The Golden State Warriors are pulling out all the stops as they prepare to participate in the NBA Play-In Tournament. On Saturday, the Dubs made an under-the-radar move to shore up their depth.

Two-way center Usman Garuba will now fill the club's final roster spot as the regular season comes to close. The Dubs signed the former G-Leaguer to a standard NBA contract on Saturday, making him playoff-eligible, via The Athletic's Shams Charania. With the Warriors being a smaller team, Garuba will give them a bit of size on the back of their bench should they need it in the playoffs.

Usman Garuba comes in handy for a Warriors team lacking size

Golden State Warriors forward Usman Garuba (12) dribbles the ball during Media Day at the Chase Center.
© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

While Garuba has only played in five NBA games this season, he comes with plenty of experience. He played in 99 games across two seasons for the Houston Rockets, averaging about 11.5 minutes per game. This season, the Spanish international has mostly been playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State's G-League affiliate. He averaged 12.5 points and 10.1 rebounds across 21 games.

Truthfully, Garuba is unlikely to get postseason minutes unless one of the Warriors other big men get hurt. However, should anything happen to Draymond Green, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Kevon Looney, or Dario Saric, the 2021 first-round pick will be next in line to get some run.

With the Warriors being the NBA's shortest team, the 6-foot-8 power forward could be crucial to their interior defense. Golden State entered the season with an average height of just 6 feet and 5.4 inches, via For context, that's 2.5 inches less than the Denver Nuggets, who rank as the league's tallest squad. In a game that can often come down to slim margins, that could be the difference between a blocked shot or a game-winning buzzer beater.

One possible issue with Garuba is that he might not have had time to develop chemistry with his teammates. He averaged only 2.4 minutes across the five games he played this year, with his only two points coming against the Utah Jazz on April 8th. However, he still has plenty of potential to surprise people, as Warriors head coach Steve Kerr mentioned on March 21st via

“I really like ‘Usi'. He is a talented young player,” Kerr said. “He's big and strong. He has a big wingspan so even though he's not that tall, defensively he can match up with bigger, taller people.”

With teams like the Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Minnesota Timberwolves all sporting formidable big men, Garuba's wingspan could be invaluable for Golden State's rim protection. The Lakers and Timberwolves are seventh and eighth on the NBA height rankings, respectively, so the 22-year-old would be helping a significantly outsized team no matter who they play.

“I think that at the moment ‘Usi' has to play as a ‘5' unless he has a big player and shooter at his side,” Kerr continued. “He could play as a ‘4' if he has a five at his side. But he has to refine his game and find his niche, whether with our team or with another.”

To be fair, Garuba getting playing time would go a long way towards refining his game. Either way, this is a major development for the former Real Madrid player's career, and it could help raise his stock as he looks for a longer-term deal to establish himself in the big leagues.