The Golden State Warriors earned a spot in this season's Play-In Tournament, but losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies eliminated them from playoff contention.
The Warriors now shift their attention to the offseason, where they'll be looking to make the moves needed to return to the playoffs next season.
The 2021 NBA Draft
Picks: No. 7 (via MIN), No. 14
Prospects to target: Davion Mitchell (Baylor), Keon Johnson (Tennessee), Corey Kispert (Gonzaga), Moses Moody (Arkansas)
Not only do the Warriors possess their own lottery pick, they also received the Minnesota Timberwolves' lottery pick (No. 7) by way of the trade that sent Wiggins to Golden State in exchange for D'Angelo Russell.
But with Stephen Curry coming off of an MVP-calibre season, Draymond Green looking back to his old self and Klay Thompson returning from two full seasons away while rehabbing a torn left ACL and torn right Achilles, do the returning title contenders really need two lottery picks?
As we saw last season with rookie centre James Wiseman, who Golden State selected with the No. 2 overall pick, he was solid, but not a ceiling raiser in Year 1 (even if he didn't go down with a season-ending meniscus injury).
It would certainly be in the franchise's best interest to move one or both potential lottery picks to add yet another impactful and established player, as they gear up for what should be a deep playoff push for the first time since the 2019 NBA Finals.
Should they make at least one selection, a bench scorer or playmaker would likely be in their best interest. If they keep the Timberwolves' pick, look for players like Baylor's Davion Mitchell, Tennessee's Keon Johnson or UConn's James Bouknight. If it's their own pick they keep, they would be looking at scorers like Corey Kispert or Moses Moody, or playmakers like Josh Giddey or Franz Wagner.
Depending on how the lottery shakes out, the Warriors will be one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA Draft for the second year running.
- Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
Upcoming free agents
The good news: Golden State's core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is under contract for at least another season.
The only starter from this season who is set to be an unrestricted free agent is Kelly Oubre Jr., who the Warriors acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder last offseason. In 55 games with the Warriors, Oubre averaged 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals on .439/.316/.695 shooting splits.
Kent Bazemore and Jordan Bell will join Oubre in unrestricted free agency while Nico Mannion will be a restricted free agent.
Kevon Looney, meanwhile, has a player option worth $5.2 million for the 2021-22 season.
|Unrestricted Free Agent(s)||Restricted Free Agent(s)||Player Option(s)|
|Kelly Oubre Jr.||Nico Mannion||Kevon Looney|
Now, the bad news.
With Curry ($45.8 million), Thompson ($37.9 million), Green ($24.0 million) and Andrew Wiggins ($31.6 million) each under contract for next season, the Warriors have little-to-no money to spend in free agency. If they are going to upgrade this roster, it's almost certainly going to be through the draft or via trade.
- Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)
Does the present or the future take precedent?
The Warriors are in an interesting predicament.
Curry, who is coming off of his second scoring title, is 33. Green, who finished as a Defensive Player of the Year finalist, is 31 as is Thompson, who hasn't played basketball in over two years due to an ACL injury in 2019 and an Achilles injury in 2020.
They're not getting any younger.
With that in mind, Golden State shouldn't operate under the guise of its championship window being over, because it isn't.
In 2020, the Warriors addressed a need by using the No. 2 pick to take Wiseman, who only recently turned 20. While his skill level and potential is through the roof, Wiseman is clearly on a different timeline than Golden State's established stars, which made for some growing pains during a rookie season that was eventually cut short when he suffered a torn meniscus.
After missing the playoffs for a second straight year, the Warriors have their own lottery pick as well as the aforementioned pick from the Timberwolves, provided it falls outside of the top three. With two lottery picks in the upcoming draft, the front office could again make future-minded choices or it could be a bit more active in making win-now moves.
In a recent appearance as a stand-in analyst on TNT, Green made a statement regarding the state Washington Wizards that could be looked at as reflective of the situation in Golden State, saying "getting draft picks and placing them next to two All-Stars … that don't work."
As this franchise would know, championships are more important than anything else, but the question is whether or not they go all in to be amongst the favourites in 2022 or do they build carefully to ensure long-term success once the Curry-Thompson-Green era comes to an end.
They did build through the draft to begin with, after all.
- Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21)
One key stat
The Green-Curry connection was strong this season.
According to PBP Stats, Green assisted Curry on 194 baskets, which was the most anyone assisted a teammate on the season. The second-highest assist combo was Phoenix's Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton (143), followed by Atlanta's Trae Young and John Collins (141).
According to NBA.com, Curry shot 52.4 percent from 2-point range and 44.2 percent from 3-point range off of passes from Green.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.