As the NBA’s free agency period began today at 6:00 pm EST players signings began to happen left and right. With mid-level and some major players in the free agent pool choosing their next team, one team name we hadn’t heard much is the Golden State Warriors.
That’s because the Warriors have had an interesting last few days, to say the least. Not long before the 2020 NBA Draft, where they held the #2 overall pick, their star shooting guard, Klay Thompson tore his right Achilles. This news didn’t shake the Warriors draft board up as they went and drafted the #1 player on their board, former Memphis Tiger James Wiseman.
Next, the team looked to address the gap that will be left with Thompson’s injury and they used their traded player exception, from the 2019 Andre Iguolda trade to the Memphis Grizzlies, to obtain Oklahoma City Thunder’s forward Kelly Oubre Jr.
Now, Golden State will be looking into free agency to add more depth to their team. During their championship runs, they were known to have key veterans who could step into games and keep the offense moving forward while their stars Thompson, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and previously Kevin Durant, all rested. Yet with Thompson being injured, and the team having a tax bill of $134 million, the team will have to figure out ways to be creative and see if some veterans are willing to take less money while adding proven talent to their roster.
Best Available Options
While the Warriors do not have much room to work with financially to make any big free agent signings there are some players who, if they take a little less, can be upgrades for them or fill-ins who can do a great job.
The first player on that list is former Toronto Raptor, Marc Gasol. Gasol is entering into his 14th year in the NBA but still has some gas left in the tank. Last season he only averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds however, he shot 38.5% from the three-point line. As a pick and pop option and being a very good passer with a good feel for the game, Gasol would fit well into the majority of the Warriors’ lineups.
While he’s no longer a starter at this point in his career, he could be a valuable backup to the recently drafted Wiseman. Having been an all-star, winning a defensive player of the year award, and lasting this long while still being effective as the league has changed, he can bring insight and stability to the team that would be extremely valuable to the Warriors’ rookie and current team structure.
Avery Bradley is another player the Warriors should consider. Last season for the Lakers Bradey was a valuable piece to their team being their primary guard defender and one of their better three-point shooters. His averages were 9.6 points and 1.3 steals per game but he shot 44% from the three-point line.
With the Warriors, Bradley would be to start next to Curry and be their primary guard defender or secondary defender as Andrew Wiggins may assume the defensive assignment meant for Thompson. On the offensive end, Bradley is still able to create his own shot when needed but can also be a reliable shooter and dangerous when he’s knocked down a few shots. If the Warriors are looking to bring along Oubre slowly or have him as their 6th man Bradley would be an ideal candidate to help lessen the load of Thompson’s absence.
Kris Dunn is another young player who makes sense for this current Warriors team. For the Chicago Bulls, Dunn has developed into a very good on-ball and off-ball defender. At times, he was given the tougher assignments on the team and was able to take advantage of his opponent’s offensive lapses as they occurred. On the offensive end, he has room to grow shooting just 25.3% from three and averaging 7.3, 3.4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game.
For the Warriors, it’s no secret he would be a valuable backup point guard to Curry given his size and defending abilities. While his offensive shooting must take a leap, working with a team and coaches like the Warriors it can be said that he may improve in that aspect. One additional positive note is Dunn’s averages when he was a starter for the Chicago Bulls. During the 2017-2018 season and as a starter Dunn averaged 13.4 points, 6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. It would be a longshot for Dunn to receive starting minutes on the Warriors but within their free-flowing offense and as the backup distributor and scorer to Curry he may be able to find his game and become more reliable without much pressure.
Aaron Baynes is another frontcourt player the Warriors should target. While he isn’t going to wow most, Baynes is a very dependable and reliable player who has grown throughout his time in the league. During his time in Phoenix, he doubled his scoring from his time in Boston improving from 5.6 points a game to 11.5 while also grabbing 5.6 rebounds per game and shooting 35.1% from the three-point line.
He would be a very good pick and roll or pick and pop option for the Warriors. Setting solid screens would allow Curry to receive open looks he could only dream of having at this point in time. This would also help with the growth of Wiggins’ offensive skillset as utilizing the pick and pop option similar to his time in Minnesota with Karl Anthony-Towns could help to grow his point totals, something the team will need to seriously compete this season.