7 players Golden State Warriors might replace Klay Thompson with by the trade deadline

Golden State Warriors, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Golden State Warriors, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Golden State Warriors
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images /

1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson, or “Zanos” as his nickname on Basketball Reference lists, is the prime example of a player who is snake-bitten. He is one of the most talented players in the entire league, with the strength and weight of a big man but the handle and shake of a guard. He also is continuously injured and unavailable for a New Orleans Pelicans team that has invested a lot in building around him.

The Pelicans could decide that it was time to build around Brandon Ingram and Trey Murphy III instead, moving Williamson and washing their hands of his chronic unavailability. Could the Warriors truly make a swing for a player like Zion?

The offensive upside is immense; how can a team choose between packing the paint against Zion, who can score at will inside, and defending Curry on the perimeter when he can shoot from 30 feet? Perhaps Draymond is the right mentor to get Williamson to buy in on defense and use his elite athleticism as a shot-blocking weapon.

It would also mean trading for that injury risk. The Warriors had a crossroads like that before early in Curry’s career, and he made a turn for the best. Would they really risk the end of Curry’s career on a bet like that? If it works, though, it’s not hard to see the trio of Curry, Draymond and Zion winning a title. Williamson is that talented.

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It is going to be a hard decision to trade Klay Thompson for anyone, and most likely the Warriors stay committed to the trio who brought them all of that hardware and let this group ride into the sunset together. If they’re truly bold, however, they could move him and strike off down a different path.