With the Warriors’ play-in game flameout and tumultuous season riddled with injuries, it became clear that changes had to be made. While Stephen Curry did have a season for the ages, he lacked consistent support from anyone on the roster.
Adding Klay Thompson to the mix should help, but after coming off of back-to-back injuries, it’s unclear if he will be back to his old self. Furthermore, Thompson may not be in action until early 2022, according to Warriors’ general manager Bob Myers.
Curry is not getting any younger, so it is imperative that the Warriors maximize his remaining prime in order to win a championship. James Wiseman and any future picks aren’t much help at the moment, and the Warriors’ core of Klay and Dray isn’t on the uphill anymore. It is crucial that the Warriors make a move for an all-star caliber player.
Luckily, the Warriors have plenty of assets at their disposal and are highly capable of adding an all-NBA talent to their roster. Here are the two players that they should target this offseason.
If the Warriors want to mortgage their future, there is no better available player to do it on than “Dame Time.” If this year’s All-Star Game was any indication, the Warriors would become a sight to behold and instant title favorites.
While Lillard and Curry aren’t the best defenders in the league, this deficit is largely because they carry the offensive load for their teams on a nightly basis. Playing together, their defense would likely pick up; even if it doesn’t, the Brooklyn Nets proved that overwhelming offensive talent can make up for a below-average defense. Unlike the Nets, Curry and Lillard would have NBA all-defensive talents in Thompson and Daymond Green backing them up.
While fans might be wary of trading too much for Lillard, past deals show that talented veteran players (who would have not signed with the team otherwise) typically sign for minimum deals when a new super team is formed in hopes of a ring. In essence, fans must realize that the Warriors wouldn’t really just be trading for Lillard.
Steph and Dame are also known for single-handedly lighting up defenses, regardless of the scheme. These two players are the ultimate force multipliers, as their presence alone gives teammates open shots. Their combined offensive firepower paired with the playmaking abilities of Green and arguably the second greatest shooter of all time in Thompson would overwhelm defenses.
If the Warriors want to go all in and win a championship, there is only one player they should do it for: Damian Lillard.
Ben Simmons has always been ridiculed by the NBA community due to his constant unwillingness to shoot. However, his most recent playoff performance against the Atlanta Hawks, where he posted an underwhelming series scoring average of 9.9 points on a 33.3% free-throw clip took the criticism to a whole new level.
As they say, though, “Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Despite his poor scoring numbers in the Atlanta series, Simmons has shown that he is capable of being an offensive weapon. Fans tend to overlook that he still averaged an impressive 8.6 assists per game in the series and a respectable 14.3 points per game throughout the season.
Moreover, fans must acknowledge that Simmons simply does not fit with Joel Embiid. As we saw earlier this season, Simmons put up a career high 42 points with 12 assists and nine rebounds against a top ranked defense in the Utah Jazz and without Embiid. Of course, he did not play like this every night when Embiid was out, but he has shown that he is more than capable of putting up elite performances.
While Simmons will likely never become a capable shooter, he is also only 24, and a new environment with a well-oiled organization such as the Warriors could stabilize his career and get his confidence back up.
Although Simmons would not be a seamless fit with the Warriors, as he plays similar to Green, he is not a bad choice by any means. The Warriors do not have a dominant interior presence that would clog up the paint for Simmons and have two of the best shooters of all time on the wings for him to pass to.
Essentially, Simmons would have much more room to play his natural role as a slasher and playmaker with the Warriors; he is also still a perennial All-Star and an elite-level defender whose stock has never been lower. If the Warriors can get him on the cheap, Simmons has shown he is certainly worth the risk.
Justin Kim covers women’s basketball and men’s water polo. Contact him at [email protected].
A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Joel Embiid’s name.