Which players on the Warriors roster will be a part of their regular rotation, and what will their roles be?
PG Stephen Curry
SG Klay Thompson
SF Andrew Wiggins
PF Draymond Green
C Kevon Looney
DEEP BENCH – VETERANS
DEEP BENCH – DEVELOPING YOUTH
LIKELY TO BE WAIVED
The starting lineup is pretty well set, but with all of the young talent on the roster this may be the year where you start to see some transition of roles. James Wiseman, the 2nd overall pick in 2020, missed all of last season. Now healthy, if he starts to live up to his draft status with his play on the court, it’s not unreasonable to imagine him taking Looney’s spot at some point. Likewise, Thompson came back from two major injuries (a feat in itself) and was clearly a bit more limited than he was at his peak before he got hurt. While it’s unlikely to happen this year, at some point it’s probable that either Poole, Moody, or Kuminga take Thompson’s spot as he transitions to a lesser role. This year you may see his minutes reduced as the team expands the roles for their next generation of potential stars.
The team lost two key players from their championship run: Gary Payton II and Otto Porter. The team signed Donte DiVincenzo as a free agent to offset some of that loss. The rest will have to be made up by the younger players on the roster. If Andre Iguodala finds himself playing significant minutes, that will be a bad sign given the plethora of options the Warriors have coming off the bench. In addition to the young prospects Moody, Kuminga, and Baldwin, the team has veterans JaMychal Green and Jerome Robinson. There is a lack of size overall, but the team doesn’t seem to be too concerned; they just won the championship and did it without the services of Wiseman.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Draymond Green is the key to the Warriors to success. His ability to defend bigger players, his leadership and competitiveness, and his selfless playmaking are a unique combination that frees up his teammates to do what they do best. But Green will be 32 years old this year and both his shooting and his scoring ability have sharply declined over the past 3-4 years. Green is not really replaceable; if he were to continue to decline whatever the Warriors piece together in transitioning him to a reduced way would ultimately lead to a different style of play. The Warriors could still be successful, but would have to adapt.
Poole had a breakout season last year and is still only 23 years old. Defenses must be terrified at the thought of him going up yet another level, as they already have enough trouble containing the sharpshooting Curry. The only real issue with Poole eventually taking over for Thompson isn’t that he will never be the type of defender that Klay was. Opposing teams could attempt to hunt the small backcourt with more physical players. But will they be able to overcome all the points they give away at the other end? That’s a tall order.