Warriors fill two-way slot with new but familiar face

In 14 minutes, Quinndary Weatherspoon earned himself an extended shot with the Golden State Warriors. The 25-year-old guard signed a two-way contract, the team announced Monday, taking the spot vacated when the Golden State waived Jeff Dowtin the previous day.

Weatherspoon impressed with 14 much-needed minutes for the shorthanded Warriors in a win at Phoenix on Christmas Day after being called upon to sign a 10-day contract on a hardship exemption; that contract was set to expire, so the team waived Dowtin, who had occupied the second two-way slot since October but only appeared in four games.

As expected, the Warriors turned to Weatherspoon to fill the open roster spot.

“The guy can play — he showed that on Christmas Day,” Otto Porter Jr. said Monday, reacting to the signing. “He’s a great defender. He’s not backing down from anybody. He’s up to the challenge.”

Weatherspoon, 25, spent the majority of the season in Santa Cruz, where he averaged 16.1 points in nine games, before he was called upon last week to fill a hardship exemption on a 10-day contract. He scored six points in his 14-minute showing against Phoenix, when he Warriors were down five players and two starters, but the team hasn’t called on him in two games since.

After being drafted in the second round out of Mississippi State, Weatherspoon spent his first two NBA seasons in the Spurs organization, appearing in 31 games for San Antonio. The Warriors brought him in during training camp and eventually assigned him to Santa Cruz.

Although depth is proving crucial amidst the roster crunch caused by COVID-19, Weatherspoon’s opportunities with Golden State could be limited in the near future as the Warriors get back close to full strength. Draymond Green and Damion Lee are both expected to return Monday night against Miami, leaving no active Warriors left in health and safety protocols. Klay Thompson is also due back this month, with James Wiseman thought not to be far behind him.

Weatherspoon, however, possesses traits the Warriors love: he’s athletic and smart and plays gritty, tenacious defense. He stands 6-3 with a wingspan of 6-9 and gained a reputation in Santa Cruz for guarding Klay Thompson during his rehab assignments. Thompson apparently gave his endorsement to the organization.

He showcased those defensive abilities by matching up against the Suns’ Chris Paul and Devin Booker on Christmas Day.

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