The Golden State Warriors are currently one game below .500 this season with a record of 23-24. Without lead stars Steph Curry (out due to a tailbone injury) and Draymond Green (recovering from an ankle sprain), the team’s short-term future appears mediocre.
With both stars in their lineup, the Warriors have a puncher’s chance against most teams. Without them, to be frank, they don’t. Because of this and the help that Curry and Green would need to bulk up for a playoff run, the 10th seeded Warriors were among teams mentioned as potential buyers ahead of last Thursday’s NBA’s trade deadline.
Golden State did make moves at the deadline, trading away backup point guard Brad Wanamaker and injured center Marquise Chriss. However, it wasn’t the type of big-name deals some speculated could happen. Given the Warriors’ treasure chest of assets that include last year’s No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, their own 2021 first-round pick and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ potential first-round pick, they could have made a run at almost any star available if they truly wanted to.
While that turned out not to be the case, the Warriors still have options on the table for them to bolster their roster with free agents bought out by their former teams. As we ease into the second half of the season, here are a few options the Warriors could consider to make a strong playoff push.
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The 2014 second overall pick Jabari Parker was recently waived by the Sacramento Kings. During his two-year tenure, the former Duke Blue Devil saw action in only nine games, averaging 6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in just under 12 minutes per game. This was certainly a drop-off from his time with the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards where he averaged 15.0 points, nearly 6.5 rebounds and over 26 minutes per game.
On the bright side, the 26-year-old Parker could provide instant offense for the Warriors if given enough minutes. He has always had a knack for the offensive side of the ball and would be a solid power forward who could relieve Green or play next to a bigger center such as Wiseman.
On the other end, Parker isn’t the greatest defensive player in the world and has had trouble on that side of the floor, averaging 0.9 steals and 0.4 blocks per game for his career. If the Warriors are looking to add a scoring punch to help keep pace with opponents and don’t mind giving up a few more points in the process, Parker would be one of the better options available.
The four-time All-Star turned journeyman was recently released by the Houston Rockets as the franchise transitions toward a youth movement. When the team added Cousins and John Wall, they originally looked to compete within the Western Conference alongside former MVP James Harden. When that didn’t work out as planned, “Boogie,” who averaged 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 20.2 minutes, became expendable.
On this Warriors team, Cousins, 30, could fill multiple holes. The first would be a quality backup big man. While he is past his heyday of posting nearly 30 points per night, Cousins is still capable of being a scoring punch off the bench who can also shoot from deep.
Secondly, Cousins could serve as a veteran mentor for the 20-year-old Wiseman. Having someone who has previously produced the big-time numbers the franchise will eventually expect from Wiseman would great for his development — especially as Cousins would be able to call him out and keep him honest on his performance.
Even though Cousins isn’t the great defensive big man, he still provides quality size at 6-foot-10 and 270 pounds that may have some defenders thinking twice about attacking the paint.
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Otto Porter Jr.
Otto Porter Jr. was once a heralded prospect coming out of Georgetown. The former No. 3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft was going to be a project no matter where he landed, but had the potential upside to grow into much more than a defensive presence. As his career has progressed, he has only managed to reach a sliver of that hype during a 15-game stretch in Chicago in 2018, where he averaged 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 48.3% from the three-point line.
Porter Jr. was traded to the Orlando Magic on deadline day last week and is considered a prime target on the buyout market. So far this season, the 6-foot-8 forward has averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in 26 games while shooting 39% from the three-point line. He could step in and be a very good wing addition to the Warriors in a reserve role. By virtue of the Warriors’ offense, he may be able to get more shots and bump his averages back up to those of his earlier days in Washington.
The 27-year-old would also be a great target for this upcoming offseason. Adding him would make swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. expendable via trade. For now, however, Porter Jr. seems likely to stay in Orlando, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris B. Haynes. Even so, that could change just as quickly as he arrived.
Multiple teams eyeing Otto Porter Jr., who’s headed to Orlando, as a potential buyout pickup but the veteran forward – for now – plans to remain with the team, league source tells @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 25, 2021