Zach Lowe had Anthony Slater and Nick Friedell on his podcast on September 30th to discuss the upcoming Warriors season.
Here is the link if anyone wants a listen - https://open.spotify.com/episode/3tQnQ1X719wYBqi6Zmc2UQ
Lowe is very high on the Dubs, saying they have the potential to make the WCF (like many of us) and should compete if Klay is 90% of himself, given their championship pedigree and the injuries to Kawhi and Jamal Murray.
However, Friedell is lower on the Dubs, seeing them as a second round exit and his reasoning was that the Warriors were awful without Steph on the court and their bench makes him fearful. So I decided to test that claim.
Starters (pre-Klay): Steph, Poole, Wiggins, Draymond, Looney, 6Man: OPJ
Starters (post-Klay): Steph, Klay, Wiggins, Draymond, Looney 6Man: Poole
Assuming the Warriors use a 10 man rotation in the playoffs, let's characterize the bench as a non-starter.
For the first 30-35 games of the season, our bench will probably feature OPJ, JTA, Iggy, Bjelica, Bradley(?)/GPII(?)
That bench is definitely suspect because of age and lack of offense.
But post Klay and Wiseman return?
Bench - Poole, OPJ, Iggy, JTA, Wiseman + Bjelica and Bradley/GPII
That second bench is a solid/above average bench.
- You have a go-to scorer in Poole who can create off the dribble, score off-ball and get others open shots as well as multiple secondary scorers in OPJ and Wiseman.
- The defense is still strong with Iggy, JTA, and OPJ and with Poole/Wiseman's improvement and new experience, we will be good on that end
- Experience, especially from Iggy, will help the young guys
- Passing with Poole, Iggy, and JTA is strong
- Decent size/rebounding with Wiseman (hoping for improvement) and OPJ
- You can replace Wiseman with Bjelica to add even more shooting and passing but defense would be bad
Lots of options with that second bench. And really, our bench also features a starter or two anyway. So in reality, by the time the playoffs roll around, our bench will likely be
Poole, Klay, Wiggs, Otto, JTA and the option of Wiseman/iggy/Bjelica to add size, shooting, or defense.
That's even better than the bench I talked about above
- Multiple go-to scorers in Klay/Poole/Wiggs, all three-level scorers, Wigs ranked in 79th percentile as iso scorer last year at 1.18 ppp (iirc) or something around that
- Shooting from everywhere - All five of those guys are good shooters (four of them shot >38% from 3 in their last healthy year) and Poole might get there this year
- Defense is great - Weakest link is 6'5 Poole who is improving on that end (Wigs/OPJ/JTA/Klay are all above-average/elite defenders)
- Passing from Poole/JTA and even OPJ
- Rebounding/size weakened but made up with speed in transition and shooting from all five positions
- Lots of experience with Klay and OPJ, no Wiseman
Based on these bench lineups, I'm far more excited and have more faith in them than Friedell. I'm not sure what he's talking about given the drastically changed roster from last year to this year and the all-around improvements in terms of shooting, experience, defense, and passing.