Gary Payton II became an unlikely X-factor for the Warriors last season.
After initially being waived, Payton earned the 15th and final roster spot on Golden State before opening night and played his way into a major pay raise this offseason.
Could this year’s training camp roster contain the next Payton?
The Warriors have 13 players signed for this season and have reserved their 14th spot for Andre Iguodala if he decides to return. Whether Golden State, owner of the league’s highest payroll, chose to fill their 15th opening will be determined in training camp, which opens Saturday.
Here’s a look at the six potential candidate vying for that last spot:
Quinndary Weatherspoon turned heads with his impressive defense against Klay Thompson as the Warriors star worked his way back from his most recent injury. That earned him a 10-day deal, which turned into a two-way opportunity that landed him on the bench throughout the Warriors’ championship run. He seems the most likely to earn a permanent spot on the roster given his defensive abilities and the way he’s improved his offense.
Lester Quiñones signed a two-way deal with the Warriors after going undrafted out of Memphis, where he was teammates and roommates with James Wiseman for a year. Quiñones has a shot at cracking the NBA roster this season, but still has areas of his game he needs to grow.
Jerome Robinson averaged 20.2 points with the Santa Cruz Warriors last season but hasn’t been able to replicate his shooting from 3-point land that he had at Boston College that helped him become the 13th overall pick from the 2018 NBA draft. He’s a longshot to make the opening night roster.
Mac McClung is coming off an impressive showing at summer league for the Warriors. The 2022 G League Rookie of the Year might have the best shot at earning a spot in the NBA, but that could depend on second-round pick Ryan Rollins, who missed the summer action and hadn’t been cleared for contact earlier this month due to a foot injury.
Exhibit 10 contracts
Pat Spencer averaged 6.5 points and four assists per game with the Wizards’ summer league team after spending last season with their G League affiliate. His college lacrosse star turned basketball player makes for a good story, but it’s more likely he’ll return to the G League to develop his game.
Trevion Williams was crowned the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year award last season and played well this summer, averaging 7.4 points and 6.6 rebounds. He’s another player who’ll get the chance to grow in the G League.
Note: The Warriors on Wednesday signed Dusty Hannahs to an Exhibit 10 contract with the intention of waiving him so he can be added to their G League roster. The move has no impact on the open roster spot for Iguodala, who has yet to decide whether he’ll return or retire.
Contributed by local news sources