The Warriors made the right call by keeping their core of young prospects ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season.
Not only did rising starts Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody each play important roles in Golden State's championship run, but they make up -- along with third-year center James Wiseman -- an exciting, young core that eventually will take the reigns from the iconic trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green when they eventually retire.
Until then, each of the youngsters will take on even bigger roles throughout the 2022-23 season, specifically Kuminga, Moody and Wiseman who likely will see increased minutes after Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica and Juan Toscano-Anderson left in free agency.
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Warriors owner Joe Lacob joined Andre Iguodala and co-host Evan Turner on the latest episode of the "Point Forward" podcast, where they discussed the potential each of the young stars could have with the Warriors.
"We've got Poole who had an amazing year," Iguodala said. "I looked at his stats, I didn't realize he averaged 18 points this year, that's a lot of points in the NBA as the fourth option, the fifth option ... I told him the first day I saw him, 'Listen, man, I was afraid of you coming at me 1-on-1, I don't think you know how good you are. You're that good.' For him to come to the NBA and work his way to where he is...
"Obviously, Kuminga has all the talent in the world, we know if he can just line up everything the way he should ... Kuminga's next to me, Draymond [Green], myself and [Kevon] Looney we're on him constantly. But the sleeper is Moses Moody and Moses is 19 years old but he thinks like he's 26," Iguodala added. "We forget him sometimes and it's like 'oh, he's fine,' but he's so mature that you tend to forget about him. But this kid can fill it up, I think he's going to have an amazing summer league. The NBA how it is, they'll forget about you when you're hurt and Wiseman, he's probably got the highest ceiling, but with big men, you've gotta give them a chance.
Prior to the 2021-22 season, many had anticipated the Warriors potentially trading away players such as Kuminga, Moody or Wiseman in exchange for another proven star to pair along with Curry, Thompson and Green. They held on to each of them, which proved to be a genius move, especially with the emergence of Poole and forward Andrew Wiggins.
Golden State Warriors
Now the Warriors have a championship-caliber core of veterans and an up-and-coming core of young stars.
"It is a very ballsy strategy, I will agree with you," Lacob said. "Look, I didn't get here by cowering and not going for the jugular.
"You have to take some risk, you can't just do what everyone else is doing. Everyone wanted us at the beginning of the year, I know, to trade all these young players and these draft choices and to go get one more guy, one more established, over 30-kind of star ... I know what we did was risky, but I believed and Bob Myers believed, that if we were going to win this year, how far we were going to go was going to be determined by how good Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green (were)."
Even though Wiseman missed the entire season due to complications with his rehab from a torn meniscus, Lacob and the Warriors still are high on the 21-year-old center and believe he has a bright future with the team.
"But I really wanted to make sure we kept these young players because I am a great believer in James Wiseman," Lacob added. "And I know a lot of people when they're not in front of him, they forget how good this guy is. He's incredibly talented, I'm not trading him away, let's make sure to give him a shot. It takes a lot longer with a big guy. That's number one. Our two lottery picks, Kuminga and Moody, I think they are incredibly talented. And Jordan Poole's already shown what he can do."
Unfortunatley for the rest of the league, the Warriors are built to win now and in the future.
It certainly was a "ballsy" move to hang on to their young prospects, but it's paying off big time for Golden State.