Two years ago, the Warriors made a trade that escalated their road back to title contention and set them up for long-term success. It was Example A of what has made this franchise perennial contenders with an aggressive front office.
The Warriors flipped 33 games of D'Angelo Russell averaging a career-high 23.6 points for Andrew Wiggins and a future first-round pick that later turned into Jonathan Kuminga.
Wiggins now is starting his first All-Star Game this season, Kumimga looks like a future star at 19 years old and the Warriors entered Thursday's NBA trade deadline with the second-best record in the league behind the Phoenix Suns.
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The Warriors traded for Kelly Oubre Jr. ahead of last season after knowing Klay Thompson was set to miss his second straight season. They then actually were minor sellers at the trade deadline, sending Brad Wanamaker to the Charlotte Hornets and an injured Marquese Chriss to the San Anotonio Spurs.
This year, they didn't have a need to make a splash or even a small move. Golden State didn't get anything or give away anything at Thursday's deadline, and that was exactly the right move.
Historically, they aren't known to create headlines at the deadline, though the Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut move in 2012 ended up being one of the bigger decisions in franchise history.
Draymond Green now is in his 10th season with Golden State, and said on Feb. 3 that he would be shocked if the Warriors made a trade. Why? All he had to do was look back at how the organization has been ran in the past.
Golden State Warriors
"What I do believe, and what I know to be true, is we are not a heavy trade-dedline team," Green said. "We have not since I've been here. I can count probably on one hand the amount of moves that we've made at the trade deadline since I've been here."
Actually, he would need two -- but his hands wouldn't be full. The Warriors have made just nine in-season trades, either as buyers or sellers, since drafting Green, according to Spotrac.
That strategy has worked pretty well, too. The Warriors genuinely care about the chemistry and vibe of a team, and this season's squad appears to have a championship connection. They have found the perfect balance of stars in Steph Curry, Thompson and Green, turning a former top pick in Wiggins into an All-Star, seeing contributions from veteran signings in the offseason and developing a young core with Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman and Moses Moody.
Kuminga's rise was way ahead of schedule as a raw 19-year-old prospect. He's an athletic marvel and nightly spark off the bench. It sure looks like he could play crucial minutes in the playoffs and is getting better and better before our eyes.
Moody started off a bit slower than maybe even expected. Lately, he has earned more minutes at the NBA level. The Arkansas product has shown the ability to knock down shots from the outside, plus versatility and hustle on defense. Wiseman, of course, remains the biggest question mark.
There have been positives as of late. The 7-foot center now is taking part in 3-on-3 contact, with 5-on-5 still to be determined. That's better than nothing. As the season goes on and the Warriors deal with injuries, plus a quiet trade deadline, Wiseman really has carved out a role on this roster.
And it doesn't have to be too much. At it's simplest form, go be tall for five to 10 minutes. Look at what 7-footer Hassan Whiteside did to the Warriors on Wednesday off the bench. He wound up grabbing 17 rebounds and blocking seven shots. He had five blocks in his first nine minutes played.
Take notes, which feels wild to write when talking about Hassan Whiteside.
Wiseman's long rehab is just one reason some wanted the Warriors to add a big man. Their only true center right now is Kevon Looney, who has turned a long injury history into starting every single Golden State game this season. Steve Kerr even admitted the Warrors looked small against the Jazz as Utah outrebounded the Dubs by 17 boards without Rudy Gobert.
Making a trade for a big, however, just didn't make sense, both for financial and roster construction reasons right now.
The buyout market still is an option, though the Warriors certainly believe they'll be getting size and defensive prowess back in the form of Draymond, Wiseman, Nemanja Bjelica and Andre Iguodala.
Green likely will miss a few more weeks with his back injury. He made it loud and clear he will not rush the process, while also making it just as clear how determined he is to come back and win Defensive Player of the Year and his fourth ring. We know Wiseman's status is a shrug of the shoulders at this point, and the Warriors haven't outwardly shown too much concern for Bjelica's long-term health as he has missed the last six games with his own back issues. Iguodala has missed 29 games this season and his injuries are a concern.
All that matters for Andre is the playoffs. That's what he was brought back for, and that's where he's best. Rest up.
The Warriors already have exceeded expectations by winning 41 games to this point. They've done that with Klay playing in only 12 so far, and his return has gone as great as they could have ever hoped for. Green has missed 21 games, and others have stepped up in his place. Gary Payton II continues to be one of the best stories in basketball, just as Otto Porter Jr. looks like one of the best signings of the offseason.
After two years away from the playoffs, the Warriors are laser-focused on getting back to the Finals. And it'll be with this roster, barring a move on the buyout market.