Warriors' Biggest Needs at 2022 NBA Trade Deadline

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2022

Warriors' Biggest Needs at 2022 NBA Trade Deadline

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    The 2022 NBA trade deadline might arrive earlier than the Golden State Warriors want.

    They only just got back Klay Thompson—after more than two years away—and are still awaiting James Wiseman's 2021-22 debut. In other words, they are in the middle of an identity change and will undergo another once Wiseman returns.

    Ideally, they would have more time to assess these tweaks before making potentially major decisions on the trade front. But the calendar waits for no one, so the Warriors will be running their self-assessments while scanning the trade market for upgrades.

    It's possible these needs could change between now and the Feb. 10 cutoff, but these look like the three areas most worth upgrading.

Spacing

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    Is this a greedy ask to help the rich get richer? You could characterize it that way since Thompson and Stephen Curry are two of the greatest shooters this sport has ever seen.

    Move past the Splash Brothers, though, and there are some legitimate spacing concerns.

    The frontcourt essentially has two shooters in the entire rotation, and neither gets even 22 minutes a night. Otto Porter Jr. packs a flame-thrower and adds enough two-way value to trust that he will handle a significant role going forward. Nemanja Bjelica can be a little more hit-and-miss, and there are nights when his defensive limitations make him hard to play.

    Andrew Wiggins feels safe to trust as a spacer, but Gary Payton II doesn't have a large enough sample to earn the benefit of the doubt. Draymond Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Andre Iguodala are all shaky shooters, and Kevon Looney never ventures out that far for more than screen-setting. An extra shooter or two might make life easier on everyone.

Size

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    While Green and Looney play bigger than their size, they are forced to so since most players at their position have more to work with.

    Green stands all of 6'6" and actually weighs more (230 pounds) than the 6'9" Looney (220). Short of snagging a mushroom power-up, there's no way for these players to physically measure up to the likes of Nikola Jokic (6'11", 284 lbs) or Joel Embiid (7'0", 280 lbs).

    Only the Warriors know how much that concerns them. Given this league's embrace of small ball, there are probably multiple paths to the title that don't run directly through these mountains in the middle.

    Golden State is also the only one that knows its level of trust in Wiseman and his ability to influence these matchups. If the Dubs think the sophomore can handle major minutes in a playoff game, they might not touch the center spot at all. But if they have any hesitations, they could get decent mileage out of even a minor deal for a veteran big who likes to mix it up on the interior and wouldn't cost much in an exchange.

Shot Creation

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    Golden State's commitment to playing the movement-based beautiful game can create magical highlights.

    But the system can only take the team so far. Sometimes, it just needs a bucket, and that's where it might help having extra wrinkles in the offense.

    The Warriors are 22nd in isolation scoring (5.0 points per game) and 25th in points off of drives (20.0), per NBA.com. While those rankings are low by design—they don't look to either action often—they do highlight the fact that, beyond Curry, there aren't many players who scare defenses off the dribble. Thompson, Wiggins and Jordan Poole all can, but even then the threat is limited since not one of them is a particularly sharp passer.

    Will Golden State cough up the trade chips needed to get someone who creates for himself and his teammates? Almost certainly not. But even a bargain deal for a microwave scorer or a natural ball-mover could make this offense even more dangerous.

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