OAKLAND – Warriors fans hoping to see expanded minutes and tangible blossoming from the team’s stable of athletic young big men could be in for a bit of disappointment this season. Those young big men could be in for some disappointment, too.
It’s not that they haven’t made progress. It’s just that the odds are pretty dauntingly stacked against the kids. With a six-pack of centers, which doesn’t even include the Draymond Green chaser, finding time for the aspiring hopefuls – namely Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and rookie Jordan Bell — not only will be exceedingly difficult for coach Steve Kerr but probably not very prudent.
You’ve got the veteran returnees — Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and David West — in front of them. That trio combined to average more than 40 minutes a game last season — Pachulia 18.1, West 12.6 and McGee 9.6. Injuries to Pachulia and West opened up a few chances for younger guys, but they were small, isolated windows of opportunity and most of the meaningful ones went to James Michael McAdoo.
Behind the vets are the three big men the Warriors have drafted in each of the last three years — Looney, Jones and now Bell. Looney got in 53 games last year but averaged just 8.4 minutes, much of it in garbage time. Jones played in just 10 games after a shoulder injury delayed the start of his season and spent much of the season getting to know the town of Santa Cruz (where team’s the developmental league team plays) all too well. Bell, meanwhile, as “draft-steal” promising as he may be, is still a second-round draft pick with a whole lot to learn.
Hence, even with McAdoo gone via free agency and Anderson Varejao a distant memory, there are still six who will play almost exclusively in the post. Add in Green, who moves to the center spot when the Warriors go to their small “Death Lineup,” and Kerr will be manipulating a veritable…