Last season, the Golden State Warriors won their fourth NBA championship with the nucleus of this squad. Entering the 2022-23 season, they had a similar core but a subpar campaign for a championship-contending team. As the sixth seed in the Western Conference, the Warriors toppled the Sacramento Kings in seven grueling games before losing to the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
As the reigning championship, many NBA pundits believed that the Warriors could turn on a switch in the NBA Playoffs and vie for a Conference Finals or Finals spot once again. With age creeping up and the inconsistent production of many of their players, Golden State had trouble staving off elimination as they were dominated in Game 6 against the Lakers, 122-101.
With the offseason looming ahead for Golden State, they must address many critical questions before the start of 2023-24. Some may believe that it may involve changes in the organization or roster, but there could also be changes on the internal side.
Draymond Green has a player option for next season, which he could opt for or sign a new contract with a smaller annual salary but longer security with the franchise. Jordan Poole's maximum extension will kick in next season, so the Warriors will have over $200 million of committed money if Green and Donte DiVincenzo exercise their player option. Even with the limited flexibility of Golden State, there are some changes they must address in the next couple of months.
Add 1-2 solid big men
The consideration of adding big men to supplement Draymond Green and Kevon Looney has been a non-stop request by Warriors fans. The front did not go all-in in acquiring a terrific big man because they saw they won a championship last season with limited depth in their frontcourt. Even in the series against Domantas Sabonis and the Kings, Green and Looney dominated him despite their undersized stature.
However, going against Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, or Joel Embiid in the postseason will require the opponent to have multiple wide bodies to battle them in the interior. Looney still had magnificent rebounding numbers in the Lakers series, but it was obvious that Davis manhandled him in the paint. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was forced to cut down Looney's minutes and experiment with other lineup combinations.
Green was in foul trouble for multiple junctures of the Lakers series, which heavily affected their interior and the perimeter. Yes, a James Wiseman-type of big will not thrive in Golden State's system, but how about someone like Mason Plumlee or Jakob Poeltl?
Have another shot creator outside of Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole
The Warriors' roster has always been constructed mainly around the superb ball handling and passing prowess of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers has surrounded the core with a myriad of players that complement the Warriors' style and brand of basketball. With defenses adjusting and altering their schemes, the weakness of Golden State in creating shots for others was exposed in the battle with the Lakers.
L.A. forced the Warriors to play more pick-and-roll basketball, which was a massive change for guys like Klay Thompson, Gary Payton II, and Andrew Wiggins. The objective of Golden State was to pry Anthony Davis away from the rim, but that would not be possible if Stephen Curry were tasked to break down the defense on every possession. Jordan Poole struggled mightily in the postseason, so he must bounce back with a vengeance next season.
Poole needs to improve as a floor general and team player if he wants to become a vital cog of the Warriors for the long term. Moreover, a low-risk second-string point guard like T.J. McConnell or Payton Pritchard would significantly boost Golden State.
Focus on internal development of Warriors youngsters
It starts with Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga. Poole was a revelation in the 2022 postseason, wherein he carved his role as the so-called “third Splash Brother,” which prompted the Warriors to give him the maximum bag he deserved. However, some of his boneheaded decisions and irrational confidence have caused Golden State some crucial losses over the season.
The talent and investment in him are there, so Kerr and the rest of the staff must manufacture ways for Poole to become effective in their system. His trade value is low, and they will not receive a substantial package in return. Jonathan Kuminga is in the same predicament, as it would not be practical to trade him because his value is currently low as well. Kuminga has the talent, but it still needs a ton of practice and repetition.