OAKLAND -- The Warriors concluded the preseason Thursday with a 90-74 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena.
Golden State survived the exhibition season with no major injuries to its key players. The Warriors also began infiltrating new players into the fold and developing chemistry. But a major question has emerged.
Where will the Warriors get points off the bench?
The holes left by guard Jarrett Jack and forward Carl Landry, both of whom signed elsewhere this summer, stand out every time Golden State's second unit checks in. They were reliable weapons off the bench, Jack with his make-it-happen offense and Landry with his low-post game.
But none of the current backup guards -- Toney Douglas, Kent Bazemore or Nemanja Nedovic -- look comfortable creating offense. And the Warriors are getting nothing inside from the bigs off the bench. Marreese Speights seems married to his midrange jumper, though he shoots it well, and Jermaine O'Neal can't find a rhythm in the post.
Some of that will be alleviated with Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson on the second unit (probably Thompson for this very reason). But the offensive struggles figure to put added pressure on the starters.
With eight minutes left in the game and his team down 17, Warriors coach Mark Jackson put four of his starters back in the game. Portland had gone on a 22-0 run in the third quarter as Golden State went ice cold.
Jackson said in a normal situation, he would keep at least one primary offensive player in the game with the second unit, but he might have to mix in one reserve with the starters.
"It is somewhat of a concern, but not overly concerned," Jackson said. "In a normal game, somebody would've been in there. (Someone with) a calming effect and not just a scoring mentality. Someone who can get us good looks and know when to stop the bleeding."
Golden State's starters were supposed to see a decline in minutes this season, but can the Warriors afford to go elongated stretches without scoring or have leads erased because they can't stop other teams' runs?
"We've got guys coming off our bench that can fulfill a role," Jackson said. "And we also went and got Andre (Iguodala) for that reason. So we're not going to overreact. It is a process. ... It'll play itself out, and we're going to be fine."
"We're going to stay true to the process," Jackson said before Thursday's game. "I guess you could say there's a possibility. We're not sure."
The Warriors, including Barnes, are mum on the details. Jackson said he didn't think it's from a previous injury and that the recourse for it is rest. According to one source in the organization, playing on it comes with some level of risk, so the Warriors are hoping to get it completely healed.
Barnes' last action was Oct. 7 against the Kings. He checked out for good not even six minutes into the game. He hasn't practiced with the team or played in any games since. If that pattern remains, Barnes will have 22 days of rest by the morning of the season opener.
"We want to make sure that he's healthy and whole," Jackson said. "And to his credit and to the staff's credit, he's doing everything he could possibly do to make sure that he's ready. But we want to be smart about this, also."
Jackson said he would decide his 15th man after the final preseason game. It sounds like, in the end, the Warriors will chose size. Dedmon, a 7-footer who Jackson said can play center or power forward, gives the Warriors a sixth big man.
Dedmon and Curry have agreed to play for the Santa Cruz Warriors should they not make the team.
The NBA Development League has a rule that allows up to three players cut from an NBA roster to be allocated to that team's D-League affiliate.
L.A. Lakers at Warriors, 7:30 p.m. CSNBA