The Golden State Warriors have had a disappointing start to the NBA season, inhibited by a young bench that failed to capitalize on the dominance of their experienced veterans.
An inexcusable loss to the Orlando Magic and a tough loss to the New Orleans Pelicans put the Warriors on a five-game losing streak and 12th in the Western Conference. The Warriors’ bench is a combined -7.5 over-under over ten games, and it looks like their bold two-year timeline might finally be starting to show some cracks.
The Golden State Warriors could be forced into a win-now trade if belief grows about their young players’ inability to contribute to a title-seeking team this season.
Leading their bench struggles – James Wiseman. While the scrutiny has often been unfair on the former number two overall, given his stalled career to date, the Warriors don’t have time to sacrifice victory in the name of Wiseman’s development.
That’s what they’ve done so far this season, with Wiseman holding the lowest plus-minus of any player in rotation except for fourth-year guard Jordan Poole. The franchise will continue to give Wiseman the opportunity to grow and turn things around, but if they continue at a .500 win rate or worse, things could eventually reach a tipping point.
If that happens, here’s an obvious move the Warriors can make to significantly strengthen their center rotation ahead of another expected playoff series.
Wiseman and Spurs center Jakob Poeltl are making nearly identical amounts of money this season, making a direct player-to-player trade viable, even though those kinds of deals are hardly seen in modern NBA trades.
Despite what the current standings might suggest, these are two teams headed in very different directions – Golden State, still led by their veteran core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, want to add to their four titles over the past last eight seasons.
San Antonio, which achieved similar success at the turn of the century, is now in rebuilding mode and has its sights set on a high lottery pick — potentially consensus number one pick Victor Wembanyama.
It’s a deal that could freeze the aspirations of both franchises, allowing them to pursue their chances towards the ultimate goal.