OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Mark Jackson, ever the proclaimer, put his reputation on the line with a bold claim after practice Thursday.
"I know Stephen Curry and David Lee won't be as bad offensively as they were," Jackson said. "I'll go out on a limb and say that."
No doubt Jackson really believes Curry and Lee will shoot better than 4 for 30 from the field when the Warriors host Memphis in Friday's home opener. But a big reason Jackson is not too worried is, should any of his starters struggle, he has a Plan B for each of them.
The Warriors' season-opening victory at Phoenix on Wednesday illustrated how valuable their depth will be this season. It is a strength that management has been touting for months. The Warriors' two first-round picks -- Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli -- and the veterans they acquired during the offseason have added a new dimension.
"We are deep at every position," Jackson said. "We have guys that can start and guys that can finish coming off the bench at every position."
Veteran point guard Jarrett Jack showed his value in the fourth quarter. With Curry struggling through one of the worst games of his career, Jack served as a steadying hand down the stretch. He allowed Curry to play off the ball, relieving some pressure and giving the Warriors some defensive toughness down the stretch.
Forward Carl Landry already is making general manager Bob Myers look like a genius. Signed late in the offseason
He allows the Warriors to match up with small lineups and makes Jackson feel a lot more comfortable with resting Lee. And, apparently, he gives the Warriors a place to go down the stretch. Against Phoenix, he scored 12 points in the final nine minutes.
Barnes didn't register much of a blip on the radar. But because he started, Brandon Rush was able to play a vital role off the bench.
And Ezeli impressed teammates with his physicality and aggressiveness. He will start Saturday at the Los Angeles Clippers so that center Andrew Bogut can sit out the second game of a back-to-back set.
"Guys off the bench were amazing," Jack said.
The challenge for Jackson is formulating a rotation for these creatures of habit. The opener had a random feel as Jackson went by his sense of the game. But if the opener was any indication, some guys will need steady minutes for the Warriors to be successful: specifically Jack, Landry and Rush.
What does that mean for the other guys? Jackson said he doesn't foresee any problems with egos.
"At least I don't think so, because I've been honest from Day 1," Jackson said. "If you don't play down the stretch or the (play) calls that you like, if you are for this team, it won't be an issue. If you are for yourself, we're going to have problems. But I've got a good group of guys."
Of course, bench production won't always be as desperate a need as it was Wednesday. Unless Curry and Lee struggle through similar scoring droughts regularly.