After trading for Andrew Wiggins in February, the Golden State Warriors found their Kevin Durant replacement at small forward.
However, aside from Wiggins, the position has a lot of question marks. Aside from Wiggins the only other small forward on the Golden State Warriors roster is Juan Toscano-Anderson, who has limited experience in the NBA thus far.
Nonetheless, the Warriors could rectify that issue by featuring Klay Thompson and Damion Lee at the position in the second unit. However, Lee projects as the shooting guard in that second unit on the depth chart, while Thompson will be returning from injury and won’t be asked to play extended minutes.
Nevertheless, with the Dubs firmly in championship mode leaving an inexperienced backup and a couple of shooting guards behind Wiggins is perhaps an unnecessary gamble and one the Warriors should avoid.
But finding that depth won’t be an impossible task.
Whenever the draft happens and whenever free agency the Warriors priority must be to find a suitable backup to keep Wiggins fresh. Fortunately for the Warriors, they have a number of avenues they can choose to go down.
The Warriors have a great scouting department led by general manager Bob Myers and are armed with several financial weapons to add to their top two draft pick. Golden State has a $17.2 million trade exception to use at the start of free agency following Andre Iguodala’s cap dump and will have the mid-level exception available.
In the pool of names likely to be available in trade exception, the Dubs could quite easily address the position by adding a player like Rudy Gay, Evan Fournier, Kelly Oubre, Will Barton, Robert Covington, Josh Richardson, or even JJ Redick.
Should the Warriors manage to pry either Covington or Oubre away this offseason, they would get a starting-caliber wing to add much-needed experience to their young rotation, although chances are slim either Houston or Phoenix trade them.
Nevertheless, the Dubs could find a way to add that experience in Rudy Gay, who will likely be available as the Spurs look to open up cap space and start their rebuild. Golden State would likely simply be able to trade the exception to make the deal happen.
Or alternatively, Golden State could target a wing in the draft. Deni Avdija, Isaac Okoro, Saddiq Bey or Devin Vassell could all be strong options, as the Warriors look for depth and long-term stability at the position.
Avdija in particular could play big minutes on the second unit and as a rotation piece in the playoffs while Wiggins and Thompson rest.
With a weak free agency awaiting teams, the Warriors will have a significant advantage when it comes to adding talent this offseason and they need to capitalize it on it. The first priority should be to find Wiggins’ backup.