With the schedule set and a new season growing nearer by the day, we're preparing for the 2013-14 campaign by taking a statistical look at the players the Warriors acquired this offseason. We've discussed what Andre Iguodala and Jermaine O'Neal bring to the table, and today we'll put the Notes & Numbers spotlight on forward Marreese Speights.
Speights has carved out a nice career as a reserve big man thus far, a role he's expected to play in Golden State, but his per 36 minute averages indicate the kind of impact he could have in a starter's role. Speights averaged 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in 16.5 minutes between Memphis and Cleveland last year, but his numbers per 36 minutes were 18.2 points and 10.7 rebounds, making him one of only seven players in 2012-13 with averages of at least 18 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes. The others? David Lee, Tim Duncan, Carlos Boozer, DeMarcus Cousins, Al Jefferson and Nikola Pekovic.
Further proof of his production despite limited playing time: among active players who've logged fewer than 6,000 career minutes, only Speights has totaled at least 2,500 points and 1,500 rebounds. In the 24 games last season in which Speights logged at least 20 minutes, his averages were 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Among power forwards, Speights ranked ninth in offensive rebounding rate last season (21st in the NBA), grabbing 12.7 percent of available offensive boards. The Warriors will count on him to help fill the void created in that department by offseason knee surgery to Festus Ezeli, who last year ranked eighth in the league with an offensive rebound rate of 14.3.
The extra opportunities created by offensive rebounds, along with his mid-range shooting ability in catch-and-shoot situations, are part of the reason for Speights' high usage rate (24.2), which last year ranked behind only Tim Duncan among power forwards (minimum 20 games played). Speights' player efficiency rating of 17.35 ranked ahead of several starters at his position at 19th overall among power forwards, not far off from the 17.60 PER of the Warriors' reserve power forward last season, Carl Landry.
Speights can mix it up down-low, but his bread-and-butter is the aforementioned mid-range jumper that comes in handy on pick-and-pop plays. From 16-24 feet last season, Speights hit 48.4 percent of his shots (89-of-184), ranking 12th in the NBA from that distance (minimum 100 attempts) and fifth among power forwards behind only Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Smith and Patrick Patterson.
CHOMPING AT THE BIT
The addition of Speights gives the Warriors two Florida Gators at the power forward position (David Lee being the other), and Speights brings a championship pedigree to boot. As a freshman, Speights was a member of the 2006-07 championship squad led by Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Al Horford, which makes him the only current member of the Warriors roster to boast an NCAA Championship, inheriting that role from Kansas alum Brandon Rush (now a member of the Utah Jazz).