Golden State executive vice president Chris Mullin said that his club is bringing in Watson, a rookie combo guard who was averaging 26.4 points per game with the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers, on a 10-day contract. Watson fills the spot vacated Sunday when the Warriors waived center DJ Mbenga.
With star point guard Baron Davis' minutes becoming an ever-more-pressing concern at 39.4 minutes per game, Davis has the 13th-highest rate in the NBA the hope is that Watson will provide Davis eight or 10 minutes of rest on a given night. That's the role veteran Troy Hudson was going to fill, until he incurred a hip injury that requires season-ending surgery.
The 6-foot-2 Watson spent four seasons at Tennessee, leaving after a senior season in 2005-06 in which he averaged 15.3 points per game, with 42.2-percent shooting on 3-pointers.
Azubuike, who faced Watson as a member of SEC rival Kentucky, said Watson was more of point guard than a shooting guard, although he does possess scoring ability.
"He's solid, he handles it well, and he's a good decision-maker," Azubuike said.
Watson went to Europe last season after going untapped in the NBA draft and fared only moderately well with Reggio Emilia in Italy and PAOK Thessaloniki in Greece. Watson returned
"He's playing very well in the D-League," Warriors coach Don Nelson said, "and we need some help."
OFF THE GLASS: Rookie forward Brandan Wright was in uniform, but Nelson said it wasn't likely he'd use Wright after Wright missed Sunday's practice with the flu. Al Harrington was charged by a joking Nelson of poisoning Wright's coffee, but he denied any such activity had taken place. "Whatever it was, it wasn't strong enough, because he's back today," Harrington cracked. ... Hudson has not been with the team for the last few days, but a team spokesman said he has not yet undergone the expected surgery to repair a tear in the labrum in his left hip. ... Rookie center Kosta Perovic, called up Sunday from the D-League's Bakersfield Jam, said he's looking forward to working with strength coaches Mark Grabow and John Murray and utilizing the Warriors' well-stocked training facility.
"We don't have a practice facility (with the Jam)," Perovic said. "We practice one day at a high school, one day at the arena, and our lifting room is away from the gym on the other side of town, so it's all spread out."