We’ve heard all about the unprecedented numbers that the Warriors’ starting five has been responsible for, but unlike the #FullSquad, the team’s reserves haven’t been quite as hashtag worthy in the first half of the season.
Enter Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks, a pair of guards acquired by the Warriors in a three-team trade on January 15 who figure to bolster the lowest scoring bench unit in the NBA. Here’s a look at how they might help.
Let’s get the ugliness out of the way first: the Warriors’ bench ranks dead last in points (23.0), assists (3.9) and field goal percentage (.388) through 40 games. They’re one of two teams whose reserves have posted more turnovers than assists. What’s more, only one player has managed to score at least 20 points off the bench (the Warriors had 15 such individual performances last season), and as it happens, that player (Toney Douglas) was sent to Miami as part of the deal to bring Crawford and Brooks to Golden State.
Warriors Current Bench Averages: 23.0 points, 38.8% FG
Now, the good news: Crawford and Brooks have both shown an ability to put the ball in the basket in their young careers. In their finest scoring seasons to date—the 2011-12 campaign for both Crawford and Brooks—the new additions combined to score 27.3 points per game, better than four points higher than the Warriors’ current bench average.
Though Crawford is just a 40.4 percent shooter for his career, he’s hit a couple percentage points better in a reserve role than he has as a starter, and converted 56.5 percent in four games off the bench for Boston this season. He’s yet to find the range in the NBA that he displayed as a 39 percent three-point shooter at Xavier, but when he’s kept it inside of 16 feet this season, he’s converted on 49.1 percent. An 82 percent career free throw shooter, Crawford (as well as Brooks, a career 75 percent marksman at the line) will help a bench that has combined to hit just 67.2 percent from the charity stripe, fourth worst in the league.
Brooks entered the league by earning Second Team All-Rookie honors in 2011-12, averaging 12.6 points on 42.8 percent shooting for the Nets in his first year out of Providence. Since his rookie season, he’s seen fewer minutes but generally provided the same kind of production in a limited role, while increasing his shooting efficiency to 45.7 percent over the last two seasons. His minutes have decreased from 29.4 his rookie year to 12.5 last season and now 7.3 in 10 games with Boston, but his per 36 minute scoring average has remained unscathed each year, from 15.5 to 15.6 to 15.3.
Warriors Current Bench Averages: 3.9 assists, 4.6 turnovers
From a playmaking standpoint, Crawford himself has out-assisted the Warriors’ bench by nearly two assists per game (5.7) as a fill-in starter for the injured Rajon Rondo, and he’s done so with a 2.67 assist-to-turnover ratio, the 14th best mark in the league.
There are 29 players in the league this season averaging at least 10 points and five assists, and with Crawford joining Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors now have three such players at their disposal (Phoenix and Portland are the only other teams with two 10/5 contributors). Crawford may no longer receive the necessary minutes to maintain those averages, but he’s shown the ability to provide some much needed distribution off the bench. No Warrior reserve has even dished out five assists in a game this season, something that Jarrett Jack alone did 46 times for Golden State in 2012-13.
How Crawford and Brooks factor into the bench rotation remains to be seen, but their track records suggest that they can help cure some of what has ailed the Warriors bench throughout the first half of the season.comments powered by Disqus