The Golden State Warriors are coming off a big win over the Milwaukee Bucks and are hanging on to the 10th seed in the Western Conference.
The Dubs have been up-and-down during the 2020-21 campaign and have failed to get to four games over .500 all season. With Stephen Curry playing at an MVP level, the hope is that Golden State can get into the playoffs and possibly get some home dates with fans in attendance at the Chase Center.
This wasn’t the way this season was supposed to go. Expectations changed when news broke that Klay Thompson would miss the season after injuring his Achilles on the day of the 2020 NBA Draft.
General manager Bob Myers did his best to mitigate the loss by trading for soon-to-be free agent Kelly Oubre Jr.
He could still look to acquire another superstar with a package centered around the coveted Minnesota Timberwolves’ draft pick.
The question becomes if the Warriors will have enough to compete for a title next season. With Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, James Wiseman and potentially Andrew Wiggins making up the core of the roster, it would seem like Golden State could contend with the upper-echelon teams.
ESPN’s Nick Friedell doesn’t think so. He hopped on Zach Lowe’s podcast and explained why he thinks the Warriors just aren’t that good (h/t Heavy.com).
“The sooner the organization understands that, the faster they can start to retool around Steph (Curry). But in that regard, the Klay injury told them, and this season told them, they’re just not good enough. That core, as great as they were and as good as they still can be together—because I think they still can be a very good team—but the question is whether they can win a title together, the answer is no.”
No one knows how good Thompson will be when he returns. It won’t be easy to return to an All-Star level after missing back-to-back years, but Thompson is still a significant difference-maker. His 3-point shooting alone makes him extremely valuable in today’s NBA.
The issue with the Dubs this season is depth. The dreaded 12 minutes when Curry is on the bench has shown how much of a need it is for Myers to upgrade the second unit.
Jordan Poole’s improvement is a big help. He’s shown he can be a capable scorer off the bench and gives head coach Steve Kerr some firepower. Unfortunately, players like Damion Lee, Mychal Mulder and Juan Toscano-Anderson have proven to be too inconsistent to be relied upon next season.
Myers will have some options at his disposal to improve the roster around the core. Minnesota’s top-three-protected pick (becomes unprotected in 2022) provides Golden State with the opportunity to add another young talent to pair with Wiseman. Kerr could also bring the rookie off the bench to give some more firepower to the second unit.
The other option is to move the pick or an established star, like Bradley Beal. But if they do get a player like Beal, Friedell still wouldn’t be sold on the Warriors bring a title contender.
“It seems to me the only real question as to bringing in another star is would you trade James Wiseman, the Minnesota pick, Andrew Wiggins and a couple other picks for Bradley Beal—if he comes out onto the market. Beal would be great with Steph, they’d be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
But even then, with Beal, Klay, Draymond and Steph in that scenario, that is a really, really good team, but I don’t believe they can win a title, either. I think the Warriors are in deep trouble as far as title contention goes again. I just don’t think, no matter how you add up the pieces, it is enough to get them back to where they’re used to being.”
It’s going to be another exciting offseason for the Dubs. They could be a significant player at the draft and on the trade market.
Do you agree with Friedell’s opinion that Golden State isn’t good enough to win, even with a healthy Thompson? Or by adding Beal? How do you think the Warriors can get back to being a contender again next season?