OAKLAND — At this early stage, it’s tough to say which of the three primary newcomers — Omri Casspi, Nick Young or rookie Jordan Bell — will have the most impact on the Warriors’ 2017-18 season.
But that’s a good question to have to ponder if you’re a Warriors fan — or even a Warriors coach — because after just a few practices and three exhibition games, it’s clear the potential is there for all three players to have a significant impact and make a deep team coming off an NBA championship even deeper and deadlier.
The real mystery is how it’s all going to play out. Magnanimous as he can be, coach Steve Kerr is not going to have a rotation of 15 players.
There are nights Young could be left out of the mix. Other nights it could be Casspi or Bell. In certain situations, all three could spend most of their evening sitting and watching.
But each player also brings his own dimension to the team that could add to the already astounding arsenal of skill, and there’ll be plenty of situations and matchups where the skills of Casspi, Young and Bell can be utilized effectively.
Bell might prove to be the biggest challenge for Kerr to find time. Then again, anyone who watched the rookie dazzle at the end of the second game against Minnesota in China realizes the Draymond Green-like intangibles he adds to the Warriors — none more so than the head coach.
“(Bell) has a great feel for the game and he sees it — he’s a good passer and he’s a modern-day, multi-faceted defender, which is hard to find,” Kerr said.
It didn’t take long for Kerr to integrate Patrick McCaw into certain game settings last season when he proved he can handle them. Based on what he’s seen so far, Kerr said he would feel equally comfortable doing so with Bell at this point.
“I wouldn’t say he’s going to be in the rotation, because he has a lot of guys ahead of him who are obviously very good players,” Kerr said. “But yeah, I’ll put him out there in certain matchups.”
Stephen Curry said he sees a lot of similarities between Bell and McCaw in terms of makeup at a similar early juncture.
“He’s got a pretty high defensive IQ, just knowing where to be and being aggressive,” Curry said. “His confidence is almost how Pat looked last year in preseason when you knew he was a gamer. Whenever he had a chance to impact a game in the preseason, he was ready for that moment.
“The game in Shanghai was just a clinic of defensive awareness, aggressiveness and decisiveness that got us a couple of stops, a couple of steals,” Curry continued. “Then he’s in the right place at the right time at the offensive end to finish some possessions. He has to gain experience, but coach is going to throw him out there and he knows he just has to be ready to play and carry that momentum into the regular season.”
Based on his 10 seasons of NBA service, the sharpshooting Young is probably destined to get a lot more time, but Kerr has advised that the guard’s minutes could fluctuate from game to game, perhaps dramatically. The coach’s skill, however, has always been notifying players on the amount of time they may or may not get, particularly role-playing reserves.