The Golden State Warriors were already off to a tough start to begin the NBA’s 2020-21 season, opening 0-2 after playing the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. However, the road to the playoffs just got more difficult with the news of their center breaking his right leg.
Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Sunday, Warriors center Marquese Chriss has suffered a broken fibula and will subsequently miss the remainder of the season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 27, 2020
As if Golden State hadn’t been facing an uphill battle already, the team has been and will be without their All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson,, who tore his right Achilles just hours before the 2020 NBA Draft. Losing another contributor will only put more of a strain on the franchise to make another roster move as their star player and two-time MVP Steph Curry becomes increasingly frustrated.
Warriors’ Potential Moves
Given the timing of this injury, the Warriors are in a unique position to still be able to make another roster addition. Previously, the team applied and was approved for the NBA’s disabled player exception, which “gives the club some additional spending flexibility, functioning almost as a cross between a traded player exception and a mid-level exception,” per HoopsRumors.
With the approval following Thompson’s season-ending injury, Golden State will be able to bring in another player on a contract worth up to $9.3 million. The player will either have to be claimed off of waivers or traded for in the final year of their contract, or signed to a one-year deal via free agency.
The team probably hadn’t used it thus far because they wanted to see how well their current roster would gel and play with one another before bringing in another player. Yet desperate times call for desperate measures and whenever a star player begins to speak out about winning, it puts the organization on notice that changes need to be made.
Alternatively, the Warriors are also still in the position to make a big trade. During the offseason, rumors circulated about the team looking to trade for another All-NBA caliber player. The team even reportedly put together an “intriguing package” for Bucks reigning two-time MVP and last season’s Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo prior to him signing a record extension.
Antetokounmpo may now be out of reach, but there are two players who the team should set their eyes on. Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal has previously stated he would like to remain with the Wizards.
“That would mean the world, man,” Beal said on October 16, via the On the Road with Buck & Phil podcast. “I’m a loyal guy. I want to be here. I’m here. I’ve signed my extension. And that will mean the world to me. That honestly would you know, being able to finish your career in one place? You know, you don’t see that in today’s game.”
Yet starting out 0-2, similar to the Warriors, in an increasingly tough Eastern conference may change his mind as fighting for a playoff spot will be difficult.
The other player the team should look toward trading for is none other than Houston Rockets star guard and former MVP James Harden. Harden has become a magnet for news after requesting a trade from Houston, having to quarantine due to possibly violating the NBA’s off the court rules, and allegedly starting confrontations with teammates in practice.
However, with the Rockets short six players against the Portland Trailblazers due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, Harden recorded 44 points and 17 assists in 43 minutes. While Houston ultimately lost the game, it proves that when Harden is on the court he is locked in and ready to contribute. That’s something the Warriors could use if they decide he’s worth the asking price.
Steph Curry Express His Frustration
One person coming under scrutiny as of late is Curry. With the team starting 0-2 and being blown out in both their games by a combined score of 263 to 198, he’s making it known that the situation needs to be fixed.
Steph Curry: "We need to win. Immediately."
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) December 25, 2020
When asked about an answer for the team’s early offensive woes following the 138-99 loss to the Bucks, Curry continued, saying their IQ as a unit needs to improve.
“I don’t know. We just have to focus more on what we’re trying to do,” Curry told reporters, via The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “Sometimes when you miss shots, you tend to force and press and not think. Our group’s collective IQ has to get a lot better in those moments where you’re not making shots.”
Hopefully, things turnaround for the team as they face the Chicago Bulls in their next game. The Bulls have also lost two games so far this season and do not look as if they’ll be competing for a playoff spot anytime soon. If the Warriors want to make a statement and begin to turn their season around, there’s no better time than this next game.