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Which depth players should Warriors bring back next season?

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General manager Bob Myers will look to add some veteran help this offseason but could elect to bring back a few players from this year’s roster.

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors are entering another important offseason for the franchise. Despite a heroic performance by Stephen Curry, the Dubs missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

General manager Bob Myers will have some assets at his disposal to help improve the team for the 2021-22 campaign. All-Star guard Klay Thompson is expected to be healthy early next season after missing two years in a row with serious injuries, and the Warriors could also have two lottery picks at the draft.

Thompson and the two picks will help Myers address the main issue with this year’s roster, which lacks depth. Golden State’s second unit was up-and-down all season, and the team failed to consistently provide Curry with some scoring help.

Jordan Poole bounced back after a stint in the G League and provided head coach Steve Kerr with some scoring punch off the bench, but the Dubs will need more if they want to get back into title contention next season.

During his season-ending media availability, Myers said he would look to add some veteran pieces this offseason. The Warriors will have the $5.9 million mid-level exception and $5.8 million cash to send/receive in any trade, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Myers could also try and package the two lottery picks (if the Minnesota Timberwolves’ selection falls outside the top three) for a veteran or add some other pieces to acquire a star-level player.

Given the team’s salary cap situation, Myers will have to try and add some cheaper players. The Dubs have nine players under contract for next season. They are:

Curry
Thompson
Draymond Green
James Wiseman
Andrew Wiggins
Kevon Looney
Jordan Poole
Eric Paschall
Juan Toscano-Anderson

Of the players listed above, Paschall seems like the most logical one who could be moved this offseason. After a promising rookie year, injuries and COVID-19 related issues limited Paschall to 40 games this season. He averaged 9.5 points and shot 49.7 percent from the field, but Paschall didn’t make the leap Golden State was hoping for during his sophomore season.

Currently, the NBA allows teams to have 15 players on the active roster plus two players on two-way deals. The Warriors hold free agent Kelly Oubre Jr.’s bird rights and could re-sign the forward or look to move him in a sign-and-trade.

Myers will have to make some tough decisions on what to do with three players in particular. Veteran Kent Bazemore, Mychal Mulder and Damion Lee all contributed throughout the season and could be brought back.

Bazemore is slated to hit the open market but is a good depth option if the price is right. The 31-year-old started 18 games and averaged 7.2 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting a tidy 40.2 percent from deep. Bazemore started once Oubre went down with an injury late in the season and helped the Dubs play some of their best basketball down the stretch.

Bazemore had a cap hit of $1.62 last season and provided a ton of value. His 104.6 defensive rating was the best out of any Golden State player who played significant minutes. The Dubs’ net rating was 8.0 points better per 100 possessions, with Bazemore on the floor. The ideal scenario would be to retain Bazemore as a depth piece for next season.

Mulder averaged 5.6 points and shot 39.7 percent from beyond the arc last season. The 26-year-old’s +2.9 net rating was the sixth-best on the team. Mulder made $1.5 million in salary, and his contract isn’t guaranteed for next season. Mulder was inconsistent this season but showed he could be a meaningful contributor at times. He could be another option to retain that could fit in deep in the rotation.

Lee is another player who struggled with consistency issues. Lee played in 57 games and put up 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 18.9 minutes. He also shot a gaudy 39.7 percent from deep this season. No one can argue with Lee’s effort, but he was average by the underlying numbers; his presence on the court didn’t overly help or hurt the Warriors.

Myers could bring back none or all three players on cheap deals. If Minnesota’s pick conveys this year (and Golden State keeps it), the Dubs would be at 11 players under contract with both picks on the roster for next season.

That leaves four roster spots and two two-way players. Nico Mannion is another youngster who impressed coaches with his work ethic, while Gary Payton II also flashed some potential during his limited time with the team. The Alen Smailagic experiment will likely end this offseason, and Jordan Bell also won’t be back, which opens up some options for Myers.

Bazemore, Mulder and Lee each bring their own unique skill set to the team. It could depend on which one Myers covets the most.

Poll

If you had to pick one, which player would you want back with the Warriors next season?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Bazemore
    (1660 votes)
  • 6%
    Mulder
    (183 votes)
  • 18%
    Lee
    (486 votes)
  • 12%
    None
    (344 votes)
2673 votes total Vote Now

Let us know how you voted in the comments below.