Golden State Warriors
- Key Additions: Kelly Oubre Jr, James Wiseman, Kent Bazemore
- Key Losses: Klay Thompson
After putting up a dreadful 15-50 record last season due to injuries, the Golden State Warriors will look to return back to the top of the Pacific Division with superstar point guard Stephen Curry back at the helm.
Unfortunately for the second straight season, the Warriors will be without star shooting guard Klay Thompson after he suffered a devastating Achilles tendon injury on the morning of the 2020 NBA Draft. Without Thompson, expectations for the team’s season have dwindled, but if the past six years have shown anything, it is that the Warriors are the last franchise teams should doubt.
In the aftermath of Thompson’s injury, the Warriors made a trade for Kelly Oubre Jr. who will help fill the scoring gap that will be absent without Thompson. Next to Oubre at the wing position will be Andrew Wiggins, who will play his first full season with the Warriors, after being traded to the team at last year’s trade deadline.
Andrew Wiggins has struggled to find his place in the league over the past couple of seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but with the Warriors, he is not being asked to produce the same. Wiggins averaged 19.4 PPG hitting on 45.7% of his field-goal attempts in his 12 games with the Warriors last season.
This will be the first time in Wiggins’ career where he won’t necessarily be asked to play like a number one overall pick, rather he’ll be more of a supporting role player to Stephen Curry. He’ll have other teammates around him who can score the ball, which means he won’t be expected to carry the offense like he was often tasked with in Minnesota.
One player that Wiggins will play well off of is former All-Star forward Draymond Green. Green was the only player from the Warriors’ star trio who was healthy last season, and he had difficulty carrying the team on his own without Curry, Thompson, Kevin Durant who signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.
After a disappointing 8.0 PPG season, while shooting 39% from the field, Green will now be able to play his game the way he’s used to by leading the team’s ball movement, along with being the defensive anchor once again. Next to Green at the center position is rookie center, James Wiseman.
One of the perks to the Warriors being hampered by injuries last season is that they landed the 2nd overall pick in the draft, which they used on the athletic seven-footer. Wiseman will give the Warriors a weapon that head coach Steve Kerr has not had in his arsenal over the past 6 years, a potential All-Star center.
Wiseman fits in perfectly at the team’s center position, and with so many other good players around him, he won’t have the same high expectations that typical top-three draft picks usually have in their rookie seasons.
Most of Wiseman’s responsibilities will be around rebounding the ball and playing efficient defense next to Green in the middle. Kerr and the Warriors are fond of small-ball lineups, so it is very possible that Wiseman will be swapped for sophomore forward Eric Paschall on numerous occasions.
With a core of Curry, Oubre, Wiggins, Green, and Wiseman the Warriors should still be able to make some noise in the Pacific Division without Klay Thompson. Stephen Curry is still one of the best players in the league and has proven to be a great leader for the franchise.
If they are able to stay healthy through the season, they should be able to land a playoff spot in the Western Conference and perhaps play the Los Angeles Lakers.