The Golden State Warriors are in the middle of two off days before they conclude their five-game road trip with games against the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. Off days are perfect for two things: visiting the White House, and mailbags.
So let’s jump into the latter. Thanks for the questions, everyone.
Do you see the warriors shipping any of the younger players by trade deadline?— TheNation (@eMDeeeMeS) January 18, 2023
I’m not ruling out the possibility, but I very much don’t expect it to happen. I don’t think they’ll be able to get the type of difference-makers that would be required to pry those players away from them just yet. They remain super high on Jonathan Kuminga, Patrick Baldwin Jr., and Ryan Rollins. Trading James Wiseman would be selling ultra-low and giving up on someone that Joe Lacob has advertised at every turn. I doubt Moses Moody has enough trade value to be a conversation piece.
Anthony Lamb seems to be a keeper. Does that mean someone else has to go?— Dr. Mark Sigmon (@MarkSigmon64) January 18, 2023
Nope. The Warriors still have one open roster spot, which means if they do absolutely nothing, they can either sign a free agent or a buyout player, or they can convert Anthony Lamb (or Ty Jerome) to a real contract.
Now, trades could obviously complicate things. And a desire to get both Lamb and Jerome on the roster before the playoffs could complicate things. But strictly speaking, they can add Lamb to the roster, and make him eligible for the playoffs, without getting rid of anyone.
favorite trade target?— james (@javybetter) January 18, 2023
Not sure I have one, to be honest. It’s always so hard to identify players that will be on the trading block, and what it would cost to get them. I’m not optimistic about the trade value of any of the players that the Warriors would be willing to part with, so I just don’t really see anyone on the market that’s particularly attainable.
If I had to identify a player mold as a target, though ... I know most Warriors fans are clamoring for a big, but I’d opt for a defensively-competent wing who can shoot. Basically Moses Moody, but with Steve Kerr’s trust.
On that note...
What's going on with Kerr - Moody? Why so few minutes for Mo'?— email@example.com, eventually. (@moonbeaver) January 18, 2023
Kerr somewhat notoriously has a doghouse for players, especially younger ones, when they make certain types of mistakes. It’s not entirely clear what types of mistakes those are, but I think it’s clear that Moody is not quite playing the way that Kerr wants.
One problem with Moody is he just doesn’t do much. His style is 3-and-D — he’s not really a rebounder, passer, driver, or cutter — so if the Warriors don’t trust him with either 3’ing or D’ing then there’s no reason for him to be on the floor.
Still, his lack of minutes is pretty odd.
Will the warriors get a true big center to back up loon ?— J U S T L U I S (@lapgxo) January 18, 2023
I doubt it. The Warriors won a championship last year without a backup center. Looney is an iron man, and their best lineups will always have Draymond Green at the 5. In playoff games, I would expect Looney or Green to be playing the 5 for every meaningful minute. If something happens to one of those two, Kuminga, JaMychal Green, and possibly Wiseman can fill in in a pinch.
PBJ has looked good in short stints. Does it look like his minutes bump up in the 2nd half of the season?— Sahil Kemkar (@skemkar3) January 18, 2023
Is he an answer to play 10 mpg or so as the big to ease the Dray/Looney burden, or is he still far too young/inexperienced/bad?
No, I don’t think so. Baldwin got minutes because Kuminga, JaMychal Green, Andre Iguodala, and Andrew Wiggins were all sidelined. He’s still at the back of the depth chart when the team is healthy.
Like you said, he’s looked good in short stints, and I expect him to be an important part of the bench rotation next season. But right now, injuries are the only way he’s going to see the court during non-garbage time.
Warriors biggest need is defense. They have 3 dead-ish roster spots taken up by PBJ, Rollins, and Moody. Wiseman has been really mid. If the dubs could trade them all, what is the best package/packages— That Ball Fan (@ballknowingfan) January 18, 2023
First off, I still think this team has the potential to be a very good defensive team without making any adjustments. The starting lineup has no reason not to be elite on that end of the court, and, despite fans ragging on him, Iguodala’s addition to the bench really helps.
The Warriors defensive issue has been that their defense hasn’t traveled. A year ago they led the league in garbage-time adjusted defensive rating at home, and were fourth in the league on the road. This year they’re second in the league at home, and 28th on the road. So the defense is there, they just haven’t figured out how to pack it on the plane.
As for packages, we can rule out trading all the youngsters together. Even if the Warriors wanted to (they don’t), it’s so hard to trade a package like that, because you have to find a team that wants to dedicate four roster spots to those young, unproven players. Which means starting with a bad team, but then you need a player in the $15 million range that the bad team is willing to get rid of. And the Warriors don’t want a player in that price range unless that player is really, really good, in which case that package is no longer close to being enough to pull off a trade.
So they’d probably have to break up the players, but it’s hard to trade players on rookie contracts and get much in return, because of matching salaries.
Long story short, don’t expect any of the youngsters to be playing for new teams until next season.
Ceiling kuminga— Sin Nombre (@desbloquame) January 18, 2023
Obviously they’re different stylistically, but I can see him being similar value to Khris Middleton. A player who makes the All-Star Game a handful of time, contributes on both ends of the court, will occasionally put up big numbers but doesn’t need to in order to provide value, who you would love to be your third-best player, but can also be the second-best player on a really good team, providing the best player is a superduperstar.
Before you jump on me, the question was ceiling, not expectation.
Should PBJ get moodys minutes? He seems to be a perfect for the dubs— Carter (@iamfrankcarter) January 18, 2023
Next year, yes. This year, no.
Warriors trade deadline prediction?— Clay (@game6clay2) January 18, 2023
Apologies for going the boring route, but I think they stand pat. I don’t think any player of note for a price they’re willing to pay will be available. I think they’ll sit on their hands, take a few calls, check out the buyout market, and then convert Lamb or Jerome.
OK last one: Seems to me that the Ws as a team are missing that little bit of spice/spark that can really elevate their joy and their play. Yes, Dray provides a certain earnest energy, but that's not exactly the same thing. I'm thinking GP2 dunks, eg. Kuminga sometimes gives 1/— firstname.lastname@example.org, eventually. (@moonbeaver) January 18, 2023
Yeah, the spark has been missing, no doubt about it. I’m hopeful that as the playoffs grow closer, we start to see a little more urgency. We’ve been seeing Draymond be more of a spark lately, and I think that could continue to increase. Klay starting to find his rhythm really helps, too.
Ultimately I think they need to rattle off a nice winning streak ... like six to eight games or so ... and that might ignite things.
Will the Warriors hire fans to sit behind the bench to heckle Dray? It seems the only to motivate him.— Captain Hopium (@b_crane1) January 18, 2023
Look, I’m not saying they should do it, but I’m not saying they shouldn’t do it, either...