There’s no avoiding it: the Golden State Warriors are back. In just one offseason, they went from a ninth-seed in a hyper-competitive Western Conference to bonafide title contenders.
It’s easy to praise the work general manager Bob Myers has done with the end result in full view. But to do so would belie the masterful roster maneuvering Myers pulled. The offseason’s moving parts came together decisively and with one singular purpose in mind: to win the Warriors their fourth ring.
With the Warriors’ busy offseason coming to a close, a fourth ring is now absolutely in the realm of possibility from a basketball standpoint by way of a good deal of foresight from the team’s front office.
Here’s a deep dive into the moves their front office made this offseason and how they can contribute to their quest for another title.
Warriors brought in NBA-ready talent: B+
Jonathan Kuminga, a stout, 6-foot-7 forward who has already had experience in the NBA G-League, is about as NBA-ready as you can get for a team looking to contend for a title. Widely touted as the best small forward in his draft class, Kuminga has the athleticism and physical tools he needs to be a potent slasher on one end and a stingy, switchable defender on the other.
Production was no problem for the rookie. Kuminga put up 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists against G-League pros on 32.8 minutes per game.
On the other hand, the advanced stats betray his rawness as a prospect. Among starting forwards with at least 10 games and 30 minutes per game, Kuminga was 11th in defensive rating (106.3) and 12th in offensive rating (100.1) among 13 forwards, per G-League Stats. He was a net -6.2 in his minutes, and his team had better offensive and defensive ratings with him on the bench.
His floor-spacing is still suspect, too, after shooting .246 on five attempts per game in the G-League, though it’s easy to chalk this up to the growing pains of acclimatizing to NBA distance.
Truthfully, Kuminga’s G-League stats don’t jump out to you. What they do leave is room for excitement over his potential after he gets some run.
Can Moses Moody be a net positive as a floor-spacer?
As if the addition of Kuminga wasn’t enough, the Warriors also landed shooting guard Moses Moody with the 14th overall pick.
Moody, described as one of the best overall shooters in his draft class, was selected at the behest of Draymond Green. And for good reason: the 6-foot-6 wing has a world of potential as a shot creator and could have gone anywhere within the first half of the first round according to most mock drafts. That he fell all the way to 14 meant the Warriors simply had to throw caution to the wind and pick him up.
He’s already an elite shooter as it is, but playing backup for another elite two-way sharpshooter like Klay Thompson is as good a place to jumpstart your career as any. Throw in the greatest shooter of all time, and the Warriors might be the perfect starting point for a guard of Moody’s skillset.
Trading the picks for a superstar would have been a worthwhile route, but the Dubs drafted the best possible pieces to contribute to a deep playoff run. Kuminga will have to do more catching up in his role than Moody, but both project to play solid minutes if given the right mentorship.
For this writer, the Warriors’ decision to make use of their picks gets an A+ solely on their potential to contribute immediately.
Dubs signed established, versatile veterans: A
And perhaps the biggest bonus came in the form of veteran two-way wing Otto Porter Jr. At the age of 28, Porter is still a sure contributor on any team he ends up playing on. His injury history makes this a low-risk, high-reward move that was absolutely worth pulling the trigger on.
At his best, the 6-foot-8 wing put up 17.5 points and 5.5 boards per game for Chicago in the 2018-19 season. He only played three games this past season, but shot an excellent .400 percent from deep the year before. That the Warriors landed him on a minimum deal should tell you all you need to know about the contract.
But the most rewarding acquisition for the Dubs this offseason has to be the return of swiss army knife Andre Iguodala. The do-it-all wing played an integral role in the Bay Area’s dynasty, and his locker room presence alone should be more than enough to justify the acquisition.
Iguodala was never known as a plus shooter, and he shot 33.0 percent from deep in his last season with Miami. However, his defense remains at a near-elite level. According to NBA.com/stats matchup data, he held guards to 39.6 percent and forwards to 44.5 percent when he was the closest defender.
Nemanja Bjelica to the Warriors made sense, too, as a basketball move. Despite his age, the 33-year-old can score competently from all three levels in brief spurts as evidenced by his 6.5 points per game on .370 percent shooting from deep this past season.
The 6-foot-10 forward’s minutes may be situational at best due to his age and defensive limitations. However, the floor-spacing he brings to the table coupled with his size both make for an invaluable asset in head coach Steve Kerr‘s system.
Flexibility for later moves: A+
In the final analysis, Myers made the smartest possible moves for the Warriors from a basketball standpoint. The fit of each individual piece is clear, and each one should be able to help the Warriors one way or another. This leaves them with sure shooters and defenders in each position. Lineups should be no problem, and a tactician like Kerr should be able to figure out how to maximize their talents nicely.
But perhaps the most underrated aspect of the Warriors’ moves this past offseason is the leverage it affords them. These were smart moves that left the door open for moves by Golden State.
If any of these players don’t pan out as immediate contributors, the decision to choose the best available talent allows the Warriors to pull the trigger on a trade.
It’s not a reach to imagine the Warriors packaging any combination of their new acquisitions along with, say, Andrew Wiggins and James Wiseman, for more established stars like Simmons.
They all came on team-friendly deals, after all. And depending on the other party’s needs, the new acquisitions can either bring youth or veteran experience to bolster a potential trade.