Greetings, GSoM! Some of you may know me from Athletics Nation, covering the Oakland A’s. If so, then you also know I’m a huge Warriors fan, and I’ve been lurking here daily for the last decade. This season I’m finally going to start helping out Brady and Jas, so, howdy! -Love, Alex
It’s been 287 days since the Golden State Warriors played a real NBA game. After their loss on March 10, the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the basketball season and forced it to take a lengthy pause. When it resumed months later, the league didn’t even bother having the hyper-injured last-place Warriors suit back up to finish out the campaign.
Now the Dubs are finally back on the court. The 2020-21 season is here, if only for 72 games instead of 82, and it begins tonight (Tue., Dec. 22, at 4 p.m. PT on TNT) against the Brooklyn Nets.
That means it’s time for us to settle in and watch Kevin Dur... no wait, he’s playing for the opposing team tonight. So we’ll enjoy Klay... oh, he’s injured and out for the year. I presume Shaun Livings... nope, he works in the front office now. OK I was paying at least some attention during last season’s tank, so there are always fun sleepers like Bowman and Bender and Spellman and ... dang they’re all gone too?
Who is actually on the Warriors this year? If you read this site daily then you probably already have a handle on it, but there are a lot of new faces at Chase Center so let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of what coach Steve Kerr is working with as the season opens.
There are 15 players on the roster, plus another pair on two-way contracts. One of those 15 full-time spots is held by Klay Thompson, who won’t play at all. Another is currently filled by Mychal Mulder, who is on a non-guaranteed contract and thus gives the team some future flexibility with that final roster spot. Here’s the full list, in alphabetical order:
- Kent Bazemore
- Marquese Chriss
- Stephen Curry
- Draymond Green
- Damion Lee
- Kevon Looney
- Mychal Mulder (non-guaranteed)
- Kelly Oubre
- Eric Paschall
- Jordan Poole
- Alen Smailagic
- (Klay Thompson) (injured; out for year)
- Brad Wanamaker
- Andrew Wiggins
- James Wiseman
- Two-way: Nico Mannion
- Two-way: Juan Toscano-Anderson
Of those 17 players, 12 of them were on the Warriors last season. Five of them were here two seasons ago, and one of those five won’t even play. It’s almost an entirely different club than the one we saw in the 2019 Finals, with Steph and Draymond joined by holdovers Looney and Lee and then a fully updated supporting cast. Not necessarily a bad cast. Just a new one.
If you were watching last year’s tank, then you already know about the promising mini-breakouts of Chriss (waiver-ish pickup) and then-rookie Paschall (2nd-round pick). Same goes for the major acquisition of Wiggins and his max contract, as well as 1st-round pick Poole (2019 draft). If you stuck with it through March, then you got a glimpse of scrap-heap additions Mulder (signed long-term last spring) and Toscano-Anderson (just re-signed this morning) as well as young project Smiley.
That leaves five more notable additions, and you can click the links for full stories on each: Oubre (acquired using Iguodala trade exception, and he wants to stay), Wanamaker (free agent signing), Bazemore (free agent signing, for second stint with Dubs), Wiseman (No. 2 overall draft pick this year and a good roster fit), and Mannion (2nd-round pick this year, No. 48 overall).
The depth chart will surely evolve as the season goes on, but for now here’s a general idea. Don’t get too hung up on the details, especially at the Center position, where you could rearrange the three however you wish (but Wiseman is starting the opener). Also remember that Draymond is out for the opener tonight, so that will affect the starting lineup and overall rotation for at least one game.
- PG: Curry / Wanamaker
- SG: Oubre / Lee / Poole
- SF: Wiggins / Bazemore / Toscano-Anderson
- PF: Green / Paschall
- C: Wiseman / Looney / Chriss
(Also available: guards Mannion and Mulder, and big Smailagic)
The SG/SF positions are nearly interchangeable wing spots here, so swap those names around however you want, as long as Oubre and Wiggins are starting. And again, we’ll see how the big-man minutes work out based on who is healthy and who proves themselves. Otherwise, that’s the gist of this squad, minus Draymond on Tuesday in Brooklyn.
What do you think of the Opening Day roster, Dubs Nation? We all wish Klay was in there, but is there enough left over to continue competing for a ring in his absence? Let’s discuss in the comments!