Why Jonas Jerebko Is Back With Warriors But Not Back in the Rotation

OAKLAND -- Jonas Jerebko was back on the Warriors' bench on Thursday, but you might not have noticed. 

The forward missed the final three games of Golden State's five-game road trip to be with his wife, Johanna, for the birth of their second child. He returned to the team in Thursday's 113-104 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, but did not see the court for one reason above all.

"With [center DeMarcus Cousins'] return, it affected Jonas the most out of anybody on the team," coach Steve Kerr said at the Warriors' practice facility on Friday. 

Cousins has now played in six games after returning from a ruptured Achilles. Jerebko was still with the Warriors for the first two, and played a combined 16 minutes in those games. 12 came in the fourth quarter Warriors' blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers ar Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, with Golden State up by 30 points. 

In his first 45 games without Cousins, Jerebko played an average of 19-and-a-half minutes per night. In the last six games, Cousins played 22.3. 

So, for now, Jerebko is on the outside looking in at the Warriors' rotation. Kerr said Jerebko was not caught off-guard by the new distribution of minutes, and that they had talked about it as early as the summer when Jerebko signed a one-year deal with the team in free agency. 

"It's one of the reasons Jonas is so valuable," Kerr said. "He understands the circumstances. He gets the league, so he'll be ready when his number is called upon and I know we can count on him. It's not easy being in that role, but that's the role." 

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Jerebko seemed ready for it on Friday. He was one of a handful of Warriors players, including Cousins, working on their shot after the team's morning film session.

Kerr noted that there will be games where Jerebko will be needed down the stretch. His outside shooting remains valuable. 

The 31-year-old has converted on 36.5 percent of his 3-point shots this season, and is putting up 5.5 triples every 36 minutes. The latter mark is the highest of his career.

"There will definitely be matchups, circumstances where we need him and we'll put him out there," Kerr said. "Obviously, with the baby being born a couple of days ago and him missing the last six days of that trip, it's put him a little bit behind. But, these things always have a way of coming back around."

Whether or not that happens against the Lakers on Saturday, the Warriors will rely on Jerebko to be ready. 

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