Five players who could help Warriors space floor for Steph originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Steph Curry is the ultimate floor-spacer.
You hear it time and time again from those on the Warriors who coach Curry, play alongside him, and even against him.
His shooting range, which stretches out to just beyond half-court, pulls defenders out all over the place, allowing his teammates to get wide-open.
It sounds like the perfect situation, and it can be. But, this season there were two caveats:
1. The Warriors finished 20th in the NBA in effective field goal percentage while wide open.
2. Because of that, defenses swarmed Curry like never before, leaving him with the worst floor spacing percentile among other players of his caliber.
This summer, the Warriors need to look for players to remedy this — knockdown shooters who will in turn help space the floor.
Bobby Portis, who is currently on the Milwaukee Bucks, is the prototype player Golden State should target for this.
Portis, who shot 50 percent from three on 150 attempts — a percentage only Marcus Morris and Joe Harris surpassed on the same number of shots — has a $3.8 million player option waiting for him at the end of this season.
If he opts to turn it down, it will be because he either wants more money or wants out of Milwaukee. The latter is more unlikely, as the Bucks are making a bid for the Eastern Conference title and a spot in the NBA Finals. So, if he wants more money, the question is how much? And how much could the Warriors offer to make a competitive offer?
Portis would also give the Warriors the veteran presence general manager Bob Myers and Steve Kerr have been candid about needing.
Other players who could help fix this issue are Danny Green, J.J. Redick, Nicolas Batum and Georges Niang.
All of those players have become knock-down shooters who can thrive when they find themselves wide-open — which the league defines as having a defender at least six feet away from them.
Green has had streaky shooting moments, but overall when he gets in the corner, an area of the floor the Warriors desperately need help, he succeeds. Batum, who the Warriors almost signed last year, is also a corner 3-point shooter and would help in this area.
Redick has been one of the most elite shooters in the league throughout his career, so what’s not to like about that?
As for Niang, he has carved out a perfect role for himself in Utah, and it would be surprising if he isn’t sporting a Jazz jersey next year. But, if there is a way he could land on the Warriors, he would give the Warriors more shooting in open space, can hit shots from corner pockets and can play a stretch four.
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Having Klay Thompson back on the floor next season will automatically help the Warriors with their shooting and floor spacing issues. However, it’s still unknown when exactly Thompson will return, and what version of himself he will be. Over two years removed from his last live NBA game, it’s almost certain he won’t be the same lethal shooter he was. At least, not right away.
Curry managed to put up incredible numbers this season despite the double and triple-teams, and box-and-1 one defensive scheme opponents threw his way, but, he cannot, and should not, be expected to do it every night.
He needs help from his teammates — both to knock down the shots he cannot take, and to help him find an inch more room to work.