It sounds like nonsense, right? Getting one of the NBA’s best stars, a mistake!? Well, don’t get to overwhelmed by this statement to quick. I am a huge Golden State fan but I have thought up a couple of scenarios that would have been more beneficial. Let’s look at this from a different perspective. First, let’s look at what the Warriors lost to make room for Durant and more.
What they lost - What they gained
The Warriors lost a total of six players this past season in the free agent deal of taking in Durant, as well as NBA veteran David West. Was it worth it to lose six players for two experienced veterans? Before taking in the two players the Warriors were known for their outstanding chemistry and their strong bench. Now let’s get more in-depth with what Golden State really lost. Warriors dropped SF Harrison Barnes, C Marreese Speights, C Festus Ezeli, C Andrew Bogut, SG Leandro Barbosa, and SG Brandon Rush. Golden State lost three of their Centers, their starting Small Forward and two guards off the bench.
Harrison Barnes packed his bags and headed off to Dallas, where he would join the Mavericks. In the 2015-2016 season before Barnes was released, he averaged a total of 11.7 pts, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. For a starting forward playing 30.9 minutes per game, those stats don’t seem like much. But, it’s not what he averaged while he was there that is shocking. It is what he is averaging after his leaving. This season with the Dallas Mavericks, Barnes currently averages 20.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. If I do say so myself, Barnes sure has stepped up his game since the move to Dallas. A lot of Warriors fans were frustrated with Harrison Barnes in the 2015-2016 Playoffs because of his low point average and field goal percentage. You could say Barnes was not being himself during the Playoffs last season. But in all, Warriors lost a well-rounded, role player in the deal.
Losing three centers may or may not have hurt the Warriors. While on the court all three centers, Bogut, Ezeli, and Speights had decent chemistry with the team but they couldn’t put up consistent numbers which were their downfall. Although the Warriors lost the three Centers, they added both Centers Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee to their lineup. But, again with the downside to this addition, the team didn’t gain anything because both centers averaged around the same stats as the Centers they lost. No doubt about it, Pachulia has helped the Warriors in the paint this season but things could have gone down better in the trade deals. Perhaps better options?
While Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston remain in Oakland, two pieces to the Warriors bench, as well as their chemistry, departed. Brandon Rush and Leandro Barbosa weren’t the best for the team but coming off the bench benefitted the team when starters needed a break.
What should have happened
The Warriors have become a force in the Western Conference in the past few years with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green being a dynamic trio. But, it has been a long time since the Warriors have had a dominant Center. With Curry at PG, Thompson at SG and Green at Forward they have always had a good frontcourt squad, as well as a good designed defense. But the post has always seemed as an “empty hole” when it comes to dominating down low. In my opinion, Warriors should have focused more on getting someone to fill that “empty hole”. Perhaps there are a few more options that could have been considered.
The Unibrow Splash Brothers
First, Anthony Davis, over the past year or so, has become a little frustrated with the team’s inability to get wins. Davis currently averages 29.7 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game this season. In the past four seasons, Davis has averaged a double-double. In the 2015-2016 season, the Pelicans ended the season with a 45-37 record. Following the 2016-2017 season, the Pelicans currently have a 131-21 record. You can see where Anthony Davis may feel a little annoyed. Maybe Warriors could have given a nice deal to obtain Davis.
Who wouldn’t want to play for the ‘Best of the West’? Instead of acquiring Kevin Durant, and his 26-million-dollar salary, Golden State could have opened a room in the salary cap as well as giving less money while Anthony Davis is only earning 22 million per year. Anthony Davis could potentially be the last puzzle piece for the Warriors. ‘Splash Unibrows’, has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Get it, like Championship Ring!
The Boogie Splash Brothers
Second, the Sacramento Kings have not been to an NBA playoff since the 2004-2005 season. DeMarcus Cousins was drafted by the Kings in 2010 and has been a one-man force ever since, averaging a double-double five out of seven seasons. Last season Cousins averaged 29.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists, with the Kings holding a 29-53 record (35% win percentage). It’s clear as to why Cousins would gladly accept a trade offer, especially from the Golden State Warriors. While the Warriors would get Cousins, they would have to make a sacrifice. Although Cousins is a Forward he could easily play the 5 spot.
In return for either trade, the Warriors could give up the following: Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa, Harrison Barnes, and their 2nd round draft pick. Now, a lot of Warriors fans would be quick to disagree. “Draymond is our best defender!”. But wait, here me out. Draymond goes get great numbers on the defensive end of the court but you must think about the fact that the Warriors would be getting a great inside defender. With Davis leading the league this season with 2.71 blocks per game. Along with Davis, Cousins is also on the league's list with 1.5 blocks per game. Not only would they get a great post defender they would also be getting one of the most dominant big men that Golden State hasn’t had in over two decades.
As well as getting either Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors would easily have enough room to pick up a player or two that would give them a hand on defense and could come off the bench, putting up decent, consistent numbers.
Again, it’s a big deal that the Warriors got Durant but too much was given up, when a lot could have been gained. Golden State could use a force down low. Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins? Now they would be miraculous players for the Warriors, and with their situations where they are, they would be ignorant not to take up a deal like that.