Veteran Combo Forward Floated as ‘Ambitious’ Free Agent Target for Warriors

Torrey Craig Draymond Green Warriors Suns

Getty Torrey Craig of the Phoenix Suns defends Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green.

The Golden State Warriors currently find themselves in difficult terrain as a group clinging to championship aspirations at or near the end of a dynastic run.

With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and (barring a final-year contract opt-out) Draymond Green all locked in for 2023-24 alongside 2022 All-Star Andrew Wiggins and Dubs folk hero Kevon Looney, Golden State’s core is built for high-level competition. Unfortunately, the rest of the roster could use some work and there are significant financial issues that make upgrading around the big guns difficult.

Wrote Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale in a feature on “ambitious” free agent targets for each of the NBA‘s 30 teams: “Golden State is going to blow by the second luxury-tax apron without some seismic salary-shedding. Among other things, this means the Warriors won’t have access to their mid-level exception.

“They are, effectively, minimum-salary-or-bust.”

Despite those limitations, Favale was able to single out one potential difference-maker for the Warriors to target in free agency — Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig.

B/R: Suns’ Torrey Craig May Be Persuadable in Free-Agent Pursuit

The 32-year-old Craig is fresh off a campaign that saw him average a career-high 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game for Phoenix. And while he wasn’t quite as effective during the Suns’ playoff run, Favale believes that the veteran’s versatility could be a big-time asset in the Bay.

Wrote Favale:

Yes, his place inside the Phoenix Suns rotation waned during the playoffs. But Craig started 60 games during the regular season while knocking down 39.7 percent of his threes (4.7 attempts per 36 minutes), party-crashing the offensive glass and defending across the 2, 3 and 4 spots.

During the regular season, opponents’ field-goal percentages consistently took a hit when Craig was the closest defender. On attempts within six feet of the hoop, their percentages dropped by 5.9% on average. Their conversion rates also dropped by 5.2% on tries within 10 feet of the tin and by 1.1% on attempts that came from 15 or more feet away.

Golden State could have competition in securing Craig’s services on the open market, but Favale can envision a scenario where the baller takes less money to play in a good situation with the Warriors:

Some team, somewhere, should be open to throwing most or all of the mini mid-level ($7 million) Craig’s way. But does the chance to play a potentially higher-minute role on the Warriors, who desperately need a combo forward if Jonathan Kuminga isn’t part of the present, make any sort of difference?

Draymond Green Ready for Heat to Assume Blown Lead Mantle

Over in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat are in real danger of becoming the first NBA team to lose a playoff series after having gone up 3-0. And while Green isn’t outright rooting for the Boston Celtics to finish the job in Game 7 on Monday, he does see one potential benefit to the Cs making history.

In particular, Green thinks people might stop talking about the Dubs’ losing the 2016 Finals after having been up 3-1, a result that came at least in part due to his being suspended for Game 5.

“Can they close the deal? I don’t know, man. I don’t know. First time from 3-0. That’s an interesting one. That’s an interesting one — first team to come back from a 3-0 deficit,” Green mused on his podcast prior to Game 6 between Miami and Boston.

“We would love to see it, wouldn’t we? Maybe I wouldn’t have to hear about 3-1 anymore if this team comes back from 3-0. You could throw the 3-1 in the dirt, like, forget about it, I’m sick of it, and talk about 3-0. It’d be a much better story for me, personally, to hear. It’d be a much better story.”

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