whether the team needs a three-pointer, a clutch pass or a jumper to ice the game. He will average 40 minutes per game and put up 25.2 PPG, 7.3 APG and 4.3 RPG.