It’s no secret that last season Jarrett Jack had the best season of his career in his lone year with the Golden State Warriors. The eight year NBA veteran looked like he had found a home in the bay, while he established himself as legitimate super-sub. Jack, who finished behind Jamaal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers and eventual winner, JR Smith of the New York Knicks, was third in sixth man of the year voting.
The back-up point guard who often had the ball in his hands with the game on the line stepped his game up to another level in the playoffs, when he averaged a steady 17 points per game while adding 4 assists as well as 4 rebounds per game as well.
So the question is asked, with Jack leaving the Warriors to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, on a 4-year 25 million dollar deal, who steps up in his absence? With over two months before the season opener the Warriors may make a move to solidify the back court even more but as of right now a move may not be necessary.
Golden State had yet another productive year at the Vegas Summer League. Not only by going undefeated (for the second summer in a row) at 7-0 and not only by capturing the first Vegas Summer League Championship. The biggest story of the Vegas Summer League was the improvement and emergence of combo-guard Kent Bazemore.
Bazemore’s averages of 18 points per game, 4 rebounds per game and 3 assists per game did not do him justice. His calming floor presence and leadership were evident in the Warriors’ run to the championship, “The only time I kick my feet up and relax is right before bed,” Bazemore told Warriors’ play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald during an interview in July. Warriors’ Head Coach, Mark Jackson and the rest of his coaching staff have to be thrilled about the work ethic of their young guard.
The smooth lefty handled the ball at the end of each close game and seemingly always delivered if not a clutch bucket, making the right basketball play. Bazemore’s jump shot looked much better as he may have found a go-to spot on that right elbow. Although Bazemore may have been mostly a fan-favorite and a situational player for getting one stop last season the now second year player out of Old Dominion looks ready to take on a bigger role and contribute in solid minutes.
That brings us to the four year veteran point guard out of Florida State, Toney Douglas. Ever since his playing days with the Seminoles, Douglas has been able to get after it on the defensive end with a great motor. Stephen Curry may have no fun being checked by Douglas in practice this year which fits right into Coach Jackson’s defense-first philosophy. The 6’2 guard and younger brother of the Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Harry Douglass will play hard and fit in nicely with Bazemore in a very defensive oriented back-up backcourt.
Then we have the man who’s been dubbed the “Derrick Rose of Europe” by some ESPN analysts, Nemanja Nedovic. Now that may be a stretch and a comparison like the Timberwolves’ Alexy Shved may be more suitable but the athleticism is there. The 6’3 Serbian point guard tested to have ridiculous 41 inch vertical and was often seen at the rim with his European club Lietuvos Rytas last season.
Nedovic missed the Vegas Summer League due to an ankle sprain that he sustained in practice but he should be ready to go by the start of the season. Nedovic’s minutes may not be there early but things happen and players may get hurt. If the 22 year old plays well he may find himself in the rotation sooner than expected. It doesn’t hurt that he has one of the greatest point guards of all time in Mark Jackson there to help his development.
So the answer to Jarrett Jack’s replacement may not be with one player, but by committee. Between Bazemore, Douglass, Nedovic and the much anticipated and newly acquired swingman Andre Iguodala, Golden State will have the ball in good hands this season. Oh yeah, and that Stephen Curry guy isn’t bad either.