According to head coach Mark Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal be the starting center for the Golden State Warriors in the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson says Jermaine O’Neal will start in place of injured center Andrew Bogut for Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series at theLos Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
Jackson said Friday that he wants O’Neal to start because it’s easier for the 35-year-old veteran to stay loose.
via Jermaine O’Neal to start vs. Clips | ESPN Los Angeles
With Andrew Bogut sidelined ‘indefinitely’ with what was diagnosed as a fractured rib, Jackson was forced to go to the bench in an attempt to replace Bogut’s impact and O’Neal is as close as he’ll get. Opting not to go small, Jackson placing O’Neal in the starting lineup up allows the Warriors to salvage some kind of protection in the paint. According to NBA.com’s player tracking system, opponents shot 47.9 percent when O’Neal defended the rim. For comparison, Bogut allowed opponents to shoot 45 percent at the rim. Not too shabby considering many refer to Andrew Bogut as a top-3 Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee on the floor beside him, O’Neal will be asked to do little offensively. If he can keep DeAndre Jordan, the league leader in rebounds, contained and off the glass, his impact will be felt the most.
The highly-anticipated Clippers-Warriors series kicks off at 3:30 P.M. Saturday.