There’s no sugar-coating the situation for the Golden State Warriors. Despite the prevailing belief that the team’s bench would once again be a source of strength this season — some gut-wrenching offseason departures notwithstanding — the opposite has proved to be true.
In their 1,200 combined minutes through the club’s first 11 games, the Warriors’ non-starters have logged a group plus/minus score of minus-418.
Some of that can be attributed to the fact that Golden State was depending on multiple inexperienced prospects to step into key second-unit roles. But it’s also worth remembering that the team hasn’t been playing with a full deck, as Donte DiVincenzo has missed eight straight games with a hamstring injury.
The combo guard may be back in the fold sooner rather than later, though. Perhaps even as soon as the Warriors’ Friday bout with Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kerr Gives Promising Update on DiVincenzo
When Steve Kerr was asked about DiVincenzo earlier in the week, the Warriors coach expressed optimism that he would be ready to go in time for the Cavs game. Asked on Thursday whether anything had happened to alter that timeline, Kerr held firm on his initial assessment.
“Nope, he came out of the scrimmage yesterday really well,” he reported. “He said he feels great, went through practice today, so I expect him to play.”
Assuming DiVincenzo can actually provide the things that the Warriors were hoping to see when they signed him — shooting, defense, smart basketball, et al. — the bench mob stands to benefit from his return. No one more so than struggling super-sub Jordan Poole.
“We put them together from the first day of camp and they really clicked because Donte can make a play as a ball-handler and take Jordan off the ball and vice versa,” Kerr said. “They’re a good pair together and Donte just brings a lot of energy, gets a lot of offensive rebounds, loose balls.
“So, I think he will help Jordan and help that second group for sure.”
Can DiVincenzo Be a Positive Impact Player for the Warriors?
Regardless of what the reasoning behind the DiVincenzo signing was, it’s difficult to endorse it as a winning move until the two-time NCAA champ can actually execute on the court. And in the three games that he played before the bum hamstring felled him, he wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire.
DiVincenzo is averaging a meager 5.0 points, 1.0 assists and 0.7 rebounds in 14.0 minutes per contest so far. Along the way, the Warriors have been outscored by 21.2 points per 100 possessions when he has been on the court.
He believes that the time he spent away from the team may have actually improved his ability to be effective in his new digs, though.
“When you watch the game on TV and film, it’s a lot easier to see things than it is when you’re in the game, things are moving quick. So, it really slows down for me watching it and I get to see where guys like the ball. I can see where I can take opportunities to be aggressive and you can see certain breakdowns on the defensive end,” he said on Wednesday.
“You never want to do it while you’re hurt and you want to kind of go on the fly, but I think it was a blessing in disguise for me… I’m new, I get to learn from afar and then implement what I’m picking up.”