Mike Dunleavy Jr. on the Warriors’ Center Spot: Emphasizing Skill and Feel Over Height [Watch]

The Golden State Warriors have always been known for their fast-paced, high-scoring style of play. Led by sharpshooting guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the team revolutionized the NBA with their “small ball” lineup, often opting to play without a traditional center. However, with the game evolving and teams placing a greater emphasis on size and physicality, the Warriors’ approach to the center position has come under scrutiny.

Warriors executive Mike Dunleavy recently spoke about the team’s strategy regarding the center spot, shedding light on their plans for the future. While acknowledging the need for size in certain situations, Dunleavy stressed the importance of skill and feel when evaluating potential additions to the roster.

“We gotta be careful with the way we play just bringing in somebody who is tall,” Dunleavy explained. “You gotta be skilled. You gotta have feel.”

Dunleavy’s comments reflect the Warriors’ commitment to maintaining their unique style of play, which heavily relies on spacing, ball movement, and three-point shooting. Adding a traditional, hulking center without the necessary skills could disrupt the team’s flow and hinder their ability to exploit mismatches on the offensive end.

In recent years, the Warriors have experimented with a variety of players at the center position, often opting for versatile forwards who can defend multiple positions and stretch the floor with their shooting. This approach allows the team to maintain their fast-paced tempo while still providing enough size and rim protection on the defensive end.

Dario Saric, who the Warriors acquired in a recent trade, is an example of a player who fits the mold of what Dunleavy described. While not a traditional center, Saric brings a unique skill set to the frontcourt. Standing at 6’10”, he possesses the size to hold his own against bigger opponents, but it’s his basketball IQ, passing ability, and shooting touch that make him an intriguing addition to the team.

Saric’s ability to stretch the floor and make quick decisions with the ball aligns perfectly with the Warriors’ style of play. He can provide valuable minutes at the center spot while also allowing the team to maintain their preferred pace and space on offense.

However, Dunleavy’s remarks also indicate that the Warriors may still be open to exploring further options to bolster their frontcourt. Whether it’s through the final roster spot or a two-way contract, the team will continue to prioritize skill and feel over mere size.

This approach highlights the Warriors’ commitment to maintaining their identity as a team that values basketball IQ and finesse over brute force. It’s a philosophy that has brought them tremendous success in the past, and they aim to continue that trend in the future.

As the game of basketball continues to evolve, the Warriors’ innovative approach to the center position serves as a testament to their willingness to adapt while staying true to their principles. By focusing on players with the right mix of size, skill, and feel, they ensure that their unique style of play remains effective in today’s NBA landscape.

So, while the Warriors may consider adding size in the last roster spot or a two-way contract, it is clear that they will be looking for players who can seamlessly fit into their system and make a positive impact on the court. The center spot may not always be filled with a towering presence, but as long as the player possesses the necessary skills and basketball instincts, the Warriors will continue to thrive with their signature brand of basketball.

What do you think?

Written by Byron Nelson

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