Kerr has to blend new with the old

Casspi, Young, Bell will find play­ing time varies nightly

The Mercury News - - Sports - By Carl Stew­ard cstew­ard@ ba­yare­anews­

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 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 bet­ter.

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. 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, mul­ti­fac­eted de­fender, which is hard to find,” Kerr said.

It didn’t take long for Kerr to in­te­grate Pa­trick McCaw last sea­son when he proved he can han­dle the sit­u­a­tion. 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. The coach’s skill, how­ever, has al­ways been no­ti­fy­ing player on the amount of time they may or may not get, par­tic­u­larly role-play­ing re­serves.

“I told Nick that he’s go­ing to make a ma­jor im­pact on our team, but this is a dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion than he’s ever been in,” Kerr said. “This is the deep­est team he’ll ever play on, prob­a­bly the deep­est team we’ll ever have here. So there are times he won’t get much of a look, and there’ll be times when he’s start­ing and scor­ing 25 points. That’s the chal­lenge of be­ing on a team like this, but he wants it. He’s been on a lot of bad teams in his ca­reer.”

Young main­tains he un­der­stood the ground rules even be­fore de­cid­ing to sign with the War­riors.

“I knew that com­ing in,” Young said. “Coach and I talked about that, he said not to get frus­trated, just stay with the course of the game and that at the end of the day, you’ll be play­ing for a cham­pi­onship. I think I’d be more Swaggy P. with a ring than any­thing.”

Casspi is the real wild card of the three be­cause it’s clear he is more than just a shooter, and ac­cord­ing to Curry, he has the po­ten­tial to thrive in the War­riors’ sys­tem im­me­di­ately.

“Omri, his game is so well suited to how we play, and you can al­ready see that just from our pre­sea­son games,” Curry said. “He moves with­out the ball well, he’s a shooter, he’s a slasher, he’s a great passer. He’s made com­ments about how much fun it is to play in this type of sys­tem be­cause ev­ery­body gets in­volved, and he has a chance to be im­pact­ful on ev­ery pos­ses­sion whether he has the ball or not.”

“He just knows how to play,” said Kerr of Casspi. “Our style re­quires quick recog­ni­tion of con­cepts and floor bal­ance and cut­ting. First day, the pat­terns he rec­og­nizes … it’s re­ally fun to watch. It’s fun to have him here.”

It should be fun to have all three play­ers here, the ques­tion of hav­ing the most im­pact may not mat­ter. It may be a case of “all of the above,” which is not what War­riors’ op­po­nents are go­ing to like hear­ing, or worse yet, see­ing.

• The War­riors an­nounced with NBC Sports Bay Area that Kerith Burke has been hired as the side­line re­porter for the team’s re­gional tele­casts. Burke re­places Rosalyn Gold-On­wude, who joined Turner Sports for TNT’s na­tional tele­casts.


Coach Kerr sees a role for Jor­dan Bell, but it will be hard to find nightly play­ing time for the rookie big man with sev­eral vet­er­ans ahead of him.

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