The youth movement in Golden State seems to be coming to an end with the trade of center James Wiseman just hours before the NBA’s trade deadline. Another once-coveted young player, Moses Moody, was also on the trade block but will probably hang around until the summer. Wiseman was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft and hadn’t quite panned out for a team who suddenly jumped back into the championship picture last season.
Initially, the trade was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski as Wiseman heading to Detroit in return for Saddiq Bey. That was later updated, and Bey is headed to Atlanta while Golden State receives five second-round draft picks. For the Warriors, this signals win-now mode being activated.
Last year Golden State was able to mesh the young talent with veterans like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala. The Warriors have struggled to find their groove this season, hovering around .500 all year. Luckily the West has been a tightly contested conference thus far. Only three games separate teams seeded four through 12. So, the playoffs and play-in races will likely come down to most teams’ final night of the regular season.
Currently, the Warriors are ranked ninth (28-27), so they are one of those teams. But they were hoping to make moves to acquire wing help on both ends of the floor. It was reported the Warriors had legit interest in OG Anunoby but did not get a deal done before the deadline. He’s not an old player, as he’s only 25, but Anunoby has been in the association for six years. OG has a lot more experience than players like Wiseman and Moody.
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Golden State also brought Gary Payton II back into the fold after letting him leave for Portland via free agency in the summer. They’ve lacked energy and defensive intensity all year. Although Payton only played in 15 games for the Trail Blazers due to injury, the Warriors need all the help they can get defensively — especially on the road — and bringing back a key component to last year’s championship run should help immensely.
Whatever mojo the Warriors had last season with the balance between young and old seems to be gone. Wiseman is out, Moody probably won’t be around much longer, and Jonathan Kuminga appears to be the main one the Warriors will hold onto. Even Jordan Poole’s production has slipped from a year ago. While he’s seen a bump in points, Poole’s shooting percentages are down across the board.
Right now, the Warriors’ young core consists of Poole and Kuminga since Moody barely plays anymore and probably won’t be on the team next year unless something changes soon. Not long ago, there was much talk about Golden State’s future and preparing for Curry, Thompson, and Green’s twilight years. Just like that, the franchise snaps into championship mode, and the young guys are essentially shifted to the back burner for the time being.
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