Golden State Warriors 2021 Offseason Outlook


Overview


The Golden State Warriors completed the 2020-2021 NBA season with a record of 39-33 which ultimately placed them at 9th in the Western Conference and 15th in the league. After qualifying for the play-in tournament at 8th in the Conference, the Warriors lost two nail-biting games against the Lakers and the Grizzlies to fall out of the playoffs and finish in the lottery for a second straight season. After bottoming out last season without any of their stars, the Warriors were expected to return right to the top of the contenders but with another season ending injury to Klay Thompson as well as injuries to other key players, it took an insane, MVP level season from Stephen Curry to even keep the Warriors in the playoff race. James Wiseman had a disappointing rookie season, but many remain hopeful that under the guidance of Draymond Green, he can quickly grow into a strong starting center for this team. This offseason, the Warriors will have to decide on how their team looks for the future. Will they trade all their assets for another ageing talent and go after another championship or will they draft two young players to add to their youth movement and start to transition to the era after the splash brothers.


Salary Cap


Currently, the Golden State Warriors have 9 players with guaranteed contracts for the 2021-2022 NBA season. The Warriors have no player or team options but will have some non-guaranteed salary to make decisions on. While I expect Damion Lee and Mychal Mulder to return, I think it is time to move on from Alen Smailagic and Gary Payton. Payton didn’t get much of a run with the Warriors since signing mid-way through last season and Smailagic is a project that the Warriors have been working on for a while and he just isn’t progressing the way they had hoped so it is time to move to other options, especially if the Warriors are chasing a championship. Jordan Bell and Nico Mannion will be two-way free agents and I expect one or both of those to return. The Warriors also have a couple of key unrestricted free agents in Kelly Oubre Jr and Kent Bazemore. The Warriors will be well over the cap and into the luxury tax going into the offseason so they will only have the taxpayer mid-level exception available to them during free agency.


Depth Chart 2020-21 Season–


2021 NBA Draft


The Golden State Warriors will have both the 7th and 14th overall picks in the 2021 NBA Draft after the pick from the Andrew Wiggins trade conveyed. There is a lot of speculation about whether the Warriors choose to package these pick with some young players to use in a trade for a superstar like Lillard or Simmons, but I believe the best move is to use these picks. It add some quality players at a low price and helps secure the future as the splash brother start to age. With the 7th pick in this year’s draft, the Golden State Warriors should look to target Davion Mitchell, a 6’2” point guard out of Baylor. Mitchell is a 3 and D ball handler who has taken a great leap in his last season. He is a guy who can come into the NBA and make an immediate impact. He can help take some of the ball handling pressure off of Steph Curry and as a great shooter, he will fit well into this team. With the 14th pick in this year’s draft, the Golden State Warriors should look to target Corey Kispert, a 6’7” small forward out of Gonzaga. Kispert is potentially the best shooter in this draft which makes him an immediate fit on this team. He brings great energy and hustle on both ends of the floor and is a solid on and off ball defender which means he can take some pressure off Klay Thompson as he makes his return from injury.


Free Agency


The Golden State Warriors will enter free agency with very little flexibility and a large tax bill. They will still have a few key decisions to make during this time, mainly surrounding the future of Kelly Oubre Jr who is an unrestricted free agent. While initial reports suggested Oubre would play elsewhere next season, recent reports have suggested the two side are hard at work to negotiate a deal and the talks are progressing well, hinting that Oubre will return to play off the bench for the Warriors next season. I also expect the Warriors to bring back Kent Bazemore as he has been such an important team member for this group both on and off the court. As far as external free agents the Warriors can sign, their options are limited to players they can sign with the mid-level or minimum contacts. Two guys that could help this team are Nicolas Batum and Aron Baynes. Both players would be able to provide big man depth which the Warriors severely missed last season and they can also both stretch the floor which is so important when playing for the Warriors.


Summary


The Golden State Warriors will enter this offseason with an opportunity to lift themselves back into championship contention. With the top end of their roster returning at full health, the Warriors are already among the favourites and if they can draft well and make smart signings with their incredibly expensive roster, Warriors fans can be confident that their team can compete for the 2022 NBA championship.


Projected Depth Chart 2021/22 Season –