The Golden State Warriors are not desperate for any roster changes, but a deep bench and the league’s best record mean that options for improvement abound.
Much of the talk during the preseason and the early portion of the regular season was centered around a big move for a big name. Now, at 16-2 and with the return of Klay Thompson ever closer on the horizon, the trade proposals floating around NBA land are more modest, more focused on a complementary move to bolster a core group clearly capable of winning a title without another star addition.
One such proposal involves swapping a young Warriors’ talent with upside for a different big man more suited to help Golden State win now.
NBA Analyst Says Dubs Should Move James Wiseman For Jakob Poeltl
Dubs’ second-year center James Wiseman has a boat load of talent but has not yet deciphered how to properly channel it. In a trade proposal authored by Greg Swarz as part of a piece published on Bleacher Report Friday, November 26, the analyst suggested dealing Wiseman for San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl and a lottery protected first-round selection in the 2024 NBA Draft.
“What Golden State should be concerned about … is how to incorporate second-year center James Wiseman into the rotation without hurting the team,” Swarz wrote. “The Warriors were far worse with the 2020 No. 2 overall pick on the floor last season (minus-16.9 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass, ranking in the first percentile), but they can’t let his raw talent go to waste.”
“The solution? Move Wiseman to a rebuilding team for win-now help,” Swarz continued. “The 26-year-old center would be an upgrade over Kevon Looney while Wiseman gets a fresh start with the Spurs. As good as Poeltl is now, Wiseman has a higher ceiling and won’t be forced to produce right away like he would in Golden State. San Antonio gets a big man to build around, and the Warriors receive a win-now center and a future first.”
Poeltl Having Career Year in 2021-22
While Poeltl doesn’t possess nearly the upside potential Wiseman does, the sixth-year big man out of San Antonio is having a career year.
Thus far this season, Poeltl has posted averages of 12.9 points per game, as well as 8.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1 block on 28.5 minutes played per evening, according to Basketball Reference. Perhaps even more importantly, Swarz noted that the Spurs’ big man has contested 12.6 shots per game, good enough for the second-best mark in the entire league.
Poeltl’s success this year comes after establishing himself as a starting-caliber center in San Antonio last season. While he does not add the kind of spacing the Warriors have cultivated in the past with small-ball lineups that include stretch-fives (Poeltl has never even attempted a 3-point shot in his career), the center is a superior player in every major statistical category to the Dubs’ current starter at that position, Kevon Looney.
Looney has garnered 18.6 minutes per game this season, more than one and a half quarters of play every night that Poeltl could improve upon.
It isn’t the splash move that signing Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal or Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons would have been (both were pursued by the Dubs during the offseason), but those kind of ripples don’t appear needed with the Warriors playing as well as they have.
A few focused upgrades, like Poeltl at center, could maintain the bridge to the future the Warriors have envisioned in players like third-year guard Jordan Poole and rookie Jonathan Kuminga while sharpening the Dubs’ edge for an NBA Finals run.