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Warriors mailbag: Next year’s roster, hypothetical trades, and more

Plus, how tall would Jordan Poole have to be to be the best player in the NBA?

Milwaukee Bucks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

With a few off days before Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards, it was time for a Golden State Warriors mailbag. We got some great questions this week, so thanks to everyone who asked them.

It’s always hard to figure out the ceiling of players with fewer than 100 career games. Whatever I put is going to either look ludicrously optimistic or rudely pessimistic.

That said, I think Poole’s ceiling is a high-caliber starter. Not an All-Star, but a player not far removed from that level, either. Think CJ McCollum or ... uhh ... Monta Ellis.

Poole has a lot that needs to go right in order to get there. He needs to become much more consistent, and either hone in on his efficiency, or take a leap defensively. Preferably all of the above.

I think the most likely outcome for Poole is that he’s a quality seventh man. But his ceiling is a good bit higher than that.

Let’s break this down by category, examining all 15 Warriors.

Three Warriors are absolute, 100%, bet your life on it locks for next year: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

There are two Warriors who are very close to a lock, but not quite: James Wiseman and Andrew Wiggins. The Warriors love Wiseman, and have no intention of trading him. But if a superstar becomes available and Wiseman is the only thing keeping the Warriors from a blockbuster acquisition, they might have to hold their nose and do it. As for Wiggins, I just don’t see his contract as being tradable.

There are two Warriors who I would be very surprised to see gone next year: Jordan Poole and Kevon Looney. Both players are under contract, both are playing big roles on the Warriors, and both are valued highly by the team. Golden State has no desire to get rid of either player, but they also know that big moves need to be made this summer, and those two could end up being the price.

There is one Warrior I fully anticipate being back next year, but wouldn’t shock me if he’s not: Nico Mannion. The Warriors love Mannion. Steve Kerr loves Mannion. But there’s only so many youngsters you can keep.

There are three Warriors that I have no clue what will happen to: Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damion Lee, and Kent Bazemore. All are good players, and loved in the locker room. None are impact players who need to be held on to.

There are two Warriors I expect to be gone next year: Kelly Oubre Jr. and Eric Paschall. I don’t really see how Paschall fits on this team going forward, and it feels like the writing is on the wall with Oubre.

And there are two Warriors I would be shocked to see back next year: Alen Smailagić and Mychal Mulder.

There aren’t really any interesting free agents, so I think it’s most likely that they convert Juan Toscano-Anderson or Nico Mannion. There’s no short-term benefit to this, since the two-way contract restrictions have been removed this year, but it could allow the Dubs to sign either player to a multi-year contract, as they did with Toscano-Anderson, Mychal Mulder, and Damion Lee a year ago.

I suppose they could give Justinian Jessup a look as well, but that seems unlikely.

I don’t think either team would be very interested in this. From Portland’s standpoint, they’d have no clue how Green would fit with their team, and would be committing a lot of money long-term to a player that other teams are hesitant about. From the Warriors standpoint, they’d be trading their emotional heartbeat and best defensive player for a non-lottery pick, a bench piece, and Robert Covington, who’s well past his prime.

I also think Powell likely opts out of his contract after this season and becomes a free agent.

The Warriors would have had to part with either James Wiseman or the Minnesota draft pick in order to acquire Aaron Gordon, and they never seemed interested in parting with either of those things. Should they have been? You could make a strong case. But they’ve held that line pretty firmly.

We can dream, right?

The Warriors don’t have a good bench, but they do have a lot of people who they feel deserve to be playing. Steve Kerr doesn’t like to play 12 or 13 players a night, as he feels it keeps players from developing a rhythm. He’d rather they have a 9 or 10 player rotation, and change it every week or two.

I’m not sure there’s any way to best utilize them, because they’re almost all fringe rotation players.

No. He’s still a very good player and doesn’t have much trade value. It’s essentially impossible to come up with a scenario where they get better by trading him.

Not to mention, Steph Curry’s free agency is approaching, and the Warriors would be wise to not piss him off.

Maybe in five or 10 years, but now? Absolutely not.

The only thing the Warriors have that would even make the Timberwolves pick up the phone for a Karl-Anthony Towns trade is Steph Curry, and we all know that isn’t happening.

Towns still has three years on his contract after this season, and whoever acquires him will have the inside track to re-signing him because they can offer him more money. Even if he demanded a trade, there’s nothing Golden State can put on the table that will be in any way close to what other teams offer.

Justinian Jessup is playing very well in the NBL, averaging 14.6 points and shooting 42.5% from three-point range. The Warriors are likely very excited and encouraged by his performance.

As for Cady Lalanne ... the reality is he has no future on the Warriors, and never has. The Warriors had no interest in Lalanne, but the CBA dictates that all NBA trades must have incoming and outgoing value. So the Warriors couldn’t legally just pay the San Antonio Spurs to take Marquese Chriss’ contract — instead, they needed to receive something in return. But the Spurs weren’t going to part with anything for the pleasure of paying money to an injured player, so they sent the rights to a player who does not have an NBA future.

This is the greatest question of all time. I’m going to assume that when you say “maintained his skillset” you mean his athleticism and mobility as well as his shooting, dribbling, and playmaking abilities.

I’m going to say 8’0”. If that sounds overly critical, consider that Kevin Durant is 6’11” on a bad day, and has a similar style of play to Poole, just with roughly 100x the talent. And while Durant is certainly one of the best players in the world, he’s not the best player in the NBA, or at least not definitively so. I would argue that Kristaps Porziņģis has a similar skill ability to Poole, and he’s 7’3” and not even close to the best player in the world.

Ultimately, Poole isn’t quite talented enough to where just having a physical advantage would make him the best player in the world. He needs to have a towering physical advantage.

But with his passing ability and shooting touch, he’d be unstoppable if he were 8’0”.

I’d watch it.

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