The Golden State Warriors only have 25 games left on their schedule, but their roster still isn’t full. The team currently has used only 14 of their available 15 roster spots, as well as their pair of two-way contracts (as a reminder, two-way contracts are not eligible for postseason play unless converted to the roster).
With Golden State’s recent playoff injury history, the team will likely fill the 15th spot before the intensity of the postseason begins.
Players have to be off of their current team’s roster by March 1 in order to be playoff eligible with their new team. The Warriors don’t have to sign the player by March 1, however.
Today we’re looking at candidates for the 15th and final roster spot. Part 1 covered the centers. For Part 2, we’re taking a look at some available guards and wings.
Do the Warriors need a guard/wing?
Need is a pretty strong word. The Warriors don’t have a pressing need for a guard or a wing. The three they start - Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant - just represented the squad at the All-Star Game.
But the backup options are a little iffy. Andre Iguodala is, somewhat subtly, enjoying a resurgent year. But Shaun Livingston, while still having the full trust of his teammates and coaches, has regressed mightily. Quinn Cook - who also has a lot of trust from the team - hasn’t been consistently reliable this year.
Alfonzo McKinnie, despite a hot start, is more celebrated for being not-Patrick McCaw than for anything he’s actually doing on the court, and Jacob Evans III is calling the G League home at the moment.
Those four players have combined for just 118 three-pointers this season.
Unlike with the centers, a guard or wing could potentially step right into the rotation, even without any injury to the current roster. The Warriors probably don’t feel too concerned, given their depth at the position, but due to the performance of some of that depth, another player could certainly have a nice impact.
Who are the options?
Let’s start with the players that aren’t options.
The buyout market was briefly full of intriguing guards and wings, but many have signed already.
Wes Matthews was arguably the top buyout player available, but he opted for the steady minutes of the Indiana Pacers. Wayne Ellington, a strong shooter who could have really helped the bench, also took that route and signed with the Detroit Pistons.
Jeremy Lin signed with the Toronto Raptors, Markieff Morris with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Michael Beasley took his talents to China. Even back of the bench veteran options like Shelvin Mack and Nik Stauskas have been signed.
Just like that, the options are very limited. Let’s check them out.
Season stats (4 games): 9.3 minutes, 2.3 points, and 0.5 assists per game, 37.5% three-point shooting, 50.0% true shooting
Swag Champ come on down!
But, more seriously, don’t. In theory, Young is a perfect addition to the team. A sharpshooting bench option who can get hot at any moment and be a spark plug in a playoff series.
In reality, the Warriors went through this with Young last year, and it didn’t work out nearly as well as anyone expected (minus the whole winning a championship thing). Plus, to hear the sound of it, the locker room fit wasn’t ideal either.
On paper, Young may be the best buyout candidate available. But the game isn’t played on paper.
Season stats (19 games): 8.3 minutes and 3.9 points per game, 41.5% three-point shooting, 54.1% true-shooting
A former top-ten pick, McLemore still shows signs of being a quality player. But he’s been unable to put it together thus far, and this year is no exception. McLemore would increase the Warriors bench shooting, but is pretty much a liability in every other aspect of the game.
It’s hard to see the Warriors signing him when they could just convert the two-way contract of Damion Lee.
Season stats (19 games): 10.7 minutes, 3.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game, 34.8% three-point shooting, 45.5% true-shooting
I would be in favor of the Warriors signing Hamilton - just not this season. For a shooting guard he’s tall (six-foot-seven) and lengthy, and has the ability to defend multiple positions. He’s just two years and 25 games into his NBA career.
But the Warriors aren’t in the business of developing prospects, at least not at this point in the season. Hamilton’s jumper is unreliable, and he’s highly inexperienced. There’s virtually no chance that they’re interested now, but keep your eye on him when training camp contracts start coming in.
Season stats (36 games): 14.4 minutes, 6.3 points, and 3.2 rebounds per game, 34.9% three-point shooting, 60.6% true-shooting
Casspi is like a more extreme version of Swaggy P - on paper, he looks like a great fit. He can shoot threes, cut, defend multiple positions, and has veteran experience. But the Warriors have been down this road before, and it did not turn out well.
A year ago the team signed Casspi and it seemed like a match made in heaven. But while the journeyman wing scored efficiently for Golden State, he seemed highly reluctant to shoot threes, and made just 10 in his 53 games. The locker room was apparently not enamored with Casspi’s attitude when his minutes dwindled, and he was ultimately cut to make room for the emerging Cook.
Sometimes it just doesn’t work, and the Warriors won’t be keen to go down that path again.
Season stats (10 games): 29.4 minutes, 13.4 points, and 5.4 rebounds per game, 32.8% three-point shooting, 51.3% true-shooting
So, do they sign a guard/wing?
If Matthews or Ellington were still on the market, Golden State would likely be very, very interested. Those players would bolster depth, add shooting, and play minutes immediately.
But those players aren’t available, and the players who are just don’t contribute much to what the Warriors need. It’s hard to see them making a run at a buyout guard or wing.