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Mailbag: Is Steph Curry in the MVP race? Will James Wiseman become a better passer?

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All that and more.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If you need some reading before the Golden State Warriors home game against the Charlotte Hornets, we’ve got you covered. It’s time for a mailbag!

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions.

I have a hard time with any “should the Warriors trade for Player X” questions, because it’s so hard to gauge the trade market. What would Orlando need in return for a former No. 6 pick who is just 22?

I’m guessing a bit, even if he seems to be in the Magic’s doghouse a bit.

Now, would Bamba be a good fit on the Warriors? Absolutely. He’s 7’0”, with a 25-foot wingspan (waiting to verify that one), and tremendous defensive potential.

But I don’t see the Warriors giving up much to get him. They view James Wiseman as the center of the future, and Kevon Looney is a perfect alternate center for when they need a solid defensive-minded option.

I think the biggest obstacle for James Wiseman and his passing isn’t his skill or talent, it’s his comfort in the offensive system. The Warriors have a unique offense, and it usually takes a while before players look comfortable operating in it and making the right reads.

We’ve seen that time and time again with new players. Even with a savant like Kevin Durant, you saw him making way more of the right passes in his second year than in his first.

Wiseman is a special case since he’s so young, and essentially didn’t have a college season. It’s going to take him even longer. In a year or so, when he’s more comfortable with making reads in the Warriors system, my guess is we’ll start seeing him make some of those passes that he’s currently missing.

Do you want the good news or the bad news? That’s a trick question, as they’re the same thing.

Oubre is actually having one of the best passing seasons of his career. Prior to the win at Indiana he had the highest assist rate of his career. That game dropped it a little bit, and the 6.7% assist rate is now the second-highest rate of his career, right below the 6.8% rate he posted in the 2018-19 season.

He’s growing more and more comfortable in the offense, but passing has never been a part of his game, and likely never will be.

I’m circling the beginning and the end.

The second half starts with an absolutely brutal three-game stretch: On the road against the Los Angeles Clippers, then home against the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers. Those are the three best records in the league.

But the schedule ends with six straight games at home, including four against teams that are currently .500 or worse. If the Warriors are to move up the standings, they need to do two things: tread water against good teams, and take advantage against bad teams.

I would say no. The Warriors currently have James Wiseman, Eric Paschall, and Jordan Poole under contract for next year. Nico Mannion will likely still be around, and Justinian Jessup will probably be here too.

They’ve potentially got Minnesota’s first and second-round picks. Alen Smailagić could possibly stick around.

Now, will all those players and assets be wearing Warriors jerseys next year? No. But the point is that Golden State has an abundance of projects already, and their offseason targets will be proven veterans, not raw players who need to be developed.

No shooting, but we are allowed (and encouraged) to shame them mercilessly until they change their minds.

Yes and no. The Warriors are currently seventh in the West, and as long as that continues to be true, Curry isn’t at all in the MVP race.

But Curry’s individual season is MVP caliber, and if Golden State can rise up the rankings, so will Steph’s MVP campaign. If the Dubs can creep up to, say, the fourth seed, then he’ll be right in the thick of the race.

So he’s not in the race, in the sense that if the season ended today he would have no chance. But he is in the race in the sense that he’s still in a good position going forward, and should be considered one of the potential winners if you were to make a bet right now.

How quickly things change. Just a month ago, plenty of fans were clamoring to have Damion Lee replace Kelly Oubre Jr. in the starting lineup. Since then, their respective stocks have both moved like GameStop in February ... just different weeks.

That said, Lee is definitely still a valuable player. He can shoot well, and comfortably defend multiple positions. He understands the Warriors offense, is a great and well-respected teammate, works hard, and is ready when his number is called.

The reality is that Lee is a high quality eighth or ninth option who is being given too big of a role due to the fact that the Warriors wing depth chart was annihilated when Klay Thompson tore his Achilles.

Extremely awesome.

Can he play NBA basketball? That remains to be seen.