For the Player’s Tribune, C.J. McCollum asked NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about the possibility of league expansion, specifically back to Seattle. Silver responded that expansion is seriously on the table, and might even happen in the next few years. Seattle, which lost the Supersonics to the Oklahoma City Thunder, is on the short list of locations for a new team.
The last time the NBA had an expansion draft was in 2004 with the inception of the Charlotte Hornets. The proceedings are simple: every existing team “protects” eight of the players on their roster, and the expansion team selects a roster from the remaining players. The expansion team is not allowed to take more than one player from each team, and all contracts carry over.
The Warrior’s own Zaza Pachulia, after his rookie season, was drafted by the Bobcats in the 2004 expansion draft, but was traded before the beginning of that season to the Bucks.
SB Nation will be doing a mock expansion draft this week, and we’ve been asked to protect eight Warriors. The rest will be available to the expansion team, if they choose to select them.
What factors should be taken into account to choose the Warriors to protect? Of course, current value is likely the most important factor. So are future potential and contract implications.
Furthermore, we also must consider what kinds of players an expansion team is likely to select. When starting from nothing, it’s best to start mostly young, with a few hardy veterans on good contracts. Players that are selected should expect to be longterm assets for the expansion team.
Who should the Warriors protect?
The first five Warriors to protect are self-explanatory.
1. Stephen Curry
2. Kevin Durant
3. Draymond Green
4. Klay Thompson
5. Andre Iguodala
The revamped Death Lineup are the most dangerous five teammates in the league. Curry, Durant, Green, and Thompson are all top twenty players, and Andre Iguodala is maybe the best glue guy in the league, even with his advancing age.
6. Shaun Livingston
7. Patrick McCaw
Livingston, newly re-signed this offseason, is one of the team’s most consistent bench players. He’s also the only veteran signed for longer than a one-year contract. Patrick McCaw is a young, versatile wing who’s a perfect fit with the team’s stars. He might even become a star sooner rather than later.
These first seven players to protect were easy. But I think there’s some debate for last spot. Should it be promising rookie Jordan Bell? Starting center Zaza Pachulia? Valuable reserve big man David West? Or even a dark horse like Nick Young or Damian Jones?
I asked Twitter who they thought would be the best to pick.
I need to keep one more. who should it be— Hugo Kitano (@HugoKitano) July 26, 2017
They overwhelmingly chose Jordan Bell. So I ended up protecting him as well.
8. Jordan Bell
Bell is not currently the best player remaining on the Warriors roster. David West likely is. But on a two-year, low money contract, he’s the exact type of player an expansion team would go after. A defensive stud who showcased a variety of skills in Summer League, he could end up as a valuable piece in the Warriors’ frontcourt rotation for years to come.
David West was great last season, especially in the Finals, but he’s 36 and has announced that this upcoming season will be his last. Thus, he likely won’t be picked in an expansion draft.
Zaza Pachulia is also aging and on a one-year deal. He likely won’t be picked in an expansion draft, and even if he did get picked, the Warriors have enough frontcourt pieces to fill the void.
Who would you protect?
To recap, we are protecting Curry, Durant, Green, Thompson, Iguodala, Livingston, McCaw, and Bell. Reply in the comments any other eight-man combinations you would have liked to see protected!
Edit: Looks like Nick Young was selected in the mock expansion draft. He’s a pretty superfluous player, so I don’t have many worries about losing him.