What does future hold for two-way players Jerome, Lamb? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, takes you inside the team as only she can throughout the season with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram, @KerithBurke.
Hello everyone! As 2022 wraps up, thanks for reading the mailbag, watching "Dubs Talk Live," listening to the "Dubs Talk" podcast, and tuning into NBC Sports Bay Area for all your Warriors coverage. The end of a year always makes me feel grateful for what I have in my life, and a job I love is the best bonus.
Let’s get to your questions! The most popular topics were Golden State's two-way players and Andre Iguodala’s status. All of the question come from Twitter this time.
The future for the two-way players, Anthony Lamb and Ty Jerome, has not formed yet. It’s too early. The trade deadline is Feb. 9. Leading up to that moment, the Warriors must determine if they want to shake up the roster. Once they settle the main roster pieces, then the two-way contracts will be sorted out.
Lamb and Jerome have been impactful. They’ve played important roles in wins. They’re the stop-gap players who help the Warriors buy time for youngsters Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman to develop.
Two-way players can be active for 50 games per season with their big clubs before their contracts must be converted to at least a one-year, minimum-salary deal, should their teams want them to play beyond that limit.
Heading into Friday night's Portland Trail Blazers-Warriors game, Lamb has been active for 28 games. Jerome has been active for 23 games, though he has only played in 20.
I think it will be situational, depending if the Warriors make any trades. Then, do they need an extra forward or an extra guard? Both? Neither?
At this time, the Warriors have one roster spot open.
The Warriors tend to reward their two-way players. It happened with Quinn Cook, Damion Lee, Mychal Mulder and Juan Toscano-Anderson. Although there are no guarantees, Lamb and Jerome should feel good about their contributions.
Of all the people asking about Iguodala, I had to use the question that stated “whither.” Thank you.
Every time coach Steve Kerr talks about Iguodala, he notes the team needs the veteran healthy for the back-half of the season. To be literal regarding when the back-half is, Game 42 is Jan. 10, when the Phoenix Suns visit Chase Center to wrap up the Warriors' current eight-game homestand.
Do I think that will be the exact day for Iguodala’s return? Nope. I’m guessing “back-half” is Kerr's way to describe a time after the All-Star Break. That’s my feeling.
Iguodala is participating in practices, though Kerr was vague about whether the 38-year-old is taking contact. And sometimes Iguodala works out on the Chase Center floor pregame to break a sweat. Via the eye-test, Iguodala looks like he’s in playing shape, but you never know what’s going on in someone’s body.
If you can find the answer, the team would hire you. But there are some things to look at.
Early on, it looked like the starters were way more locked in than the younger players or newer players. The latter's adjustments came slower, which deserves some understanding.
Kerr also was tinkering with combinations. It can be difficult for a player to feel settled when he’s unsure of who’s beside him and how to bring out the best in those teammates. That feeling is magnified on the road. In close finishes, there is something real about the power of fans to give energy to the home team.
Jerome put it like this after the Utah Jazz game: “Honestly, I think we need to grow closer when times get tough. We will, as the season goes on. That’s probably one of the reasons we’re struggling on the road. As a team, we have to come together. It’s easier when you’re playing in front of your home crowd. The other team goes on a mini-run and you can fight right back, and the home crowd’s right there for you. be there for you. On the road, you don’t have that energy to feed off. That’s when you really need each other.”
Jordan Poole would be a starter on any other team. With Golden State, he knows he’s behind Klay Thompson specifically, who is cemented as a starter. I don’t see that changing this season. Perhaps there’s an offseason conversation for both Jordan and Thompson should the need for a change grow so big something has to give.
Right now? They co-exist well. They share the floor in small-ball lineups. And Poole will make his case for starting anytime there’s a spot for him to fill in during an injury.
Poole knew what was up when he signed his extension. That doesn’t mean he has to like being a sixth man or that patience comes easy, but the Warriors telegraphed to Poole he’s the future. For now, that should be enough confidence and money to play nice about whatever role the Warriors ask him to fill.
Gary Payton II signed a three-year, $26 million deal with the Blazers. The Warriors did not want to pay him that much, so he’s gone. It would be foolish for the Warriors to trade for a player they gave up this season. They said goodbye. Who knows what will happen in a few years, but a reunion is not happening any time soon.
I’m looking forward to Payton’s championship ring presentation Friday night. He only played one season here, but the mark he made was huge. I hope he’s healthy soon.
Nothing? Magic? Sage? Injuries can be flukey.
The Warriors will make sure neither Andrew Wiggins nor Steph Curry come back too soon and risk re-aggravation. The Warriors’ trainers and medical staff design regimens that combine strength training, flexibility, nutrition, sleep and hydration support, etc. to make sure all players are in peak form. Being in great shape can make injuries less likely, and make recovery quicker. That’s all the Warriors can control.
Yes, absolutely Curry goes back in the starting lineup. He is the team’s best player and the person everyone else revolves around. He is the system.
A healthy team means the minutes reduce for the role players. It has always been like that.
Kuminga appears to be the most firm in the rotation of the three young players you named. Perhaps Kerr will start to turn to Kuminga before Lamb? It’s all TBD, and a nice problem to have with a healthy team and players competing for minutes. May it bring out the best in everyone.