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OAKLAND – The Warriors are hoping Jordan Crawford can come off their points-poor bench and be a jolt of energy, a game-changer and, above all, a combo guard capable of lightening the workloads of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Crawford, less than a week after coming over from Boston, considers himself the right man for the job.
"They brought me in here mostly to keep the pace going for whenever Curry and Klay need a rest," he said. "They basically told me to just come in and be myself, make plays and score the ball."
The bench woes have been a hot topic for most of the season. After getting solid play last season, led by Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, each of whom left as a free agent, the Warriors this season have experienced steep drop-offs subbing out starters.
Curry and Thompson are among league leaders in minutes played mostly because the Warriors have had the lowest bench scoring in the NBA.
The most talented reserve, second-year forward Harrison Barnes, has been disappointing. Power forward Marreese Speights tends to run hot or cold and offers little when his shot isn't falling. The sub-mediocre play of Toney Douglas, brought in as a combo guard, forced general manager Bob Myers to go shopping. He swapped Douglas for the more dynamic though sometimes erratic Crawford.
"I'm a rhythm guy," he said, "so I seek to give the team what's needed. In some games, I'll have to score. In some games, I'll get my teammates involved and maybe score later in the game. I really just go off of whatever I see and feel at the time"
"I want all of us to step up for the first unit. They work hard to even get a lead, so you don't want to let them down."
Crawford is averaging 6.7 points on 53.3 percent shooting (57.1 from 3-point distance) and 14 minutes per game. His playing time should go up as he becomes more familiar with his teammates.
Crawford, 25, already has a vision for the bench crew.
"It's been three games, three different games," he said. "I know next time I want to come in and get the bench going, let everybody know how we're going to play. Let's run pick-and-rolls, play off each other. Let's get Harrison some shots, get Mo going in the post and just get things balanced out.
"We want to let everybody know how we're going to be coming off the bench, every game, so we can have our own identity that's separate from the first unit."