The Golden State Warriors’ defense of their 2022 championship win hasn’t exactly gone as expected so far. While they appear to be turning the corner, the Warriors are just 10-10 through 20 games of action, which is good for the 10th seed in the Western Conference. Golden State is figuring things out, but they still have a long way to go before they are back to their championship caliber play.
The Warriors main issues early on have been their defense, and finding someone to step up alongside Stephen Curry on offense. Klay Thompson finally appears to be finding his stroke after an atrocious start to the season, and while the defense is a work in progress, the need to improve on that side of the court becomes lessened if the offense can continue to bail the team out.
Golden State’s roster as currently constructed likely isn’t going to win them a title, but that could change if they were to make some moves on the trade market. Let’s take a look at one player the Warriors need to trade as soon as possible to help address some of the concerns that currently plague their roster, and why this player needs to be moved as soon as possible.
Warriors player who must be traded: James Wiseman
There have been quite a few players who have been disappointing to open the season for the Warriors so far, but James Wiseman may be at the top of that list. Wiseman has struggled mightily in his return to the court for Golden State this season, and things have gotten so bad that he’s currently playing with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s G-League affiliate.
Wiseman missed the entire 2021-22 season, and the hope was that he could return this year and solidify the Warriors center rotation with Kevon Looney. Instead, Wiseman got himself demoted, and the team has been riding with JaMychal Green coming off the bench behind Looney instead.
At this point, there isn’t much hope that Wiseman will suddenly figure things out with the Warriors, and a change of scenery may be the best outcome for him at this point. Wiseman looked uninterested on both ends of the court during his time in the NBA with the Warriors this season, hinting that there may be some bigger issues at play here than what we have been led to believe.
Moving Wiseman may hurt, but the Warriors are built to contend right now, and if he isn’t going to help the current team win, there’s no sense in holding onto him just for the fun of it. Wiseman has tons of potential considering he was the second overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, but that likely isn’t going to be reached if he is stuck in the G League.
Wiseman’s trade value may not be particularly high, but there are rebuilding teams in the league that would certainly be interested in trading for him in an effort to help him reach his potential. The Warriors don’t really have the luxury of time to allow Wiseman that leeway to figure things out in the NBA this season.
Considering how he is still just 21 years old, there would be plenty of teams willing to take a flier on Wiseman in exchange for a veteran player who could immediately fill into the Warriors rotation. A team like the San Antonio Spurs could be interested in taking on Wiseman, whereas a player like Josh Richardson could be a huge help for Golden State off the bench with his three-point shooting and strong defense.
The Warriors could opt to hold onto Wiseman in hopes he can figure things out and contribute this season, and it’s definitely not something that is out of the picture. Wiseman can be a difference-maker when he’s playing up to his potential, but so far, he hasn’t looked like a fantastic fit in Golden State’s schemes. He hasn’t played a ton, yes, but the results through two-and-a-quarter seasons are virtually nonexistent.
Trading Wiseman is a risk because there’s a chance he could still become the player the Warriors thought they were getting when they drafted him with the second overall pick. But considering how their current core group isn’t getting any younger, the Warriors need to maximize their championship window while they can.
Wiseman is an interesting trade asset, and moving him would help Golden State’s team for this season get better. This team has title aspirations, which means nothing is off the table when it comes to improving their team. And in this case, it involves trading away a potent young player in Wiseman who just hasn’t worked out for them so far in his young career.