Will the Golden State Warriors lack of size finally come back to bite?

Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

When the Golden State Warriors decided to trade James Wiseman before last week’s deadline, the franchise also chose to forgo any sort of meaningful size on their roster. The franchise is no stranger to playing undersized during the Steve Kerr era, but has and will it come back to bite them this season?

Trading James Wiseman for Gary Payton II means the Golden State Warriors no longer have a player above 6’9″ on their roster.

Three players now share the stature of Golden State’s tallest player — starting center Kevon Looney, veteran JaMychal Green, and rookie Patrick Baldwin Jr. It’s not necessarily a recipe for success, though the Warriors already broke that mould when they won the championship last season.

It appears unlikely that they’ll rectify their lack of size by looking at outside options. According to general manager Bob Myers, they won’t be adding a big man just for the sake of it.

"“For us to say, ‘here’s a big guy’, and the coaching staff to say, ‘well we’re not playing that guy, doesn’t matter if he’s seven feet tall or eight feet tall’…Any buyout conversation has to be done in collaboration with the coaching staff.”"

The Warriors have often been able to play small thanks to their ability to play opposition bigs off the floor, but also primarily because of Looney and especially Draymond Green’s ability to play well above their size.

While Green and Looney are known for their defensive exploits first and foremost, it hasn’t translated to a dominant interior presence for Golden State this season. They currently give up the sixth highest field-goal percentage in the restricted area, and the highest percentage in the remainder of the paint.

They got away with it last season having conceded the 17th and 14th highest percentages, but a weakened perimeter defense has exposed the absence of a genuine rim protector. The Warriors will be hoping that the return of Payton (at some point), and a re-invigorated Andrew Wiggins, will ultimately cause greater overall disruption on the defensive end.

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One thing is for sure — if Golden State cannot reduce the opposition’s scoring efficiency from within the paint, then their chances of back-to-back championships will fall by the wayside rather quickly post the All-Star break.