Through 40 games of the 2020-21 NBA season, we can say the Golden State Warriors are simply an average team. The Dubs are 20-20 going into the final 32 games and sit ninth in the Western Conference.
It’s been an up-and-down year for Golden State. The team hasn’t won more than three games in a row and has struggled to find consistency. The Dubs dealt with injuries at the beginning of the season and lost James Wiseman and Kevon Looney for a few weeks in February.
The Warriors are right in the thick of the playoff race. They’re only 3.5 games out of fifth but are just 2.5 games up on the 12th place Oklahoma City Thunder. The feeling is that fans will be allowed to attend games at the Chase Center, and given their large luxury tax bill, it’s easy to see why majority owner Joe Lacob would want to maximize gate revenue with at least one playoff series.
One thing we know for sure is that the Dubs aren’t a championship contender. Any hopes of a deep playoff run went out the window when word broke that Klay Thompson suffered an Achilles injury that will keep him out for the entire season.
General manager Bob Myers reacted as quickly as possible by trading a future draft pick for Kelly Oubre Jr. The 25-year-old is averaging 15.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season. Oubre is on an expiring contract and has let it be known that he would like to stay in the Bay Area.
“I would love to stick around,” Oubre told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Keith Burke. “I’m trying to make a home somewhere, grow in life. And I think [after] getting acclimated more and more here every day, this is a great place to do that. Everything happens for a reason in this life, and I’m here right now. I would love the opportunity to just play, and be comfortable here and continue to grow relationships with people in this organization.”
Oubre struggled early in the season, making just two of his first 30 3-point attempts. It took him some time to get comfortable in head coach Steve Kerr’s complex offense, but he found his footing in February, averaging 20.1 points per game.
With the NBA trade deadline coming up on March 25, Myers has an interesting dilemma. Oubre is one of the best five players on the Warriors who will certainly help the team try and get into the postseason. He’s learning not to force things on the offensive end and is at his best when he lets the game come to him.
But with the Dubs out of the title picture, Myers could look to move Oubre and land another future asset. Golden State holds the Minnesota Timberwolves’ top-three-protected pick this season. The Timberwolves have the worst record in the league, and there is currently a 52.1 percent chance that the pick will be in the top four. If the pick does land in the top three, it becomes unprotected in 2022.
The Dubs could get another highly-protected future first-rounder for Oubre and couple that with Minnesota’s selection to acquire another high-level talent in the offseason. Of course, the Warriors could keep the Timberwolves’ pick and take another young prospect with a huge upside to play alongside Wiseman for the next decade while Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green get into the twilight of their careers.
Golden State’s net rating is 1.2 points better per 100 possessions with Oubre on the court, so his impact hasn’t been earth-shattering. But if the Dubs try and trade him, the drop-off in production will certainly be noticeable. You would be looking at Kent Bazemore or Jordan Poole being in the starting lineup.
Trading Oubre might cost the Warriors a playoff spot this season, but they would be better suited to make a run at another championship in 2022.
If Myers elects to keep and try to re-sign Oubre, he will become the sixth man once Klay is back.
What do you think the Warriors should do with Oubre?