It's been a painful past few weeks for Warriors guard C.J. Watson.
His body has taken a pounding because of his recent habit of going to the basket. Chalk it up as the latest stage of development.
"It's been rough," Watson said. "I definitely feel it. I'm sore a lot."
Watson attempted 47 free throws in February, the most for any month. He already has 41 attempts in March, with three games remaining.
Known mostly for his midrange jumper, Watson has been putting into play some of the coaching he has received this season. Golden State's coaches have been working with him on his decision-making and ability to create, encouraging him not to rely solely on his jumper.
Coach Don Nelson said Watson has become a much better finisher inside this season. He has noticeably developed his decision-making on the fast break.
But there is still another level to reach.
"He is not that creative of a passer," Nelson said. "He's a good third guard. To be a starter in this league, he has to be a more creative passer. Can he learn that? Sure. I think he can."
Watson has spent time playing point guard alongside both starting guards, rookie Stephen Curry and leading scorer Monta Ellis. He is valuable to Nelson because he can shift between positions, and gets a significant chunk of minutes most games because Nelson likes to use a three-guard offense.
What's more, his defensive style — accumulating steals, which fuels the fast break — is tailor-made for the Warriors' frenetic pace.
Watson, who turns 23 next month, is a restricted free agent this summer. He is hoping his play this season will land him at least a multiyear contract offer. The Warriors can match whatever offer sheet he signs, but Watson said he wouldn't mind staying with the Warriors because he knows he is a good fit.
"Obviously I am going to see what is out there," Watson said. "But I do like it here."
Note: Today the Warriors will sign Reggie Williams for the remainder of the season.