This Golden State Warriors season has some bright spots in the resurgence of Marquese Chriss and possibly Andrew Wiggins as well. Are we entering an era of reviving the careers of past prospects?
Observers have pegged this season as a blessing in disguise, even as the Golden State Warriors hold the worst record in the league and are primed for a high lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft.
For starters, the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green get an unofficial “season off” of rehabilitation either due to injury or rest. In addition, it’s given Steve Kerr and this front office a sufficient sample size of evaluating the young talent on the roster.
But looking deeper, this season may have given Golden State its method of identifying and truly developing young talent, a goal that has either been dismissed or proven unsuccessful during their dynastic run.
Marquese Chriss and more recently Andrew Wiggins, two premier lottery pick in their drafts, look like they’re headed for a much-needed resurgence after becoming acclimated to the Warriors system. And in turn, we may be entering a new era of Golden State basketball as well.
Call it what you will: identifying a market inefficiency or finding a gem where others didn’t bother to look, but the resurgence of Chriss and Wiggins has been a nice positive amongst what many consider a lost season.
Marquese Chriss is having his most efficient season by far, and Andrew Wiggins looks primed to take advantage of the spacing, slashing, and cutting to the basket that has become lethal in the Bay. Granted, we haven’t seen the entire picture just yet with Curry, Thompson, and Green all in the fold. But the truth of the matter is that Golden State must love the rejuvenation they’re seeing from these young prospects.
After Damian Jones, Jordan Bell, and Jacob Evans III left plenty to be desired, this Warriors organization may finally be seeing the benefits of player development for the first time in a while. And the manner in which these young prospects joined the Warriors is just as important as their revived play on the court.
Marquese Chriss: drafted by the Phoenix Suns only to jump from team to team, signed as a free agent to Golden State, eventually waived, only to be brought back to the Bay after clearing waivers, signing a two-way contract. Andrew Wiggins: acquired via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves after many observers saw no way for him to reach his potential.
Two former first-round lottery picks, both written off by the teams that drafted them, now finding a second chance in Golden State. With a vast amount of salary cap space dedicated to their core, taking a chance on forgotten prospects just may be the pathway to ushering this next era of Warriors basketball.
Josh Jackson? Dragan Bender? Mario Hezonja? These are all former lottery picks that might be worth a look. All these prospects were asked to be a franchise cornerstone when perhaps they can best maximize their potential by filling a role. That is something Golden State is in desperate need of, and if this Warriors organization truly believe they have a formula in place, why not execute it?
Curry, Thompson, and Green are the essential pieces to return to contention, but as we saw in last year’s NBA Finals, the supporting cast is just as vital. The rest of the league may have written off the likes of Marquese Chriss and Andrew Wiggins, but they might be starting a new chapter.
And in turn, this could be a new era of redemption within the Warriors organization.