The 2019-20 National Basketball Association (NBA) season did not go as planned for the Golden State Warriors. Finishing last in the entire league with an embarrassing 15-50 record, this past season came as a shock to many after the Warriors’ dominance over the past five years.
What was already slated to be a difficult year for the Warriors quickly spiraled out of control. Coming into the season, the Warriors had already parted ways with former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kevin Durant, and had All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson out for the whole year due to a torn ACL. On top of this, two-time MVP Stephen Curry suffered a broken left hand in only the fourth game of the season.
While the season’s outcome definitely came as a shock to the majority of Warriors and NBA fans, there were many bright spots, even if the record didn’t reflect them. During the long reign of the Warriors, fans have become used to watching the seasoned veterans do battle with the league’s best, time and time again, but this season was an abrupt change. This year showed a plethora of young talent and an exciting new injection of youth into the aging Warriors roster.
During the long reign of the Warriors, fans have become used to watching the seasoned veterans do battle with the league’s best, time and time again, but this season was an abrupt change. This year showed a plethora of young talent and an exciting new injection of youth into the aging Warriors roster.
Thanks to the sign-and-trade deal made with Durant, the Warriors received D’Angelo Russell. While he was no doubt a young star, it became clear that the team could not use him once Curry and Thompson made their return to action.
The Warriors then traded Russell for the much maligned and criticized former first overall pick, Andrew Wiggins. While many were skeptical of why the Warriors would take such an underperforming player, 25-year-old Wiggins showed that he could potentially be the third scorer that the Warriors had been looking for. Similar to Harrison Barnes, Wiggins has potential to become a wing threat, as well as a cornerstone to the Warriors defense. As a third scoring option with age on his side, the Warriors can now explore new possibilities surrounding whether they keep him or package him into a trade. Wiggins is a young talent with great upside, and in a system where he isn’t expected to lead the team, he could flourish.
Following the Warriors lackluster performance, they now have something that they haven’t had in eight years: a lottery pick. The Warriors got lucky and landed the second overall pick in the 2021 draft. This opens up a wide range of possibilities for the team. Unfortunately, the 2021 draft class lacks stand-out stars, such as last year’s Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. Even if the Warriors draft talented youth, many are skeptical of how well the rookie will be able to contribute to the current “win now” mentality.
Memphis big man James Wiseman appears to be the likely choice by the Warriors if they end up keeping their current pick. While the seven-footer could no doubt fill the hole in their center position, he still has much to prove after only playing in three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) games.
Another likely scenario for the team would be to package the draft picks into a trade for an established veteran. Trade talks for the Warriors have been rumored for quite some time. With all of their acquired draft picks and players like Wiggins, the Warriors are now more than capable of creating a blockbuster trade. This could mean anything from Kelly Oubre Jr. to the back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Although nobody knows what General Manager Bob Myers will pull off during this offseason, the Warriors will no doubt have an exciting season next year, as they attempt to return to their championship form on top of the NBA.