After their chaotic season came to a screeching halt in the second round of the NBA playoffs with a loss to the Lakers, the Golden State Warriors look to the NBA draft and free agency to find ways to improve their roster.
The Warriors had the 19th pick in the draft, selecting a 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Santa Clara University in sophomore Brandin Podziemski.
“(We) picked up a player that we think fits the way we play. We like his skillset, his ability to shoot, his ability to pass, playmake, (he’s a )tremendous rebounder, and more than anything, a competitor,” said Golden State’s newly appointed general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. in a post-draft press conference.
Podziemski is a high volume shooter who shot just under 44% from three-point range on 5.8 attempts per game his sophomore year at Santa Clara. He also provides rebounding from the guard position, making him a good fit for a team that plays at a league-best pace and shoots a lot of jumpers.
The Warriors went on to draft Trayce Jackson-Davis with the 57th pick, a 6-foot-9 power forward out of Indiana University. Jackson-Davis adds another dimension to a team that has a shorthanded front court.
In terms of what the Warriors expect his role to be, Dunleavy said that Jackson-Davis is expected to showcase his versatility by defending, rebounding and finishing. Jackson-Davis fills a role that the Warriors haven’t had in recent history: a lob threat with size that can defend.
Less than 24 hours before the draft, Golden State traded away the third leading scorer this season in Jordan Poole. The Warriors traded Poole, a protected 2030 first round pick as well as a 2027 second round pick for Wizards guard Chris Paul.
Poole tallied 20.4 points per game and started in place of Stephen Curry, who missed 26 games this season. After being one of the Warriors’ more reliable players this season, playing in all 82 games, his production dipped drastically in the postseason as he averaged 10.3 points per game on 25% from three.
Paul, on the other hand, is coming off the season averaging 13.9 points and 8.9 assists, with just under two turnovers per game. However, the injury-prone 38-year-old played in just 59 games this past season.
The Warriors essentially traded a young, dynamic scorer for a savvy NBA veteran who can lead their second unit and prevent mistakes. As the Warriors enter free agency, one thing is clear: they are looking for size and versatility.
In free agency, the signing that will be most important is Draymond Green. Green sets the tone for the Warriors defensively. The defender declined a $27.6 million dollar player option and is headed to free agency, and there is no doubt that re-signing Green will be Golden State’s biggest priority.
The Warriors are also looking at the free agent market to add enough depth to build a contending roster under new management.
“We’re looking to add veteran players that can fit into our rotation,” Dunleavy said in the post-draft press conference. “I think it’s obvious that we need to add some size and skill, specifically shooting I think would go a long way and compliment our front court.”
A big that Golden State could be looking to sign is Mason Plumlee, a player who provides versatility defensively with tough and relentless rebounding.
Another free agent that is a great fit for the Warriors is Yuta Watanabe, a big wing who can space the floor and provide defensive flexibility. Watanabe is coming off a season where he shot just over 44% from three and could be a great way for the Warriors to add depth for their upcoming season.
The Golden State Warriors made their intentions clear through the Poole trade: They are putting all their chips on the table for next season. The formula to the championships of the past was a deep bench of NBA veterans. Now, it’s on Paul to provide a stable bench as Golden State looks to add proven players in free agency and continue building a competent roster following the draft.