The Golden State Warriors have made a disappointing start to the NBA season, inhibited by a young bench failing to capitalise on the dominance of their experienced veterans.
An inexcusable loss to the Orlando Magic, and a tough tough loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, has the Warriors on a five-game losing streak and 12th in the Western Conference. The Warriors bench are a combined -7.5 in plus-minus through ten games, and it appears their audacious two-age timeline may finally begin to unveil some cracks.
The Golden State Warriors may be forced into a win-now trade if belief grows on the inability of their younger players to contribute to a title-aspiring team this season.
At the head of their bench struggles — James Wiseman. While the scrutiny has often been unfair on the former number two overall pick, given his interrupted career to date, the Warriors don’t have time to sacrifice winning in the name of Wiseman’s development.
That’s what they’ve done so far this season, with Wiseman holding the lowest plus-minus of any rotational player aside from fourth-year guard Jordan Poole. The franchise will continue giving Wiseman the opportunity to develop and turn things around, but if they continue at a .500 win pace or worse, things may ultimately hit a tipping point.
If that does eventuate, here’s an obvious move the Warriors can make to significantly bolster their center rotation ahead of another expected playoff run.
Wiseman and Spurs center Jakob Poeltl make an almost identical amount of money this season, making a straight player-for-player trade viable, even if these kind of deals are scarcely seen in modern NBA exchanges.
Despite what the current standings might suggest, these are two teams heading in vastly different directions — Golden State, still led by their veteran core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, want to add to their four titles in the last eight seasons.
San Antonio, who achieved similar success earlier in the century, have now hit rebuild mode and have their eyes set at a high lottery pick — potentially consensus number one selection Victor Wembanyama.
This is a deal that could set in stone the aspirations of both franchises, allowing them to further their chances the ultimate goal.