Simmons believes Warriors made huge trade deadline mistake


The Warriors have lost nine of their last 11 games and hold a 16-15 record since Jan. 1. 

But before the start of the new year, they had the best record in the NBA and were a legitimate NBA title threat. . 

What changed? 

There’s a lot to point to: A Steph Curry January shooting slump, key players being out, including the defensive mastermind and important leader in Draymond Green, Klay Thompson's up-and-down play as he works to regain his All-Star form. 

The Ringer’s Bill Simmons has his assumptions on where he believes the Warriors went wrong. 

“If I’m Denver and I don’t think Draymond is 100 percent, I want to play Golden State,” Simmons said on the “Bill Simmons Podcast”. “Golden State didn’t do anything at the trade deadline to address a couple of playoff situations in these rounds, and I don’t really fully understand it. Because to me, they’re not big enough. Unless they are really convinced that Wiseman can come back, but what we saw from Wiseman last year, I don’t feel like he’s necessarily reliable in a playoff series even if he’s healthy. I just think they have too many guards and not enough size.”

Before the Feb. 10 trade deadline, Warriors GM Bob Myers, coach Steve Kerr and even some players said they were confident in the squad they had and didn’t expect any roster moves. 

But Simmons believes that was a mistake. 

Because until James Wiseman makes his long-awaited return to the court, the Warriors are left without a dependable big man behind Kevon Looney, who provides little offensive punch. 

“It’s just a lot of jump shots… Nobody gets to the free throw line on the whole team,” Simmons said. “If you’re just looking at all the guys [on Saturday vs. the Lakers], Curry’s probably the only guy who even averages more than four free throw attempts. And he’s probably five. But, a lot of jump shots. They’re not going in. Second quarter, Poole makes some. All of a sudden you’re feeling good. Then it’s jump shots again.”

Normally, a healthy Warriors team shooting a lot isn’t a bad thing, considering they have the Splash Bros and other guys like Jordan Poole and Moses Moody who can get hot from distance.

But the thing is, the shots haven’t been falling lately. 

Klay is mired in a slump, shooting 36.5 percent from the field and 35 percent from the 3-point line since the All-Star break.

The good news is the Warriors have depth across their roster. Sure, they may not have Wiseman back yet, but they have guys who step on the floor ready to compete. Oh, and they’ve got a pair of absolutely fearless rookies. 

“Then they have this [Jonathan] Kuminga thing where they have to play him, he’s breathtaking,” Simmons said. “You have to play him. But he’s 15 years old. He barely knows what he’s doing. So you have this thing where it’s like this toy that you have to play with, but half the time… I mean he’s really lost on defense. You could see it in person, and then he’ll do three amazing things in a row. And you’re like, you have to play him. 

“So I think if I’m Golden State, I’m punting on the two seed. I’m trying to get Kuminga the reps. I’m trying to figure out what I have from Klay these next couple of weeks… If I’m Golden State, I don’t even care [about the seed]. I’m saving miles on Steph. I want to know what I have with Kuminga, and I want to know what I have with Klay. And then I hope Draymond can come back and be healthy. But the days of like, we have to get the two seed. I think that’s done. You set that one adrift.”

It’s March and Golden State has found itself in its worst skid of the season. 

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But Draymond announced Monday that he is pushing to make his Warriors return on March 14 vs. the Washington Wizards. 

“The big takeaway for me was the lack of Draymond,” Simmons said. “And I think with Draymond, we default to the defense. I think they miss his offense just as much. They don't really have a point guard. You watch them and it’s like six shooting guards and Kevon Looney and Kuminga. But there’s no straw that stirs the drink that I could see. People think Curry’s a point guard, he’s really not, really he’s a two-guard. They really miss Draymond's playmaking.” 

It’ll be the perfect gift for Steph’s 34th birthday and it couldn’t come at a better time. 

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