The State of Golden State
They are not without a face of the franchise. They have Stephen Curry.
They are not without a direction in mind. They have made two straight playoff appearances.
They are not without support. They don't call it 'Roaracle' for nothing.
What they are without is a head coach, but even that isn't as pressing as some other moves because they have a few candidates in mind. The Warriors need to make some players available, lock up some others, and make a move that will surely put them in the mix as serious players in the Western Conference...which is what they covet. As it stands right now, this is a team that will make the playoffs every year and, with a little luck, find their way into the second round but much like a freshman in a locker room full of seniors they have no business being there. Now is the time for the team to do some things that will show the rest of the league they are knocking down the door and go for it all.
Kevin Love is in the last year of his deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves and has given no inclination whatsoever that he intends to re-sign with the club. Now is the time for the Warriors to strike. If I were the General Manager I would explore the concept of trading David Lee and/or Harrison Barnes to Minnesota for Love with the promise that he signs a long term deal. I didn't say I would do it...unless they T'Wolves go for it...but I most certainly would approach them about the deal. D. Lee is consistent, but he is oft-injured and he isn't very tough in the paint. Kevin Love, on the other hand, is even more consistent, much more durable, and he can stretch the floor in ways David Lee cannot. Moreover, for a team that is promoting the Splash Bros., Love would provide another three point shooter in the starting lineup.
Harrison Barnes, who I do like, is probably not going to blow up in the final year of his deal. Signing him to a long term deal and getting the same production you are now would stunt his growth, as well as that of the team. He is not ready to start yet and disappears for way too long of a stretch at times throughout the season to be counted on as someone who can thrive with that type of team. Based on what I have seen, Barnes is better suited on a team where he is the first or second option, as opposed to the fifth or sixth. I am convinced he would be an All-Star more often than not throughout his career if he played with a pass first point guard who could get him the ball where he likes it and enhance the weapons he has on offense. That will not happen playing with the likes of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
MOVE STEPHEN CURRY
Yes. Move him. Not as in trade. Move him over. Make Andre Iguodala the point guard, make Stephen Curry the two guard, and move Klay Thompson over to small forward. This move would enable the Warriors offense to have more flexibility, it would take some of the scoring onus off of Iggy, and it would free up Stephen and Clay. If those two are running around the court, not only can two men on the same team not keep up with them, but someone will always be open. In addition, this will dissuade opposing teams from trying to double Steph; especially in the playoffs. I wouldn't try this; I would commit to it and make the teams make adjustments every night. This isn't to say that Steph cannot go back to point guard on some nights, but teams need to know there is a weapon that the Warriors have that they aren't afraid to use. It make things more exciting and keep the other teams honest.
GRAB ANOTHER BIG MAN
Andrew Bogut gets injured when he thinks about getting injured. As a matter of fact, he sprained a neck muscle reading that last sentence and may not be ready for training camp in 2016. When he is healthy, he is a very viable center, but the key is when he is healthy. Sometimes he can stay healthy for a few weeks, sometimes a few months, but whenever he gets hurt...he's gone for a substantial amount of time. Festus Ezeli may pan out to be what the doctor ordered, but even he hasn't had enough playing time to just thrust him into the starting lineup, and Boges is being paid way too much money to come off then bench. They won't be able to move him and get anything significant in return so the club is stuck with him and hoping that he can stay healthy for the 2014-15 campaign.
I was all for the trade that brought him here, as it was time to part ways with Monta Ellis, but he may not be the perfect man for the team right now. If there by any free agent center out there who is inexpensive and worth his salt the Warriors should be on the phone with his agent now.
The Warriors are (at least) 2-3 years away from being an upper echelon team in the Western Conference. A playoff run past Denver last season fed the fan base with false bravado and a pot of fools gold as many believed the team was on their way to the Conference Finals or The Finals. Outside observers who could see the forest through the trees knew that was pretty far fetched, considering the Warriors did not do much to improve themselves and the other teams in front of them did. It did not mean the Warriors would not be and are not a formidable opponent, but they are not a team that will scare you from top to bottom. Teams who cannot do that will not be around long come playoff time.
If the team really wants to put themselves in a position to be dominant and (legitimately) compete for a title, they are going to need to get stronger on defense and deeper on offense.
That would be none other than Draymond Green. With the exception of Stephen Curry, he is the only guy on the team that should be off limits (under ALL circumstances). He gives too much to the team and takes too much away from the opponent to be lured away. If I were the Warriors, Draymond would get a three year deal this offseason. He has shown in the last two years that he is only going to get better and teams around the NBA are always looking for a bruiser, a defender and a scorer. I could very easily see him in San Antonio, Portland, Sacramento or any team that is established or up and coming. Add Memphis to that group. If the price is right and the core of that team is still intact, the Clippers would snatch him up in a heartbeat.
Giving him another year to get better would hinder the teams opportunity to re-sign him; especially given the fact he will be a free agent. The Warriors have a lot of cap space next offseason and should spend whatever money they have now on locking him up. They needn't give him a max deal, but don't let him slip away. Failure to do so will hurt them just as bad as the absence of Jarrett Jack during this past season.
FIND A BENCH
This is going to be the death of that team. When the starters take a rest there is no one on the bench that makes the opposition do a double take, say oh no, or simply makes them tighten up on defense. When you looked down the court at the Clippers bench, they can hit you with 3-4 who can score at will and put a game away. As I pointed out in the other article, the Warriors lost a lot of leads last season and while it isn't fair to point out one thing, it cannot go without saying that the lack of a deep bench had something to do with that. That is the difference between the Warriors winning 54 games and being a sixth seed and winning 60 games and being a three seed.
The Warriors are afforded the opportunity of being able to play around a little bit during the summer because of a (somewhat) successful season, but they shouldn't be sitting on their hands waiting for the next season to start. They need to hold on to Day Day (Draymond Green), look into a few trades/acquisitions, hire a head coach, and make sure their bench is ready for the long haul...
Or they could go back to being the Warriors of old. The choice is theirs.