How do the five players fighting for the final roster spot stack up after one game?
The Golden State Warriors have five players competing for the 15th and final roster spot: training camp invites Jordan Bell, Avery Bradley, and Langston Galloway, as well as 2020-21 players who signed non-guaranteed multi-year deals Mychal Mulder and Gary Payton II.
And they have five games to figure out which of those players to keep.
The first of those five preseason games happened yesterday, when the Dubs took down the Portland Trail Blazers 121-107. So let’s take a look at the power rankings for those five players fighting to make the team.
It’s worth noting that the Warriors don’t have to use the 15th roster spot, and have openly spoken about the possibility that they might keep it open. It’s also worth noting that they have one two-way contract spot available, with Mulder the only one of the five eligible to take it.
But for the sake of this article, let’s assume they’ll use the 15th roster spot, and forget about the two-way slot.
Here then, are the 15th roster spot power rankings, which will be updated after every preseason game.
5. Langston Galloway
vs. Blazers: 9 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 2 fouls, 0-for-4 shooting, 0-for-3 three-point shooting
Galloway is better than his stat line on Monday suggests, but he’s fighting a steep uphill battle against three other guards. He’s not the shooter that Mulder is, he’s not the defender that Payton is, and he doesn’t have the pedigree that Bradley has.
He’s probably still an NBA contributor, but it’s hard to see him leapfrogging those three players, and the fact that he played the second-fewest minutes on the team — ahead of only rookie Moses Moody — suggests the Warriors feel similarly.
4. Jordan Bell
vs. Blazers: DNP — Personal Reasons
Bell didn’t play, but he remains ahead of Galloway in the rankings. It’s not really an endorsement of Bell, so much as the reality of the Warriors situation. Golden State has only two centers on their roster, and one of them, James Wiseman, is injured and still doesn’t have a timetable for his return.
The Dubs will likely just go small, with Draymond Green, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Nemanja Bjelica, and Otto Porter Jr. all playing up a position from time to time. But if they’re worried about lacking size — or worse, if Kevon Looney suffers an injury — Bell is the only big left in camp to fill in.
3. Avery Bradley
vs. Blazers: 15 minutes, 7 points, 3 steals, 3-for-9 shooting, 1-for-6 three-point shooting
Bradley didn’t look good on Monday and, if we’re being frank, he hasn’t looked good in a few years. He’s not the player he once was, and despite his confident proclamations, he looks more like a liability than an asset as a defender. He’s not a good enough three-point shooter to make up for that, and it feels like his clearest path to making the roster is having one of the Warriors leaders vouch for him. Which isn’t out of the equation, given that Bradley is a respected veteran.
2. Gary Payton II
vs. Blazers: DNP — Hernia
The timing of Payton’s hernia is pretty rough, and it’s hard not to feel for him. But the good news is that the Warriors know what they have in the defensively-tenacious point guard; he spent time on the roster last year, and also was on the Dubs’ Summer League squad.
It’s hard to see Payton making the roster if he can’t get on the court at some point this preseason, but the Warriors have seen enough of him to keep him ahead of players like Bradley and Galloway, given their respective performances.
1. Mychal Mulder
vs. Blazers: 12 minutes, 9 points, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 3-for-6 shooting, 3-for-6 three-point shooting
As Marc detailed earlier today, this could be one of the deepest shooting teams the Warriors have had. That hurts Mulder’s chances, as shooting is pretty much the only thing he provides. The Warriors desperately needed that a year ago, but might not be in as much need for it this year.
Still, the Warriors were in the upper-third in defense a year ago, and in the lower-third in offense. Mulder is the only one of these five players who is a clear positive on offense, and that was on display on Monday.