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Steve Kerr reveals roles Donte DiVincenzo, JaMychal Green will play for Warriors

Warriors, Steve Kerr

The Golden State Warriors didn’t run it back after all. But just because the defending champions’ departures in free agency leave their bench completely overhauled doesn’t necessarily mean the Warriors’ depth is any less impressive than it was last season.

Just ask Steve Kerr.

In a sprawling Q&A with Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Kerr extolled the virtues of Golden State free agent signing Donte DiVincenzo, an ostensible replacement for Gary Payton II.

“Donte is a perfect fit for the way we play,” he said. “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.”

The Warriors agreed to terms with DiVincenzo shortly after news broke that Payton took a three-year, $26.1 million contract from the Portland Trail Blazers. While he’s not nearly as disruptive a defender or explosive a finisher as Young Glove, DiVincenzo is nevertheless a snug two-way fit for Golden State, offering at least a facsimile of what Payton provided while also stretching the floor to the arc.

Don’t be surprised if he’s on the floor for the Warriors during high-leverage minutes throughout the regular season, and even the playoffs depending on matchups.

JaMychal Green’s role with his new team isn’t quite so defined. But after watching Otto Porter sign with the Toronto Raptors and Nemanja Bjelica head back overseas, Golden State indeed has a hole up front—especially against teams that play small.

“He’s the logical replacement for Otto and Beli,” Kerr said of Green. “One guy replacing two. He’s capable of sort of playing either role, the four or the five. If he’s playing with Draymond, he can stretch the floor and can guard the five, while Draymond guards the four. He gives us frontcourt flexibility.”

The Warriors signed Green to a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum after he was bought out from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If he’d shot better than an easy career-worst 26.6% from deep with the Denver Nuggets last season, it’s safe to say the free agent market would’ve been much more kind to the 31-year-old. Kerr isn’t worried about Green’s jumper, though.

Feeding off attention paid to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Green should have a steady diet of open looks from deep, all Kerr believes he’ll need to prove last year’s shooting struggles were an outlier.

“I have a lot of confidence he’ll shoot the ball well. Players generally shoot the ball better with us, I think,” Kerr said. “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.”

Golden State won’t just be relying on summer additions to offset the loss of Payton, Porter, Bjelica and other deep bench players. Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga are primed for rotation minutes as sophomores, and even James Wiseman should have a semi-regular role behind Kevon Looney.

If the Warriors repeat as champions, though, getting proven contributors like DiVincenzo and Green on the cheap will have no doubt loomed large to their fifth title in 10 seasons.

[Anthony Slater, The Athletic]