Kelenna Azubuike looks like a completely different player than he did last summer. With a year of NBA experience under his belt, Azubuike has quickly developed into a legitimate NBA shooting guard, displaying a much more well rounded skill set than he did earlier in his career. With Mickael Pietrus likely on the way out in Golden State, Azubuike may very well be the teams primary backup swingman when the season begins.
Azubuike has really come a long way, especially in the shooting department. It seems that hes really bought into Don Nelsons offense, and is thriving in transition and in the half court. Azubuike has embraced the role Nelson bestowed upon him, and his level of comfort within the offense is truly impressive. He is very consistent from the spots where he receives the ball, showing the ability come off screens from the baseline and knock down catch-and-shoot jumpers out to 20 feet. His range has also improved significantly, as he is completely comfortable shooting the NBA 3, which was a primary weakness in his game as little as a year ago. Few players in Vegas showed as much improvement in their overall shooting as Azubuike.
Azubuikes guard skills go far beyond just scoring. His handle is much tighter than it used to be, and he actually played a few possessions at point forward in the Summer League. This improvement has really opened up his midrange game, allowing him to create separation for pull-up jumpers with ease. It has also allowed him to become a relatively effective distributor, but he should by no means be considering a position change. Azubuike has improvements on the offensive end have really overshadowed the things that hes always done well, but his ability to get to the rim and use his athleticism defensively and on the glass cant be overlooked. Depending on where Mickael Pietrus lands, Azubuike could find himself playing significant minutes for the Warriors.