Golden State Warriors Looking To Re-Tool, Not Re-Build

Jun 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) reacts after a play against Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith (5) during the second quarter in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) reacts after a play against Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith (5) during the second quarter in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Golden State Warriors enter the hot NBA summer fresh off an emotional and gut-wrenching loss in the  seventh-game of the NBA Finals, but the moves they make (or don’t make) this off-season, will go along way in determining the franchise’s future success.

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One minute of winning basketball separated the Golden State Warriors celebrating “Back-to-Back” NBA Championships from them trying to get over one of the most gut-wrenching losses in NBA Finals history. Sixty-seconds of crunch time execution and Golden State is capping off one of the greatest seasons in American Sports history. Instead, they’re left with an offseason filled with thoughts about what could have been.

In the world of sports, a mere 60 seconds can not only determine the outcome of a championship, but in that short-lived period of time, the general direction of a franchise could be up-for-grabs. A lot of knee-jerk, franchise changing moves have been made simply out of a reaction — or overreaction — to a heartbreaking loss or a few minutes of futility in crunch-time.

It’s hard to think of anything more heartbreaking then being up 3-1 in NBA finals, only to lose three in a row and have two of those losses occur on your home court.

But that is the position Warriors General Manager,Bob Myers, finds himself in as he faces a plethora of offseason questions and roster decisions.

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The Warriors had the single greatest regular season in NBA history. They won a record-breaking 73 games and witnessed Stephen Curry become the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. But even with Curry and an amazing supporting cast, it was obvious the Warriors weren’t flawless.

Their penchant to go for the “Showtime Play” instead of the simple basketball play, led to Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, leading the league in broken clipboards.

Golden State had always displayed enough fire-power to overcome the minimal flaws that may have reared their heads on occasion. On those nights when the offense wasn’t clicking on all cylinders, they showed the ability to rely on their defense to lock up opponents down the stretch. That ability allowed them to win a handful of games they honestly, deserved to lose.

Unfortunately for the Warriors though, all of those flaws that may have seemed like little glitches during the regular season, turned into glaring weaknesses in the Finals.

Faced with a highly motivated and practically unstoppable LeBron James, and a jaw-dropping, shot-making Kyrie Irving as opponents, the Warriors needed to play near flawless basketball if they hoped to repeat. The problem was fatigue and injuries began to rear their heads, thanks to a difficult and long playoff run.

So, from the outset, playing flawless basketball became nearly impossible.

The Cavaliers were able to capitalize on all those flaws the Warriors had previously been able to keep under wraps. The “death squad” lineup, featuring Draymond Green at the center position had been their savior lineup all year. Whenever Kerr felt his team was in trouble or needed a bolt of energy, the “death squad” was called upon.

But against the athleticism and size of James and Tristan Thompson, the effectiveness of the lineup became muted. And with Andrew Bogut being unavailable the last few games of the series, the Warriors lack of quality front-court depth was exposed.

The need for the Warriors to get bigger and more athletic was definitely one of the goals Myers looked to achieve on draft night. With Festus Ezeli being a restricted free-agent and the uncertainty of bringing back other bigs like Marreese Speights or Anderson Varejao, the Warriors’ need for big bodies became one of his priorities.

Myers used the Warriors’ two draft night selections on young, athletic players. With their first pick — the 30th overall — Golden State selected Vanderbilt big-man Damian Jones, who at 7’0, 245-pounds, gives the Warriors much needed size in their front court. Jones’ 7’3 wingspan and explosiveness off the floor gives Steve Kerr another potential rim protector to put into the rotation.

The Warriors’ ownership group has always maintained they will spend whatever is necessary to keep them on top and draft night was no different.

Golden State paid $2.4 million to the Milwaukee Bucks for the 38th pick in the draft and then selected UNLV 6’7 swing-man Patrick McCaw, who gives them another athletic wing who has the ability to thrive in their “switch-everything” defensive schemes.

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Golden State may have fallen short of the ultimate prize this season, but panicking and making irrational decisions isn’t what is needed to keep their championship window open. A couple of additions and/or subtractions to the current roster may suffice.

And, if one of those additions happens to be a Kevin Durant or the not quite as sexy but still effective, Nicolas Batum, the Warriors may find themselves on the brink of another NBA championship.