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Mailbag: What to do about the youngsters?

Plus, will the Warriors add a veteran?

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Moses Moody grabbing a rebound next to James Wiseman Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors had a rare three straight home off days this week, so it seemed like a good time for a mailbag. Thanks to everyone for the questions.

A year after finishing second in the league in garbage time adjusted defensive rating, the Warriors have plummeted to 25th. And I don’t think you drop off that far without the answer being “all of the above,” or something like that.

The effort level hasn’t been good, that’s for sure. Heck, Donte DiVincenzo all but said on Wednesday that he hopes to return and help the bench fix its energy issue. The team is hanging its head, not getting back in transition (even off of made baskets!), and not fighting through screens. They’ve also been chasing offensive rebounds a tiny bit too much for my liking, which has opened the door for transition opportunities for their opponents.

The personnel also hasn’t been good. The bench has been awful — I probably don’t need to go into detail about the defensive foibles of James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Jordan Poole, and JaMychal Green — but the starters haven’t played up to their standards, either. The other day Draymond Green said he needed to do a better job quarterbacking and that Andrew Wiggins needs to be better at the point of attack. I agree with Dray. Those two — plus Kevon Looney — are the least of the Dubs’ defensive concerns, but slippage there is at least partially responsible for that number.

And yeah, I think the scheme is a part of it as well. Steve Kerr has drawn up genius offensive and defensive systems built around Steph Curry and Draymond Green, respectively, and neither of those systems functions very well when the players don’t quite fit or buy in.

I think Moses Moody has a very bright future as a three and D style wing. Personally I don’t see him ever being a guy that is a high-level starter, but I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again (and again, and again).

But I absolutely think he can be someone in the Kentavious Caldwell-Pope mold: a high-quality defender who stands on the perimeter and makes threes, and occasionally gets out in transition.

I was listening to the latest Warriors podcast on The Athletic today, and I thought Marcus Thompson II and Anthony Slater made a good point: Kerr seems to have certain mistakes that anger him more than others, and Moody (as well as Wiseman and Kuminga) seems to make a lot of those mistakes. But I still think he’ll be a decent part of the team’s plans going forward. He certainly has the highest floor of the team’s first, second, and third-year players.

None that I’m aware of right now. If the team is still struggling in January or February, then I’m sure there will be rumors. But right now they’re getting ready to welcome in two experienced vets: DiVincenzo and, eventually, Andre Iguodala.

They’ll wait to see how that goes before signing another.

Taking these two questions together. I expect the 15th roster spot to go unfilled unless the team is struggling at the All-Star break. Then, as mentioned in the previous answer, they might explore a veteran (or they might convert a two-way contract).

As for trading the youngsters ... yikes. I really don’t know. It’s not gonna happen soon, but if Kuminga and, in particular, Wiseman, are still struggling near the deadline, you have to think the Warriors starters will be putting pressure on the front office to go all in.

At some point the Warriors front office will need to realize that the two timeline nonsense is a little silly.

I’d start with his defense, and after that I’d work on his offense.

I know Warriors fans liked Williams a lot, but he is a long ways away from earning a role on the Warriors. He’ll need to show out on both ends of the court in Santa Cruz, and then maybe the Warriors will consider replacing Anthony Lamb with him on a two-way contract.

Depends on who you ask. The starters, coach, general manager, and owner all have dramatically different ideas here.

Let’s start with something in favor of Wiseman staying with the Warriors. He’s still only played 49 career games, and can do things physically that the Warriors have never really had before. It’s not like he’s Hasheem Thabeet out there.

And now something in favor of trading Wiseman. He’s unlikely to get the minutes he needs to develop anytime soon, and it’s becoming more clear every day that his offensive skillset doesn’t really fit all that well with what the Warriors do on that side of the ball. Because of that, a different team probably still sees a lot of value in him: can you imagine the Philadelphia 76ers using him as Joel Embiid’s backup, and just running endless pick and rolls with him and James Harden? I’m not saying he’d be good, but it’d be worth checking out.

More importantly, Wiseman is due more than $12 million next year. Forget the tax payments, which bring that to something around $100 million ... that’s about the same salary as Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. ... combined. The Warriors have an opportunity to win some more rings before Curry starts to fade. They’re going to have to think long and hard about converting Wiseman’s salary into some quality veterans.

No, for two reasons. The first is that there aren’t any superstars available. And the second is that Klay Thompson doesn’t currently have any trade value, plus he’s not a rental yet (I’m setting aside the third reason, which is that I don’t think they’d ever consider trading him). It angered people in the offseason when I said that the only way the Dubs could feasibly trade Klay was for Russell Westbrook but ... it’s true.

Next year Klay will be a rental (barring a contract extension), and then he could at least be the salary match in a superstar trade. But that’s dependent on A) a superstar demanding a trade, and B) the Warriors mediocre youngsters and bad future picks being enough to outbid other teams, which it won’t be.

Not a question, but a very fair point. I’ll get my staff on it ASAP.

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