Rough shooting start for forward Radmanovic
LOS ANGELES -- In an ideal Warriors world, forward Vladimir Radmanovic is the perfect sub.
He's got enough skill to play small forward and enough size (6-foot-10, 235 pounds) to play power forward. He can shoot from the outside, which stretches the defense, and he can put pressure on the defense by getting to the basket.
That's in the ideal Warriors world. That's the setting coach Keith Smart is trying to plant in Radmanovic's head.
"He's so valuable," Smart said. "I told him from Day 1, 'You are so valuable to our basketball team. You're valuable because you're so versatile.' He came back to camp in great shape. He had a great workout this summer. When you look at him on film, you see he's doing some things pretty well."
Smart said he's been impressed with Radmanovic's defense. While acknowledging Radmanovic isn't a one-on-one defensive stopper, Smart said Radmanovic understands the team concepts and positioning. Smart said he also likes how physical Radmanovic plays defense against other perimeter players.
But, so far this season, one aspect of Radmanovic's game hasn't been ideal. He can't seem to make shots.
"If he's out there, he needs to make shots," Smart said. "I think it will come around. He's working at it, working his tail off. And now we've got to get it to where he's knocking down his outside shot consistently."
Radmanovic entered Sunday's game 1 for 9 from the field this season, his one made basket coming from 3-point range. He then went 0 for 4 in the first half against the Lakers. Including two missed shots from close range Sunday, Radmanovic started the season missing his first five layups.
Ordinarily, such lack of production isn't cause for extreme concern, especially so early into the season. But for Radmanovic, this rough start shooting comes on the heels of the worst season of his career. He was traded by Charlotte, which he said affected him. He missed 41 games last season, many because of an Achilles injury.
He wound up setting career lows in field goal percentage (38.5) and 3-point percentage (26.7).
"It becomes frustrating when your biggest weapon is not there," Radmanovic said. "You start thinking about it, but I'm trying to just forget everything about last year. Last year was really bad year for me. ... I'm a big guy who can shoot. That's how everybody recognizes me here in this league. But you have to be able to prove it."
-- MARCUS THOMPSON II