Two weeks after winning the NBA title, the Warriors were faced with decisions on how to replace three important members of the championship roster. With Gary Payton II, Otto Porter and Nemanja Bjelica leaving in free agency, the team targeted Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green to take their place. In an interview with Anthony Slater of The Athletic, coach Steve Kerr said both players are ideal matches for Golden State’s style.
“Donte is a perfect fit for the way we play,” Kerr said of the former Bucks and Kings guard. “The ball movement, the cutting. He’s a great cutter. He’s a really good spot-up shooter. He’s a good passer on the move. He’s not just a spot-up shooter. He’s a secondary playmaker. Pretty bouncy, but with a great feel for the game. He’s gonna fit right in.”
DiVencenzo committed to Golden State shortly after free agency began, while Green was persuaded to sign with the Warriors after initially planning to join another team. Kerr sees Green as a replacement for both Porter and Bjelica as he possesses elements of both of their games.
“He’s capable of sort of playing either role, the four or the five,” Kerr said. “If he’s playing with Draymond (Green), he can stretch the floor and can guard the five, while Draymond guards the four. He gives us frontcourt flexibility. I have a lot of confidence he’ll shoot the ball well. Players generally shoot the ball better with us, I think. That’s not always true. But the space that Steph and Klay provide them along with Draymond’s passing. You saw it with Otto and Gary last year. I think JaMychal will love playing with our guys.”
Here are some other highlights of Kerr’s interview:
On the challenges the Warriors will face in defending a title, compared to last year when they were trying to prove they could still be contenders:
“I don’t know that it’s a bigger challenge because last year felt like a huge challenge going in. Last year felt more daunting because we’d had two lousy seasons in a row. This year feels different because we’re the defending champs. It feels like we’ve got our groove back. We’ll have Klay (Thompson) back for a full season. Our foundation in place. While we’re absolutely going to play a lot of young guys, we kind of have a core six, a foundational six players who are really the ones that make everything happen and will allow us to bring the young guys along.”
“All of them have shown really good signs . JK had a stretch last year where — I think it was March, early April — he played really well and started to get more comfortable. He didn’t get as much run in the playoffs, but that’s normal for a rookie, especially once we were fully healthy.
“Moses looks the part. He’s got a more advanced, well-rounded game than JK right now in terms of how it fits with the others. That 3-and-D position. He projects to be a part of things next year. He showed it in the playoffs against Dallas.
“Then James I actually think had some really good moments his rookie year. It gets lost in the shuffle because overall it was a struggle for our team and James had ups and downs. But you remember he had some really big games for us. As he continues to build momentum and gain confidence in his body and skills, I think he’ll help us.”
On the Warriors’ approach with Andre Iguodala, who has a roster spot waiting if he decides to return:
“I leave Andre alone. He knows where we stand. If he wants to come back, we’d love to have him. The one thing we feel strongly about with Andre is we want to give him whatever space and time he needs to make a decision. I’m leaving him alone. Whenever he makes his decision is fine with us.”