As I wrote about the other day, it seems like it will likely be awhile before the Golden State Warriors sign another player to a guaranteed contract. They have 13 of their 15 guaranteed contracts filled, and have all but admitted that they’ll likely enter the season with just 14 filled, though they also have a trio of two-way contracts that they can sign.
It seems likely that they’ll leave the spot open in case any notable player becomes available (Rudy Gay, anyone?) and, if no one does, let it turn into a camp battle (Lester Quiñones, anyone?).
My assumption is that Mike Dunleavy Jr., Steve Kerr, and the rest of the front office and coaching staff feel like they have a competitive, championship-caliber core, and that any additional signings will be based on the caliber of the player rather than the need of the position.
But still .... what position do they most need?
Everyone views positions differently. In the modern NBA, I like to think of there being four positions: lead guards (where I’d put Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Cory Joseph, and Brandin Podziemski); wings (Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Moses Moody, and Gary Payton II); forwards (Draymond Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Dario Šarić), and centers (Kevon Looney and Trayce Jackson-Davis). Those aren’t exactly fool-proof designations ... you could put Curry, Podziemski, and Payton in any of the first two groups, or Green and Šarić in either of the latter two groups, but you get the point.
So what position should the Warriors fill? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each position.
Why it should be a priority: If healthy, the Warriors this year will have the best point guard duo in NBA history. Curry, arguably the greatest point guard in NBA history, and Paul, a consensus top-five point guard, in the same backcourt? What more could you possible want?
Well, the answer to that question is to remove the “if” from the “if healthy.” The Warriors two most accomplished players are also their two most injury-prone players, and while neither player is as injury prone as their reputation, it’s still a factor. The Dubs will want to cake in about 10 or so games of load management for each player, and injuries may keep them out another 10-20. Not having to rely on Joseph and Podziemski is the reason to target another lead guard.
Why it shouldn’t be a priority: Ultimately “this is our insurance for if our two point guards both get injured and our veteran backup isn’t playing well” probably is a more compelling case for signing a two-way player than a guaranteed contract.
Why it should be a priority: You can never have too many wings. That’s it. That’s the answer. In the modern NBA, you can never have too many wings. Wings are the “why don’t they just build the whole plane out of it?” of the NBA. The Warriors routinely put three, four, or sometimes even five wings on the floor, and the results are usually quite good.
Why it shouldn’t be a priority: The Dubs are fairly loaded with wings, especially when you consider Wiggins’ durability. And they’re also picky with wings, which is understandable ... the Warriors don’t like playing wings unless they’re really good shooters or really good defenders and, well, that’s because there aren’t really any wings who are successful that don’t do one of those things really well. Can the Warriors find a player for a veteran minimum that can actually impact the floor spacing or the defense? Enough to take minutes from a fairly stacked position that likes to draw from the lead guard pool, too?
Why it should be a priority: Additional size certainly doesn’t hurt. Dunleavy had a great quote the other day where he basically said that they want skilled players not big players, but if the skilled players are big, then that’s all the better. More power forwards means more size, and it also means more minutes for Green and Šarić at the five, where they can provide mismatches.
Why it shouldn’t be a priority: Kuminga is entering his third season and his age-21 season, and the general consensus — which I strongly agree with — is that he’ll greatly benefit from playing alongside Paul. Do we really want a player like Gay potentially blocking Kuminga’s minutes?
Why it should be a priority: No team in NBA history has ever said “oh no, we have too many tall players.” You can copy and paste my comment about Dunleavy’s quote in here.
Why it shouldn’t be a priority: When and where do they play? Sure, Looney probably won’t play all 82 games for the third consecutive season, and that opens up a few games and minutes. But Looney only averaged 23.9 minutes per game last year ... not even half the game. If the Warriors wanted to play with a traditional center more, they weren’t limited by a lack of options ... they could have just played Looney more minutes. With Looney as good and durable as he is, and Green and Šarić both playing small-ball five so well, it’s hard to find minutes for another center. Or at least, for one that would be available to the Warriors.
What position would you like to see them add?
What position should the Warriors fill in free agency?
This poll is closed