Warriors Could Fill Open Spot With 10-Year Vet, Former All-Defensive Pick

Draymond Green Warriors-Nets

Getty Draymond Green speaks with an official during a game between the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets.

Entering the Golden State Warriors‘ Wednesday bout with the Detroit Pistons, the citizens of Dub Nation are still riding high amid the team’s double-OT win over the Atlanta Hawks earlier this week. And while Klay Thompson stole the show with his 54-point night, Kevon Looney’s game-winning bucket felt almost as big.

As ever, making winning plays is simply what Looney does, his physical limitations notwithstanding.

Between his efforts and those of Draymond Green, the Dubs are currently holding it down in the pivot despite the absence of a traditional, rim-protecting seven-footer. As the season wears on, though, and Golden State tries to parlay its current streak into a legitimate playoff push, the time may come when the club needs a stone-cold big.

Specifically, one with the experience and know-how that former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman doesn’t have yet.

So, with the 10-day contract floodgates getting ready to open — and the Warriors already having an open roster spot at their disposal — the time may have come to explore the big man market. To that end, two-time league shot-blocking champ Hassan Whiteside makes some sense as a target.

Hassan Whiteside Showed Out as Rudy Gobert’s Backup Last Season

Hassan Whiteside 4 blocks on Giannis2022-03-15T06:32:40Z

The fact that Whiteside didn’t catch on with an NBA team over the summer is a bit of a head-scratcher. Sure, there have been questions about his drive/buy-in over the years, but he has remained one of the game’s top paint protectors. And as a member of the Utah Jazz in 2021-22, he was an elite-level backup big.

Per 36 minutes, the 10-year veteran put up 16.5 points, 15.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks behind Rudy Gobert; numbers that are right in line with what he did in his prime. Defensively, he looked every bit the force that he was during his Miami Heat heyday.

On the other side of the court, he connected on a career-best 65.2% of his shot attempts. Some of the advanced metrics paint an even rosier portrait of his offensive impact, too.

The Quin Snyder-Donovan Mitchell-Gobert Jazz were a scoring force last season, outpacing opponents by 6.2 points/100 possessions (a top-three differential league-wide). But they were even better when Whiteside was on the floor. The 33-year-old actually had the best net rating on the squad at 10.1.

Meanwhile, his offensive rating of 119.2 was the No. 1 mark in the entire Association among players logging 40 or more appearances.

On a 10-day trial period or two (and then, potentially, a vet minimum deal) the tax-crunched Dubs could get some major bang for their buck and another steady hand for the playoff run in Whiteside.

Andrew Wiggins Reacts to Bobblehead

The first 10,000 fans to enter Chase Center for the Warriors-Pistons affair will be getting a little something extra for attending. Namely, an Andrew Wiggins bobblehead. This marks the first time that the Dubs have done a Wiggins bobblehead, and the 2022 All-Star is all about it.

“This is dope!” Wiggins said upon seeing the collectible, via Warriors.com. “I feel like this is the game in the playoffs — the dunk against the Mavs.”

Indeed, Wiggins is depicted soaring through the air in his white duds, presumably loading up for a monster throwdown (on Luka Doncic). And the former No. 1 pick clearly appreciated the nod given. “For me, it was a historical dunk… Yeah, I’m hyped I got a bobblehead. I love it… Having my first bobblehead here as a Warrior means a lot.”

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