The Warriors sorely missed a big presence down low in their season opening 129-100 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night, allowing the visitors to score 50 points in the paint while being out rebounded on the offensive glass 21-8.
The issue is an indicator that the Warriors are still adjusting to the loss of Andrew Bogut, one of the best rim protecting and rebounding big men in the NBA. Golden State may not have a true successor to the big Aussie on the roster currently, but former Warriors forward Antawn Jamison thinks that surprise signing Javale McGee may be the best option at center going forward.
“If he’s able to focus and realize that he can contribute so much to this team with his length and his athletic ability, he’s one of those guys that could come off that bench and control that paint,” Jamison told The Audible on KNBR 1050. “I could see him eventually becoming a starter or getting starter minutes. They need someone to make an effort to protect that paint and make it difficult for their opponent.”
McGee hasn’t averaged more than 20 minutes a game since the 2011-12 season where he put together a line of 11.3 pts, 7.8 rebs, and 2.2 blks per game. Still at seven-feet tall and with a wingspan of 7′ 6″, McGee is certainly the biggest body the Warriors could use to deter other teams from pounding the ball down low.
Regardless of if McGee ends up being a serviceable option, Jamison says Golden State will sorely miss the presence of Bogut and everything he brought to the table.
“Anderson Varajao and Zaza (Pachulia) are great defenders but as far as protecting that rim, they are not Bogut, and I think now they are kind’ve realizing that,” Jamison continued. “I think they miss his dynamic as far as controlling the paint and just being satisfied with ‘that’s my job I make sure it’s difficult for guys in the paint’. You see last night San Antonio was getting backdoor cuts, layups, things of that nature.
Listen to the full interview below.