The Golden State Warriors are 3-2 in their last five games and are beginning to gel. After starting the season 2-3, with all 3 losses being blowouts, they’ve begun to find a defensive formula that works for them and a rhythm to their offense that helps to keep other players not named Steph Curry involved and consistent.
While it’s good that they’re trending upwards now they may need more to make a legitimate, and possibly deep, run towards the end of the season. Right now, the Warriors are 7th in the NBA’s playoff race but it is still very close as they are 2.5 losses from being out of the playoffs yet are aligned with the Portland Trailblazers and San Antonio Spurs in terms of the 6th and 5th seeds.
The kind of aid Golden State could use down the stretch may very well be a defensive savant whose time in Houston may soon be over according to an ESPN report.
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Warriors Could Acquire Rockets Defensive Leader
One reason why the Warriors were able to turn their season around after such a rough start has been the effectiveness of their defensive star forward Draymond Green. He’s been vital to the Warriors leapfrogging from the NBA’s basement to a Top 5 defense.
Yet it makes one wonder, what if the Warriors added another elite defensive mind to their team? According to ESPN NBA insider Bobby Marks on his recent ESPN + piece on potential trade deadline deals, the Warriors could add Houston’s P.J. Tucker without giving up much.
“The $9.25 million disabled player exception created when Klay Thompson suffered a season-ending injury should only be used on a player who can crack the rotation this year, and on whom the Warriors would be intent on re-signing in the offseason. P.J. Tucker fits that criteria, and by using the DPE to acquire him before the deadline, the Warriors would also inherit his Bird rights, allowing the team to exceed the cap to re-sign him.”
What Tucker Would Mean For This Year and Beyond
Back when current Brooklyn Nets star James Harden and current Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook both requested to be traded from the Rockets organization I brought up the idea of the Warriors making calls regarding Eric Gordon or P.J. Tucker using their DPE. It would be a very efficient way of bringing in a quality player while not costing the franchise a large sum since Curry, Green, Thompson, and Kelly Oubre Jr. are all making a lion share.
Yet bringing in Tucker would be able to help shore up the Warriors defense right now in a number of ways. For starters, he would be another defensive leader who can be counted on to guard the opposing team’s top players in both the frontcourt and backcourt.
Being able to match up in both forward positions and the center position if need be, he and Green could both switch on star forward players Golden State will play. Meanwhile, Tucker would also be another teacher for rookie sensation James Wiseman. Having multiple defensive enablers around him this early in his career could help him to make a large jump going into next season on that end of the floor.
On the offensive end, the Warriors would inherit a reliable corner three-point shooter and someone who knows how to move without the basketball. That lone intangible is something that could be considered a great strength within the Warriors free-flowing and cut heavy offensive attack.
Lastly, moving into the 2021-2022 season, Tucker also helps to make Oubre Jr. expandable. Given the size of his contract, if the Warriors are looking to make a big splash to acquire another star player they will have the assets with Wiseman, Oubre Jr., Wiggins, their 2021 first-round draft pick, and the Minnesota Timberwolves likely 2021 lottery pick.