Warriors' Omari Spellman putting in work, will be ready for more minutes

Logan Murdock
NBC Sports BayArea

SAN FRANCISCO -- For much of Omari Spellman's life, he's fought to shed misconceptions that have surrounded him.

A pudgy kid from Cleveland, he'd make a point to dribble the ball the length of the court and dunk like a guard in rec centers when the neighborhood kids would tell him to get in the post. In the last six months, he's fought the perception of being lazy, shedding more than 50 pounds last summer. 

His latest fight -- getting on the court for a battered Warriors team -- has forced the 22-year-old forward to go back to a statement that's pushed him all along. 

"Just hooping," Spellman said after Golden State's 111-104 loss to the Detroit Pistons at Chase Center. "When they call my name, I got to be ready."

The strategy worked Saturday night, as Spellman scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed five rebounds, showing his array of offensive skills. Five minutes into the second quarter, he hit a 3-pointer in front of the Warriors' bench. A minute later, he hit another 3-pointer from the left wing. By the end of the first half, he'd scored 14 points, and he helped the Warriors bench outscore Detroit's 77-53 by the end of the night.

"I just was going out and trying to play aggressive and seize the opportunity," Spellman said. "I don't want to lay down and just accept losing minutes. I'm going to stay ready, but I'm not going to take that lying down. I want to prove that I can play. That I should be out there."

Similar performances have been sparse for Spellman this season. Entering Saturday's game, he was shooting just 43 percent from the field. Over his previous five appearances, he'd averaged just nine minutes, as he was supplanted in the lineup by fellow big men Willie Cauley-Stein and Marquese Chriss. Worse, an illness kept Spellman out of two games last week, impeding his progress. 

"It was just annoying," Spellman said. "I just had no energy, which, anybody that knows me, it's not like me. So they saw me, they looked at me and said 'Man, go home.' " 

However, Spellman began to show life two nights ago, scoring 10 points in 22 minutes in a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, including a poster dunk over former Warriors forward Jordan Bell.

While Spellman's time in the Bay Area hasn't been fruitful, the trust of his team hasn't waned. Three months ago, the Warriors picked up his contract option, giving him a chance to be in their long-term plans.

Such assurances show how far Spellman has come. He shed all that weight over the summer with the help of the Warriors' training staff, impressing his coaches along the way.

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"All you have to do is look at him physically to see where he's come from," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Starting from training camp to now. Really proud of him, and he's earned himself some minutes going forward for sure."

With the newfound trust, Spellman will have to go back to the credo that's taken him to this point.
 
"I'm don't make the decisions," he said. "I'm ready when they call my name."

Warriors' Omari Spellman putting in work, will be ready for more minutes originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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