As each day passes, we get closer to the NBA Draft Lottery, which is scheduled for Aug. 25. This is obviously a hugely important day for the Golden State Warriors, who are guaranteed to have a top-five pick for the first time since 2002.
General manager Bob Myers has a few holes to fill on the roster in order for the Dubs to get back among the NBA’s upper echelon. One of the positions Myers and co. will try to address during the offseason is the backup point guard spot.
Head coach Steve Kerr said earlier in the week that he will prioritize managing Steph Curry’s minutes. Curry will turn 33 next March, and Kerr doesn’t want his best player tiring out during the postseason.
Without a dependent option currently on the roster, Myers could look to draft, trade for, or sign a backup in free agency. The Athletic’s Anthony Slater came up with one player who could turn into an under-the-radar signing in former NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams.
“Carter-Williams provides a lot of what late-career Livingston did, aside from the mid-range efficiency. He’s a point guard by trade, once averaging more than seven assists per game. For short stretches, you’d feel comfortable letting him initiate action. But as he’s matured, as his stock has dipped, Carter-Williams has returned to the league a more mature combo guard, willing to fill a more supplementary role, like Livingston always did.”
If Carter-Williams can give the Warriors 70% of what Livingston did, he could be a great fit. As Slater points out, Carter-Williams —who originally signed a 10-day contract with the Orlando Magic earlier in the season— came on before the Coronavirus pandemic forced the hiatus.
The 28-year-old has the third hight net rating on the Magic out of any player who has suited up for at least 40 games. Carter-Williams had an increased role over the last 17 games before the shutdown, and rose to the challenge. He averaged 8.5 points, and 2.7 assists, hitting a respectable 34.4 of his attempts from outside, with a true shooting% of 60.4% over that time.
Another option is trading for Phoenix Suns’ point guard Ricky Rubio. The 29-year-old is owed an average of $17.4 million over two more seasons, which would result in a higher tax bill for Golden State. But, Rubio is a proven option who is known for his passing skills. Rubio —who was picked two spots ahead of Curry in the 2009 draft by the great David Kahn—leads leads an admittedly bad Suns team with a +3.8 net rating, and his 3.27 assist-to-turnover ratio is 11th best in the NBA out of any player who has appeared in a minimum of 40 games. Myers would be able to acquire Rubio using the $17.2 million trade exception.
There are some point guards available at the draft as well, and each of them will be available at some point, depending on where the Warriors’ pick falls. LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton and Killian Hayes all have potential to grow into starters one day, and could learn on the job from one of the best to ever do it in Curry.
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