Golden State Warriors' trade needs have drastically changed in recent weeks

Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

From early in the season, even during their 5-1 start, it was apparent that the Golden State Warriors needed to find offensive support for Stephen Curry. Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins were struggling, and the workload on the two-time MVP was unsustainable.

As the February 8 trade deadline has drawn closer and closer, that notion has largely remained the same -- the Warriors need a consistent second scorer, another go-to guy to alleviate the pressure on Curry.

The Golden State Warriors' trade needs have drastically changed in recent weeks, but it doesn't mean they will address it before the deadline

Saturday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers may have reinforced that need -- Golden State may have been too Curry conscious late in regulation and throughout overtime, although that may have been the case even with another star-level scorer on the floor.

Yet we've now had a significant period that would suggest their offense is far from the primary issue. Aided by Jonathan Kuminga's six consecutive 20-point games and 18.1 scoring average over the last 15 games, the Warriors have ranked fifth in offensive rating over that period.

15 games is a big enough sample size to suggest Golden State can retain a productive offense with their current roster. The bigger question mark comes on the defensive end where the Warriors have ranked 30th over the last 15 games.

LeBron James, Draymond Green
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

All of a sudden the trade deadline should become about whether the franchise can get a major difference-maker on the defensive end, rather than a star-level scorer. Ideally it would be both, though that's not particularly realistic.

Just look at what O.G. Anunoby has done for the New York Knicks since his trade to the franchise at the end of last month. The Knicks are 12-2 with Anunoby, having ranked first in defense during that period.

Unfortunately it appears the Warriors will be relying on internal development to fix their defensive issues, at least according to General Manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. in a recent interview with NBC Sports.

"Our defense has really struggled. A lot of times it's hard though with the trade deadline to bring in a player or players that are going to dramatically improve your defense. If that players available we'll look to pursue it, but I think it's got to come from within."

Mike Dunleavy Jr.

The return of former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green has had little impact, with the franchise undoubtedly hoping to get Gary Payton II back healthy having missed 26 of the past 30 games.