Trade Speculations And Scenarios – The Draymond Departure

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Updated: June 16, 2021
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The Situation

Despite the theatrics at Staple Center, a 33-foot prayer by the King was answered and left the Warriors 3 points behind the defending champs of Los Angeles. MVP numbers and a dominance which many believed was left in Chef Curry’s past, but 20 Golden State turnovers in San Francisco against Memphis solidified a fact that cannot be ignored. The tandem of Steph Curry and Draymond Green remains the most polarizing equation in the future of the Golden State Warriors. Will Klay Thompson’s reemergence prove to be the remedy for their 4th quarter shortcomings? Or, as many have claimed since KD’s departure from the Bay to New York, is the Kerr/Curry off-ball offense now limited to a regular season tactic that fizzes out in the post-season?

A team that has lived in the spotlight as the tails of a coin shared with the face of King James, no other offensive scheme has been analyzed and dissected in tape rooms more than the Steve Kerr movement offense. All the surprises and wow attached to elevator door screens and off-ball tactics have shifted from a shiny new Ferrari to a faded gray Toyota. For the first time, an overwhelming number of fans and voices across the Pods have asked the question: why can’t they just use the Steph pick n’ roll and ISO like every other great guard in this league? The answer is simple…when things are working through the passing turret known as Draymond Green, there is no offense in the NBA that flows with such an eloquent ascetic. It’s artistic, impressive, sexy even. However, it is not only the system itself and its limitations but the personnel who it depends.

Draymond Green has proven since the second KD/Steph Championship that at times he can become a liability on the offensive end. None of that mattered though with such overwhelming level of talent the 4 All-Stars and the Iguodala death-lineup provided. With KD in Brooklyn however, Steph on a nightly basis is dealing with post-season like coverage. Without Klay on the floor, the opposition rarely is properly punished for the extreme defensive schemes applied on the Baby Face Assassin. The question though which has already been posed, even in Klay’s return, too often Draymond is ignored as a nonexistent shooting threat which allows the comfort of double and triple teams on Curry. 

Not only is Dray ignored due to his reluctance to shoot, but he also has no sweet spots on the floor where he feels comfortable to consistently score from. This forces the offense to go through him in nearly every possession he is on the floor. Due to their offense being heavily scouted and his tendency to hunt highlight assists is well known, Draymond’s greatest attribute on offense as a distributor and primary ballhandler too often is the demise of the Warrior’s late-game attack. Steph’s greatest weakness is no longer his lack of size on defense, but his recklessness with the ball, however, his overwhelming impact on scoring and spacing nullifies his above-average turnover rate. Green on the other hand shrinks the floor as opponents dare him to shoot from distance, leaving 10 feet of space between himself and the closest defender. 

           With Draymond constantly being force-fed the ball to initiate the offense (since he has no other value on this end of the floor), it forces all other players off-ball. This leaves them with little opportunity to gain rhythm to ISO and create as they have done their entire career from AAU till now. The offensive impact of Wiggins, Oubre, and any players the Warrior’s would be able to acquire with the picks and Wisemen trades become limited through this dedication to Draymond being solely responsible for offensive creation outside of when Steph is asked to take over isolation. All great scorers in the league require the ball in some capacity. The two-man game of Dray and Steph seem to not only lack the space for this to occur but down the stretch of playoff game scenarios lacks the impact it does in the looser regular season situations. 

           With all that said, Draymond has proven again this last month of May that he still is one of the true elite defensive weapons in the NBA. If asked in March or April, Green’s trade value for most across the league was at an all-time low. However, with the late-season playoff push and the taste of the ex-Defensive Player of the year still fresh in the mouths of front-offices, should the Warriors sell high this off-season on the heart and soul of a dynasty? 

This is the case for why…

 

The Solutions 

Outside of the Splash Brothers and Dray, the Warrior’s pieces are centered around Andrew Wiggins, free-agent Kelly Oubre, Sophomore and 2nd pick of the draft James Wisemen, and the heavily coveted Minnesota lottery pick in the upcoming loaded 2021 draft. With Curry’s MVP caliber 30+ a game season, the question of doubling down on Steph’s window has been answered. The Lakers, Clippers, Bucks, and Nets have all empty their draft accounts for win now weapons. With Golden State’s dedication to maximizing the Curry window, they should not be far behind. From his rookie season, it is quite clear that although his ceiling is high, James Wisemen is a multi-year project, and looks far from being a starting-caliber center on a real contender. As tempting as it may be to watch him develop next to the 5th pick in this year’s draft and have a young core of future all-stars moving forward, it is the potential of that future tandem that should be enough to fetch win-now pieces to put around Curry and Klay. 

           The Warriors’ depth at the 4 is actually quite substantial. Eric Pascal’s sophomore year was a disappointment but has serious potential of being a brute force as a scorer and a versatile defender. Juan Toscana Anderson has been deemed the baby Draymond and at 23 million dollars cheaper, spaces the floor. Looney has this season been primarily played at the 5. However, as he provides little rim protection but is one of the best perimeter defending bigs in the league, he would fit well next to a modern 3 point shooting center. Not to mention, Wiggins’ strength to defend 4’s and protect the rim has been something completely overlooked. Andrew also seems to prefer to get inside and body smaller defenders. Allowing for more of the Wiggins/Curry pick n roll will also keep Wiggins engaged on the offensive end, which is really the only thing stopping him from being a 25 point a game scorer. 

           With just these options, could the 4 spot on the offensive end be arguably better suited without Green in it? It is the small ball 5 attack and Draymond’s elite defensive presence which would be missing. The question is where the Warriors hedge their bets. 24, 26, 27.5 million are the annual dues for an aging reluctant scorer whose entire value is based upon his ability to deal with the physicality of giants. One could argue with just the slightest decline in physicality his contract becomes one of the worst in basketball. To many Draymond is simply irreplaceable. And in the last 2 weeks of the warriors season , he has proven many wrong, including myself that he is still a playoff weapon that must be reckoned with. The fact that the decision is a difficult one should be seen as a plus for the Warriors. If it wasn’t, he would simply be a 24-million-dollar placeholder for picks. But in those last two weeks, he has again regained value.  It is a philosophical dispute which is currently happening behind closed doors in the Bay.

{Continue Reading Part II and the Trade Options for Draymond to Toronto, Indiana, or Miami}

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