Nobody believed that the Golden State Warriors could win another championship heading into the 2021-22 season, yet they were the team that hoisted the Larry O'Brien championship trophy into the air after the final game played that year. Now, after the Warriors failed to live up to expectations this past year, much of the same criticism is beginning to reappear for this franchise.
The 2022-23 season was a major letdown for the Warriors, there is no denying this. There was drama stemming from Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole, they dealt with key talents being in and out of the lineups during the regular season and this organization as a whole just did not look motivated with the same level of passion we are used to seeing them fight with.
Perhaps Golden State needed this wake up call during this past year, as they are prepared to enter the 2023-24 season with new energy and the only one thing on their minds is competing for a championship.
New GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. has done a nice job of filling in some gaps this roster had in the offseason, as veteran guards Chris Paul and Cory Joseph have joined the mix in the backcourt, along with Dario Saric being added to the frontcourt. However, the Warriors still have two vacant roster spots, one of which they will need to fill before the start of the new season.
On Tuesday evening, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the team will be hosting free agent workouts with veterans Dion Waiters, Tony Snell, Trey Burke, Kent Bazemore, Harry Giles and Juan Toscano-Anderson over the next two weeks.
Maybe none of these experienced players will end up securing a roster spot with the Warriors this upcoming season, but Giles and Toscano-Anderson are two names that definitely stick out. Fans of the team will be familiar with JTA, as he was a great locker room presence and bench talent with the Warriors for three seasons. As for Giles, he's a former first-round pick that is looking to prove that he still has what it takes to play in the league after some major injuries.
It is unlikely that anyone the Warriors potentially sign this late in the offseason will hold that big of a role during the upcoming season, but Giles and Toscano-Anderson could be exactly what this team needs to make another championship run.
Examining Harry Giles' fit with Warriors
Once a top recruit coming out of high school in 2016, Harry Giles' basketball career has been plagued by injuries. He tore his right ACL before attending Duke and then he had another surgery done on his knee in college. Drafted 20th overall in 2017, he began his NBA career with the Sacramento Kings and continued to miss time due to knee soreness and injuries.
After just two years with Sacramento, the team declined Giles' contract option and he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers ahead of the 2020-21 season. He was never really able to showcase his abilities with the Blazers, which has led to Giles being out of the league and hunting for his next opportunity.
Obviously there is a lot of concern surrounding a player like this given his injury history and the fact that he has not played in the NBA last couple of years, but there is certainly a level of intrigue here. Giles is a 6'11” big man who can stretch his game outside of the paint and from a contract perspective, any team looking to sign him has some options.
In addition to being able to sign a standard contract, Giles is eligible to sign a two-way contract for the upcoming season given a new provision in the league's latest collective bargaining agreement. This is certainly an avenue the Warriors could explore not only since they have two open two-way contract spots to fill, but also because they need frontcourt depth.
Should Giles ultimately agree to some sort of deal with the Warriors, he will become the tallest player on their roster, a title currently held by Dario Saric at 6'10”.
The Warriors have always been known for having a terrific medical and training staff, which is why they may be the best chance Giles has of making it back into the league. By no means would he sign a contract and instantly become a huge part of the team's rotation, but he presents some upside and fits a positional need Golden State has at this point in the offseason.
Examining Juan Toscano-Anderson's fit with Warriors
One of the reasons why the Warriors have been so successful over the last decade is because they constructed a system in which the players, coaches, staff members and executives all believe in one another. The Warriors may just have the best family-like atmosphere in the entire NBA and they take a lot of pride in this.
Through the years, Golden State has seen a lot of talent develop and rise up through the Santa Cruz Warriors, their G League affiliates. One of these players was Juan Toscano-Anderson, an undrafted player who earned an opportunity in the G League after spending time in Venezuela and Mexico to begin his professional career.
When he caught the attention of the Warriors' front office, JTA earned himself a three-year deal in 2020 and he instantly became a favorite in the locker room. He was a voice of reason, a best friend to many and perhaps Toscano-Anderson's greatest quality is that he wanted to be a Warrior due to being born in and growing up in the Oakland/San Francisco area.
Toscano-Anderson instantly resonated with the fan base when he stepped on the floor and despite his numbers not showing this, he was a high-impact player. Energy and effort are two words that come to mind when watching him play and JTA did a bunch of little things to help put the Warriors in a championship position during the 2021-22 season.
The veterans of the team in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney would welcome Toscano-Anderson back with open arms, Steve Kerr would be happy to have him back and most importantly, the Warriors would have another scrappy player who they are already familiar with, similar to what they have already in Gary Payton II.
Familiarity and comfortability bring out the best in any player and for Toscano-Anderson, there would be no better place for him to continue his career than with the Warriors. Out of all the veteran free agents they are bringing in for workouts, he makes the most sense filling the 14th or 15th roster spot they have.