The Golden State Warriors have a crowded starting lineup that will only get more congested with the addition of one of the top picks in the draft.
With one of the top picks in the draft, the Warriors expect to draft a cornerstone player. However, this is a difficult challenge when the center position is the only starting spot that does not have an obvious player penciled in.
On that same note, the Warriors do not appear willing to use their top pick on the best center prospects.
Golden State is in a bit of an odd situation with the draft coming up in that they do not have an obvious need.
Barring a major trade, it is going to be a challenge to draft a prospect and slot them into the same starting lineup alongside Curry and Thompson. Ideally, the future pick would be able to pick up the NBA landscape by being paired with one of the best backcourts in basketball.
So the question is, how can the Warriors draft and develop their future pick without any starting positions available aside from center?
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The answer could be a strategy head coach Steve Kerr employed when he originally took over the post. When Kerr’s tenure began, he made a mildly controversial decision in moving Andre Iguodala to the bench.
Prior to joining the Warriors, Iguodala had been an Eastern Conference All-Star with the Philadelphia 76ers.
A move to the bench seemed like a demotion while the 6-foot-6 forward was still in the prime of his career. However, this proved to be a shrewd move by Kerr as Iguodala went on to earn the NBA Finals MVP after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals.
Iguodala came off of the bench for much of the remainder of his Warriors tenure and came to be known as their secret weapon.
Kerr could make a similar move with Draymond Green. Interestingly, both Green and Iguodala share similar skill sets in terms of being strong defenders while possessing a high basketball IQ.
The benefits of moving the power forward to the bench are twofold:
- Creates a spot in the starting lineup for the future top pick to play alongside Curry and Thompson
- Moves the current pieces around to create much-needed depth and leadership off the bench
A move to the bench would open up a starting spot for the Warriors. They have been rumored to be interested in Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, Auburn forward Isaac Okoro, and Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Deni Avdija.
Depending on who they select, Golden State would more easily be able to slot this pick into the starting lineup next to Curry and Thompson next season. Of course, he would get a chance to develop without dealing with the pressure of trying to carry a team.
In addition to this, moving Green to the bench would give the second unit much-needed depth. The Warriors have one of the most talented core group of players in basketball, but after the Iguodala trade and the retirement of Shaun Livingston, they are in need of depth.
Moving Green to a reserve role would give the team a swiss-army knife on the second unit:
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Similarly, if Draymond Green is paired with Kevon Looney on the second unit, then the Warriors would quickly form one of the more formidable defensive units.
Of course, in the case with Green, he needs to be surrounded by savvy shooters. Aside from Wiggins, Curry, and Thompson, the Warriors do not have any other obvious scoring threats.
However, Eric Paschall, Damion Lee, and Jordan Poole showed the ability to score in bunches throughout the season. In addition to this, the Warriors will look to add more scoring threats to the bench and may be interested in bringing back either Alec Burks or Glenn Robinson III.
Surrounding Draymond Green, and to a lesser extent Looney, with a couple of quality shooters off the bench will provide the team with a more balanced skillset from the reserves.
Of course, the hard part might be getting Green to accept a different role. Despite the seeming demotion, this move would keep the 30-year-old fresh for the playoffs and may even prolong his career.
The Warriors are in a bit of a unique spot as the draft approaches. They may want to get creative with their current roster to draft the best player available and Draymond Green might be the key that helps achieve this.
A move like this worked once before. It may just work yet again.