Golden State Warriors: Steps to Contention

First and foremost, the Golden State Warriors can do nothing this offseason and be exponentially better next season than they were this season. This last season was a learning season as their stars recovered from injury. With that being said, plenty of other NBA teams are improving so it may be premature to pick the Warriors as favorites in 2020-21. There’s work to be done to return to the top of the league.

How the Golden State Warriors Return as Contenders

Step One: Explore All Options With The 2nd Overall Draft Pick

Typically teams drafting this high are in the midst of a rebuild, but of course, the Warriors’ situation is different.

The Warriors will certainly dangle the pick in potential trade packages. With that being said, they will likely have to include one of Draymond Green or Andrew Wiggins in trades as the organization is in a tough cap situation. The most likely of two to be on the market is Wiggins as Green has been integral to Golden State’s dynasty.

Stars possibly on the market include Bradley BealRudy GobertJrue Holiday, and Zach LaVine. With the way things are going for the Philadelphia 76ers, one of Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons might be as well. The options are there for the Warriors to pursue. Any of these players, while costing the Warriors a starter and their draft pick, would instantly make Golden State favorites once again.

If they choose to keep their pick, plenty of options will be available. Anthony Edwards is the likely first overall pick, which leaves the Warriors with options such as LaMelo Ball, Onyeka Okongwu, and James Wiseman. Ball is a project but has star potential. However, he wouldn’t be an immediate starter. Okongwu and Wiseman, on the other hand, will instantly start at the five for Golden State. Both have tools that will be welcomed to the current Warriors and the team’s future.

Step Two: Pursue Bargain Free-Agent Deals

The Warriors had an assortment of players receive floor time for them this season. Damion LeeEric Paschall, and Marquese Chriss played well given the circumstances, and deserve roster spots next season. If the Warriors want to immediately contend for a championship again, they’ll have to upgrade the other players.

Golden State, however, had a tendency to convince free agents to take a pay cut for a chance to win. That can happen again. Names they should pursue include Jeff Teague, E’Twaun MooreJordan McRae, and Aron Baynes, among others. Teague is an experienced point guard and a solid back-up to Stephen Curry. Moore and McRae are shooters, and Baynes is a leader who can legitimately start games here and there.

In a great-case scenario, having Lee, Paschall, Chriss, Teague, Baynes, and others off the bench would vault the Warriors up the ranks of the better benches in the league.

Step Three: Let Wiggins Thrive as a Complementary Player

This step is valid in the scenario of the Warriors choosing to keep Wiggins on the roster. Wiggins receives flack because he hasn’t lived up to his hefty expectations out of college. To be fair to the player, superstar comparisons right into the league are extremely hard to live up to. With that being said, Wiggins has proven that he is a starter and contributor.

Last season, while splitting time with the Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves, Wiggins averaged roughly 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game. He can score in bunches, there’s no doubt about that. He’s also going to have plenty of open looks playing alongside Curry and Klay Thompson. Wiggins can become a legitimately scary third option on offense. This makes the Warriors better and allows Wiggins to regain confidence. He’s still only 25, so he has the potential to contribute to the organization for many more years.

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