2x All-Star's elite playoff opening provides major 'what if' moment for Warriors

NBA : Indiana Pacers vs Golden Gate Warriors in San Francisco
NBA : Indiana Pacers vs Golden Gate Warriors in San Francisco / Anadolu/GettyImages

After a poor start to the season, speculation was rife on whether the Golden State Warriors would swing a blockbuster trade to help resuscitate their stumbling play. That ultimately didn't eventuate, with the franchise choosing to hold faith in the roster they had entered with.

That appeared like the right decision for much of the second-half of the season, having gone 27-12 over the final 39 games. Yet as their offense struggled in a disastrous Play-In Tournament performance against the Sacramento Kings, the need for a second star was glaringly evident.

Would the Golden State Warriors regret not making a stronger play for Pascal Siakam before his trade to the Indiana Pacers in January?

Pascal Siakam was perhaps the best player available for trade mid-season, but the Warriors chose to bypass the two-time All-Star as he was eventually traded to the Indiana Pacers for Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, Kira Lewis Jr. and three first-round picks.

The Pacers' move has paid significant dividends over the first two games of their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, with Siakam going for 36 and 37 points as the teams' split the pair at Fiserv Forum.

Not only has it been about the volume of scoring from the 30-year-old, but it's come on remarkable efficiency with Siakam having shot a combined 31-of-48 shooting over the first two games. He's also added 24 rebounds and eight assists in a pair of elite performances that have certainly drawn the attention of Golden State fans.

Siakam had been linked to the Warriors early in the season, with the franchise having sunk to an 18-22 record by the time the versatile forward was traded on January 19. However, it may have been Siakam himself who blocked a trade to the Bay rather than Golden State failing to pursue him hard enough.

According to The Athletic's Sam Amick in the days following the trade, the Warriors interest in Siakam wasn't reciprocated as he wasn't "excited about anything past this season with them." Any trade for Siakam would have required Golden State to pay him a max contract this offseason, which would have only added to their exorbitant payroll.

Still, it's hard to see what Siakam has done in the playoffs to date and not imagine what difference he would have made to the Warriors, particularly in the elimination defeat to the Kings. His shot-creation and shot-making has been a highlight over the past two games, with Golden State having desperately missed those elements during last week's loss.