The Golden State Warriors won’t look incredibly different next season, but they’ll need one face to emerge prominently from the background if they hope to repeat as champions.
Steph Curry has expressed that the Dubs’ most recent title is the most meaningful of the four he has won as a member of the franchise, at least in part because of how hard it was to capture. The difficulty of that journey speaks to flaws on the roster Golden State had to overcome — flaws the Warriors must address if they hope to get back to the NBA Finals next summer. Chief among the Dubs’ deficiencies last season was a lack of size on the interior, which impacted defensive matchups and the ability to consistently clean the glass.
The Warriors were unable to escape the revolving door of personnel that spins throughout the league every summer, losing several key players and adding new pieces to replace them. One such piece was big man JaMychal Green, who should offer some support in the paint to Kevon Looney and Draymond Green.
But perhaps the best answer to what ails the Warriors has been on their roster all along in the form of James Wiseman, the former No. 2 overall pick who missed the entirety of last season with a knee injury. If Wiseman can stay healthy and become the player Golden State drafted him to be, the team may be able to turn its greatest weakness into a strength.
Wiseman, Warriors’ Youth Key to Continued Postseason Success
Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on Monday, September 19, authored a deep dive into 10 title favorites in 2022-23, including which are contenders and which are pretenders.
While his case for the Warriors as contenders is tied to several members of the roster, Wiseman features prominently in the equation.
The defending champions are returning their top-five leading scorers from last season, get James Wiseman back from knee surgery and had the NBA’s most underrated summer signing by getting Donte DiVincenzo on a two-year, $9.2 million deal.
They won the 2022 title while rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody were playing limited minutes, players with sizable upside who should now become regular rotation members. Wiseman could make a huge impact on both ends of the ball with his size, shooting and rim protection ability as well.
Klay Thompson enters the year healthy for the first time since 2018-19 and could look even better now with the rust shaken off.
Warriors’ Iguodala Yet to Announce Retirement Decision
Aside from how Wiseman, Kuminga and Moody will develop and adjust to what will likely be larger roles, the last prominent question remaining in Golden State involves the future of Andre Iguodala.
The long-time veteran has yet to announce whether he will return for a 19th NBA season, though he is expected to declare a decision via his podcast in the coming weeks. NBA insider Marc Stein reported on September 18 that Golden State is planning for Iguodala’s return, but also bracing for the opposite outcome.
“The Warriors, I’m told, do expect Iguodala to play for one more season but are prepared for any outcome and are also open to bringing the 18-year veteran back on his timetable,” Stein wrote. “The Warriors, as mentioned above, are on the short list of teams starting training camp a few days early because they play a pair of exhibition games against the [Washington] Wizards in Japan on [September] 30 and [October] 2.”