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Warriors mailbag: James Wiseman or LaMelo Ball?

NBL Rd 11 - Illawarra v Melbourne
Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Plus, bench rotations, second-round picks, and potential free agents.

The excitement of another NBA season is in full swing. We have trades, rumors, free agency reports, and in a moment, a whole new batch of rookies.

It’s an exciting time for the Golden State Warriors, so it was a good time to do another mailbag. Thanks to everyone for the great questions.

Rim-runner or 3-and-D?

At the risk of being a cop out, I think it depends a lot on the context of the player. Is the rim-runner adequate on defense, or are they going to get attacked on that end of the court? Is the 3-and-D wing capable of defending two or three positions?

Either way, I lean a little bit more towards a rim-runner. I think the Warriors have shown an ability to patch together adequate wing help, and can do so if necessary with guys like Damion Lee and even Mychal Mulder or Juan Toscano-Anderson.

An elite rim-runner isn’t something they’ve ever really had (with apologies to JaVale McGee), and would take a lot of pressure off Steph Curry and Draymond Green.

Second-round picks

We know that Bob Myers loves the second round, and he loves to get creative. So at this point, I don’t think they know what they’ll do, and I don’t think there’s any “should” about it, because a lot depends on what happens with other teams, and what becomes available.

Here’s what we know: the Warriors don’t have a lot of room on their roster for low-level rookies. They’re already entering the year with a minimum of three second-year players (Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, and Alen Smailagić), and potentially a few more (Ky Bowman, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Mychal Mulder). And, barring a trade, they’ll have their first-round pick as well. So they’re not looking to put two second-round picks on their guaranteed roster like they did a year ago.

So here’s what I would expect: they trade one pick for a future second-rounder or two, and use the second pick on a player who will be willing to sign a two-way contract.

Rodney Hood?

Sadly, the answer to this one appears to be no. Hood just opted out of his $6 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, which likely means he’s looking for a contract that exceeds that. The Warriors can’t really do that.

Wiseman or Ball?

For the purpose of this exercise, let’s assume the Minnesota Timberwolves select Anthony Edwards. I don’t think they will, but let’s assume they do. All the smoke points to the Warriors then taking Wiseman, and I think they either take him, or move down.

I think Ball is a much better prospect than Wiseman, but Wiseman fits a hole on the roster and projects to be more playable from day one. The Warriors aren’t really in a position to draft a project. The only way they take Ball is if they really see him as a future superstar who can become part of the core in a few years when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson start to fade, or if they think he can contribute this season on an already stacked backcourt.

Bench units

One thing is clear for the Dubs: Through the draft, free agency, or trades, they emphatically need to improve their bench. Right now I would assume that the starting lineup is Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney. That would put Eric Paschall, Marquese Chriss, Damion Lee, and the first-round pick as the core bench pieces.

Jordan Poole and Alen Smailagić will likely have to prove that they deserve important minutes.

Free agents

It’s so hard to predict free agent signings, since the market is very funny this year and the Warriors have limited financial flexibility. But I’ll do a center, wing, and guard.

I would love Marc Gasol at the 5, though I think he’s likely outside the Warriors price range, in which case Aron Baynes would be a great fit.

I think Jae Crowder would be a strong fit on the Warriors. He’s a 3-and-D fit with playoff experience and a lot of toughness.

At the guard, I would love to see Kris Dunn bring his defensive chops to the Warriors. Yes, he’s borderline useless on offense but the Warriors could really use a lock-down guard defender.

Avery Bradley?

Pretty much anyone. I’m uncomfortable with signing Avery Bradley due to his past sexual assault allegation. I also just don’t think he’s all that good. He’d be a decent on-court addition, but nothing fancy, and he seems to think he’s better than he is.

Adams or Gobert?

Neither player is a free agent, and if they were, neither is in the Warriors range of affordability. But, for the purposes of the hypothetical, Rudy Gobert, because he’s better than Steven Adams at every aspect of basketball.

Thanks to everyone for the questions!

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