Although they have endured a tough stretch to begin the new calendar year (3-5), the Golden State Warriors are still sitting pretty in the thick of the Western Conference playoff hunt. However, with a large chunk of the regular season still remaining, the Warriors now need to figure out what steps they need to take to stay there.
Making a trade before the deadline is highly unlikely given the Warriors' financial and cap situation, but that doesn't mean that Bob Myers and Co. aren't floating out ideas of possible roster shakeups that could improve Golden State's chances of not only making the playoffs, but having sustained success.
Let's take a look at some players the Warriors should definitely consider to bolster their lineup.
Now that the mullet is officially gone, Hawes' trade value increased exponentially.
Although Andrew Bogut inches closer and closer to a return, there is still plenty of uncertainty about how long his ankle can hold up when/if he does come back. If Bogut suffers a setback or, even worse, doesn't return at all this year, that leaves the Warriors razor thin at the center position with Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins manning the middle. Those two aren't exactly the ideal ingredients to a playoff run.
Hawes is averaging 9.5 points per game to go along with 5.9 rebounds this season and would provide Mark Jackson a very stable and reliable big man up front. He also has the ability to knock down the occasional three-pointer and block a shot here and there—both of which would be welcome additions to the Warriors.
Ultimately, Hawes could provide insurance for Bogut, and, with a fairly reasonable salary ($6.5 million per year over the next two), wouldn't be a huge risk to add.
On the surface, it may seem the last thing this team needs is another three-point shooter.
But when you look closely, it really wouldn't hurt to get one to help the second unit spread the floor and give more space to Jarrett Jack for creating and getting himself and others shots.
Morrow burst on to the scene with Golden State and proved he belonged by demonstrating one of the sweetest strokes in the game. He has continued to knock down the three consistently at his stops in New Jersey and now Atlanta.
Things haven't gone smoothly for Morrow down in the ATL as he's spent much of his time injured and in Larry Drew's doghouse. Despite all that, he is still one of the deadliest shooters in the game when given an opportunity and could help make the Warriors bench even better than it already is.
Plus, Morrow is still a fairly popular ex-Warrior, so having him back in the Bay Area would certainly go over well.
When you watch Jared Dudley play, he sort of looks like he's playing in slow motion and wouldn't be effective in any facet of the game.
Dudley would be a great addition to the Warriors bench, almost acting as a less-athletic Brandon Rush with his ability to shoot the three (40 percent on his career) and play solid defense. He is a very low-maintenance player and appears to be a great locker-room/glue guy, which would only add to the already great chemistry on this team.
Oh, and he'd also be bringing his famed show, JMZ to Oracle. That's just a winning situation for everyone.
OK, I know you probably just shuddered at the utterance of his name, but hear me out. Right now, the Warriors lack an Irrational Confidence Guy. What's that, you may ask? Bill Simmons explains it as:
"The guy who isn't one of the team's best players, but he'll have stretches in which he THINKS he is."
The L.A. Clippers have one in Jamal Crawford, and the New York Knicks have one in J.R. Smith. As long as the coach figures out a way to utilize them properly, they can be assets and not detriments as they would initially seem.
Thornton is a born scorer who posted a career high back in 2011 when he dropped 42 points against (ironically) the Golden State Warriors. Does he shoot a terrific percentage? No, but that's not why you'd be trading for him.
You'd be trading for him to acquire that guy who may not be the star player but isn't afraid to take the big shot. He could single-handedly swing games if he catches fire, and if he doesn't, then you bench him until you're ready to check again to see if he has the hot hand.
As long as the coach can minimize the risk with someone like Thornton, then it would be a win-win situation for both sides.