Coming off of five straight finals appearances The Golden State Warriors found themselves in uncharted territory entering the 2019-20 season. All Star shooting guard Klay Thompson would miss the entire season while recovering from a torn ACL. Gone were the steadying veteran presences of Andre Igoudala and Shaun Livingston. Yet there was still an optimism that a team led by Stephen Curry would still compete for a playoff spot. Those playoff hopes faded quickly when Curry broke his hand in the fourth game of the season. Curry missed over 4 months recovering from the injury and during his absence the Warriors fell to a league worst 14-49. However the turbulent season wasn’t a total loss as there were plenty of positives to takeaway.
The Warriors find another gem in the second round
Nobody could have foreseen the impact Draymond Green would have when the Warriors drafted him in the second round of the 2012 draft. In a league dominated by player movement and free agency, finding impact players outside of the lottery is crucial to longterm success. With the 41st pick in the 2019 draft the Warriors did just that by selecting PF Eric Paschall out of Villanova. Paschall entered the league with an abundance of experience playing in big games at the collegiate level. This maturity was on full display while Paschall had one of the more impressive rookie campaigns in the league. The second round pick was the only player to rank in the top five in points per game, rebounds per game and field goal percentage among rookies. Paschalls impressive debut season has him on track to be a key member of the Warriors rotation moving forward.
The reclamation project
When the Warriors inked Marquese Chriss to a non guaranteed deal it wasn’t clear what the role was for the athletic big man. The Warriors made a low risk/high reward move when they brought Chriss in with the hopes of revitalizing his career. As the season progressed Chriss’s role in the rotation grew larger. The Warriors were rewarded with a return on their investment as he flashed immense potential. By displaying his tremendous athleticism he made a strong case for the the role of the rim running big man the organization covets for their system. The improved play during his increase in minutes led the Warriors to sign him to a two year deal. Chriss figures to be a big part of the Warriors plans for the future
Depth at the guard position
With the injuries to the All Star backcourt known as the “Splash Brothers” an opportunity arose for the remaining guards. After being buried on the depth chart during the previous season Damion Lee saw his playing time skyrocket. A quality shooter on the perimeter, Lee showed he has what it takes to provide quality minutes off the bench. The surprise of the year was the play of un-drafted guard Ky Bowman. Due to injuries Bowman ended up starting 12 games and played admirably in the 45 appearances he made. He showed a willingness to play with intensity on the defensive side of the ball and improved as a primary ball handler on the offensive side. Lastly the up and down season for first round pick Jordan Poole gives reason for optimism. The combo guard showed flashes of offensive brilliance and the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. Poole’s ability to manifest instant offense will be vital to a second unit in desperate need of a scorer.