The Warriors are trying to bridge eras.
On one side, Golden State has ready-to-win veterans – primarily Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson (once he gets healthy).
On the other side, Golden State has raw young players – primarily James Wiseman (last year’s No. 2 pick), Jonathan Kuminga (this year’s No. 7 pick) and Moses Moody (this year’s No. 14 pick).
Green, via Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“I mean I think that’s the plan, so regardless of what I may think about it or what anyone may think about it, that’s kind of the route we’re taking and in the position I’m in, you just have to do all you can to make it a success,” Green told reporters Thursday.
“Historically we have not seen that work where you’ve kind of got a mix of old, I wouldn’t say any of us are old, but older, Andre’s old as s–t actually. But a mixture of experience and hardly any experience, historically I think in just being a fan of the NBA, I can’t recall the last time you’ve seen someone have success with that, but in saying that that is our situation. So, you do what you got to do to make that situation work.”
Green sure is comfortable swiping at Warriors management (and 37-year-old Andre Iguodala).
Golden State general manager Bob Myers will accept it, because Green delivers. It’s hard to fault Green when his priority is doing whatever he can to make this plan work, even if he doesn’t fully believe in it.
Green is missing many examples of young plyers helping veteran teams succeed in the playoffs, though.
The mostly veteran Heat just went to the 2020 NBA Finals while starting second-year Duncan Robinson, leaning heavily on rookie Tyler Herro and playing rookie Kendrick Nunn key minutes.
Second-year Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs within one win of the 2013 championship. Classmate Cory Joseph played regularly off the bench for most of San Antonio’s playoff run.
If a mere conference title isn’t enough for Green, second-year Rajon Rondo started at point guard for the very-experienced 2008 champion Celtics. Second-year Leon Powe and rookie Glen Davis also played roles off the bench.
In 2004, second-year Tayshaun Prince started for the champion Pistons, a grizzled group (and Green’s hometown team). Second-year Mehmet Okur also contributed off the bench.
Second-year Tony Parker and rookie Manu Ginobili were instrumental to San Antonio’s 2003 title. Second-year Speedy Claxton chipped in off the bench.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs to the 1999 title in his second season. Larry Bird led the Celtics to the 1981 title in his second season. Magic Johnson led the 1980 Lakers to a title as a rookie!
The Warriors don’t need that much from Wiseman, Kuminga and Moody. As long as none are contributing negatively to the playoff rotation, Golden State might be OK. If one or two of the three youngsters actually plays and helps in the postseason, that’d be welcome.
But I’m generally on Green’s page. Golden State has a chance to win a championship, and that window is closing as Curry, Green and Thompson age. Just because rookies and second-year players sometimes contribute to mostly veteran title teams doesn’t mean the Warriors have to keep such a heavy burden on Curry, Green and Thompson. Trading Wiseman, Kuminga and/or Moody for a better/older player could have increased the Warriors’ title odds.
More on the Warriors
Curry says there’s “locker room aspect” to players not… PBT Podcast: Talking Steve Kerr with Scott Howard-Cooper Wiggins says he felt “only option” was to get vaccinated to play…
Draymond Green on Warriors’ plan: ‘Historically, we have not seen that work’ originally appeared on NBCSports.com