3 Golden State Warriors who are expendable, and 3 they can't afford to trade

Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
7 of 7

No. 1: Andrew Wiggins is too important to trade

Andrew Wiggins seems to be an obvious trade candidate when you factor in how poor of a start to the season he is having. He has been ice cold as a scorer, is turning the ball over and hasn't been his usual lockdown self on defense. Yet the link between his play and the Warriors' suggests that they do desperately need Wiggins; not bad Wiggins, but a Wiggins who bounces back to his prior level of play.

Stephen Curry is one of the greatest plus/minus players in NBA history. When he is on the court, his teams excel; when he sits the Warriors have tended to crumble. That's not the case this year, however, as Curry is a negative on the season. The culprit? Andrew Wiggins.

When Curry and Wiggins share the court, the Warriors are 8.2 points per 100 possessions worse than their opponents, with a shaky offense and a truly abysmal defense. Their starting lineup, one of the best 5-man lineups in basketball last season, is a -8.7 this year. Yet, if you put Curry on the court without Wiggins, the Warriors outscore opponents by 20.4 points per 100 possessions, one of the best marks in the entire league.

The Warriors could look at Wiggins' play and his shockingly negative impact on the Warriors' best lineups and conclude they need to move on, but they don't have an obvious answer to replace him. Jonathan Kuminga can bring most of the defensive impact but isn't anywhere near the shooter the Warriors need. Moses Moody is smaller and hasn't earned Steve Kerr's trust. Gary Payton II is both undersized and cannot create his own offense. The Warriors need a 3-and-D forward who can defend multiple positions (including point guard) and both shoot and create shots on the other end.

There are only a handful of such players in the league, and Wiggins is (normally) one of them. The Warriors likely can't afford to trade him, but instead need to find a way for Wiggins to recapture his level of play from the past two seasons. The last few games have seen Wiggins more comfortable as a scorer (it helps that the shot is going down) so perhaps that process is already underway.

Wiggins isn't the Warriors' best player, and this season he's been their worst, but the Warriors can't trade him; his skillset is invaluable. Instead, they should look to the expendable players on their roster as they consider the path to an upgrade.