The Warriors have a chance Thursday night to add another face to their win-later core after winning plenty now.
The No. 28 pick in the NBA Draft won’t deliver a ready-made star, but Bob Myers and the Golden State brass can expect to have solid options late in the first round, whether they’re looking for a risky upside play who will take time to develop or a solid role player who they hope can contribute sooner.
By definition, the Warriors are the NBA’s best team after winning the title. That doesn’t leave many holes, but we tried to find a few areas that could use some shoring up.
Here are three of the Warriors’ top needs heading into the draft:
Golden State had two strong defensive wings in its rotation this season in Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II. But each of those players could leave the Warriors over the next 13 months.
Payton is a pending unrestricted free agent after providing massive value to the Warriors during this playoff run. He surely will have offers beyond the $1.9 million he made in 2021-22. Whether that price is pushed beyond the Warriors’ comfort zone — a zone that has recently extended remarkably high — remains to be seen.
Wiggins showed up huge in the Finals on both sides of the ball. He is eligible for an extension this summer and without one, he will be an unrestricted free agent in a year’s time. Before the playoff run, there was plenty of speculation that the Dubs may move on from him given his max-level contract and comparatively small role (at that point) on the team.
It seems Wiggins is less replaceable now, but will Joe Lacob pony up to max him out again — and would Wiggins accept anything less now that he’s tasted a title?
The Dubs do have two young, talented wings waiting… in the wings: rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Both are more of the swing-forward type capable of playing the four rather than the smaller type of wing better suited for guarding backcourt players.
This was an area Dub Nation clamored for Bob Myers to address at the trade deadline.
He didn’t, and Golden State won the title.
But unrestricted free agent Kevon Looney just proved he can be a dependable defender and strong rebounder for a title team, and James Wiseman’s health is far from a sure bet.
Nemanja Bjelica, 34, is a free agent like Looney. Relying on him for a starter-level contribution next year, in the event Looney leaves, seems at least one bridge too far.
This was an issue that plagued the Warriors in the regular season but didn’t bite them as badly in the playoffs when they increased minutes for their star players.
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Those stars are aging, though, and two of them — Steph Curry and Draymond Green — are the Warriors’ top initiators of the offense.
Golden State has searched for some time for someone who can capably run the offense when Curry is on the bench. Because no team can have it all, they still haven’t found that person.
As an explosive shooter, Poole presents as the future Curry facsimile if and when the Finals MVP rides off into the sunset (an eventuality that is obviously not currently on the horizon). But he is not a primary player in getting the Golden State offensive machine whirring.
Unless Poole, a 2023 restricted free agent, makes a huge leap in that area, the next generation will need someone who has a bit more of Curry’s or Green’s create-for-others vision and feel.