Analyzing The Golden State Warriors Offseason Moves Thus Far
What Moves Has The Team Made So Far and What’s Next?
The Golden State Warriors have been operating in a slightly different fashion this offseason. Following a disheartening playoff exit against the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in last season’s NBA playoffs, change was on the horizon.
In a season where the team finished with a 44-38 record, there was a noticeable dysfunction amongst Steve Kerr’s team last season. Kerr and first-year General Manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. have openly admitted this was a catalyst for change. In turn, this has led to some significant moves during this year’s offseason period. The front office has made concerted efforts to carefully retool the roster. With that said, here is an analysis of each acquisition thus far and their potential fits amongst the current roster.
Chris Paul will be entering his 19th NBA season, now a part of a team that will be both foreign and familiar to him.
The 38-year-old is coming off a season in which he posted 13.9 PTS, 8.9 AST, and 4.3 RBS in 59 games. He displayed that he still has something left to give, even if it’s in a minimized role as a steady, veteran presence. He also averaged 12.4 PTS, 7.4 AST, and 5.0 RBS in the 2023 playoffs, before suffering a groin injury in Game 1 of the Phoenix Suns’ second-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets.
The move to acquire Paul caught the NBA world by surprise for a variety of reasons. His age, the package that it took to acquire him, and his documented history of rivaling the Warriors in the NBA playoffs were factors that were put into question following the move. Not to mention, Paul possesses a distinct style of point guard play that the Warriors have simply not had.
Paul has shown excitement ahead of this new chapter. He stated that he is “going into a situation with a bunch of guys who’ve been playing together for a long time”. But because of the continuity of the Warriors core, the team will have to evaluate Paul’s fit alongside the main group. The coaching staff will surely take some time to determine how he fits rotationally, whether it’s in the starting lineup or off the bench. The defensive side of the ball will be a major consideration as Kerr builds out his rotations.
Paul has seemed reluctant to accept a projected bench role until he gets in the building and kicks off training camp. When asked if he’d be willing to accept such a role, Paul responded, “It’ll be a conversation for us when camp starts… I think we’ll figure all that stuff out”.
At the very least, the Warriors are undoubtedly hoping that Paul can provide a steady presence. He is renowned as a great offensive initiator who takes care of the basketball. This will be a determining factor of their success, following a season in which the team led the league in turnovers committed.
The Warriors announced they signed Cory Joseph on July 6th, 2023. A journeyman of sorts, Joseph has played for five different NBA organizations before joining the team this summer, including the San Antonio Spurs, where he was an NBA Champion in 2014.
Joseph has been trusted as a second-unit ball handler for the majority of his career. Last season for the struggling Detroit Pistons, Joseph averaged 6.9 PTS, 3.5 AST, and 1.7 RBS in 62 games. He also posted a 3.14 assist-to-turnover ratio which categorically landed him in the top-15 of all NBA players.
His ability to take care of the ball made him an attractive candidate to join the team as a reserve point guard. However, it is unclear what type of role Joseph will take up on a team with an already crowded backcourt. But there’s a chance he may have more on-court opportunities than expected this season. This is due to the regular season injury history and potential load management of both Stephen Curry and Paul.
Not known to be a dynamic scorer, Joseph will operate mainly as a distributor. He can, and will also be expected to, knock down the occasional mid-range or three-point shot when presented. Last season he made 46.8% of his two-point shots and 38.9% of his three attempts.
There was plenty of discussion early this offseason regarding Dario Saric’s compatibility with this current Warriors roster. The team announced they signed Saric on July 12th, adding much-needed front-court depth. The Warriors brass ultimately hope that the 29-year-old can provide impactful play off the bench.
Saric, a 6’10” forward, played a bench role with the Oklahoma City Thunder last season. He posted 6.4 PTS, 3.6 RBS, and 1.3 AST in 57 games.
It took some time for Saric to find his footing in the league. He started his career with lofty expectations as a lottery pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2014. He later went on to occupy bench roles for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns. The Suns traded him to the Thunder last March.
Saric has been effective in limited minutes over the past few seasons. However, he may be poised to show he can take on a more prominent role. He has shown he can take on a slightly larger role in FIBA Pre-Qualifying for his native Croatia. He has averaged 15.8 PTS, 6.4, and 5.6 AST, and 43.3% from beyond the arc. Although, it is unlikely that his minutes will fall in the high 20s for the Warriors. The team will count on him to score and defend effectively in his minutes off the bench.
The Warriors have had success in the past with big men who can stretch the floor. Players such as Marreese Speights and Nemanja Bjelica proved they could provide a much-needed scoring lift off the bench. Similarly to Saric, both posed threats with their floor spacing and pick-and-roll fluency.
Saric is regarded as a good rebounder and passer, and he will project as an undersized Center. This could reinforce the team’s need for additional front-court depth during this free-agency cycle.
The Warriors will continue to be proactive in this free-agency period if the right players become available. Dunleavy has stated during his post-draft press conference that the organization relies on players that possess “toughness and skill”.
The team currently has two roster spots available heading into training camp. Similarly to last summer, the team could choose to take their time to decide who will be occupying those openings.
However, look for the team to prioritize adding another player with size in the front court, and potentially another veteran player on the wing.