The Golden State Warriors find themselves in an incredibly unique position heading into the 2020-21 NBA season. Because Stephen Curry missed most of last year and Klay Thompson skipped all of it, it is unclear what this group will look like sans Kevin Durant.
Obviously the Warriors have technically already won a championship without Durant, but that was a very different team. Given how the roster is now constructed, most sportsbooks have the Warriors behind the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks when it comes to title odds.
This week, former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Paul Pierce noted that if Golden State truly wants to compete next year, the front office should give serious consideration to acquiring Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic.
“I think it’s all gonna be predicated on what they do with this [No. 2 overall] draft pick,” he said of the Warriors. “If they can turn this draft pick and [Andrew] Wiggins into acquiring another All-Star or All-Star caliber player, then yes they can get back into contention.
“And a name that comes to mind: [Nikola] Vucevic. I think he could go in there and fit right in among their guards. He gives them a down-low presence and can knock down shots. If they can do that, then yes. But if not, they’ll be right there in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference.”
Pierce’s suggestion makes sense for one very obvious reason: the Warriors presently lack the size necessary to compete with the Lakers. Vucevic would change that. Last year, he averaged 19.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 3.6 assists en route to an All-Star nod.
The beef is real. https://t.co/R7VdyWaJT8
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 28, 2020
If Golden State can land a big man of Vucevic’s caliber for just Wiggins and the No. 2 selection in a historically underwhelming draft, then that’s a move you make 100 out of 100 times.
The Warriors have previously been linked to the Magic and a possible Aaron Gordon trade, but this one would be far more impactful for the organization.
It is something of an open secret at this point that Golden State needs to add some size. A few weeks back, Curry acknowledged this much when asked what areas the squad needs to address in the upcoming draft.
Fans weren’t shy about how they looked. https://t.co/VEgkGVevr3
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 27, 2020
“We just need talent,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s what you’re always trying to get. I think we could use some size, but for the most part it’s just trying to fill out the roster and get us as much depth as possible.”
If size is what Curry wants from the draft, then someone like James Wiseman, Onyeka Okongwu or Obi Toppin would make sense. However, those are all unproven players. Vucevic is a battle-tested NBA-level stud.
Obviously it remains to be seen whether Orlando will deem the No. 2 pick and Wiggins enough for an All-Star center. There is a very good chance that they won’t. But if for some reason they’re feeling generous, the Warriors should do that deal immediately.