Offseason Preview: Who Will Return to the Warriors Next Season?

The Warriors are back on top! The Dubs added another ring to their dynasty, as they defeated the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals. While the champagne showers and championship fever across the Bay may feel great, it’s officially the NBA offseason. The Warriors have lots of work to do if they want to defend their title. On top of having three draft picks, nine Golden State players are free agents, and Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole are in need of contract extensions. The Warriors have made it clear that they want to bring the majority of their roster back for next season.

With that being said, let’s dive into what the Warriors should do when it comes to retaining their current players.

Players who are unlikely to return: Andre Iguodala, Kevon Looney, Otto Porter Jr.

Kevon Looney and Otto Porter Jr. proved their worth to the rest of the league this season with stellar performances. Kevon Looney played every game this season and established himself as an above-average center and key role player. Porter, on the other hand, found his form again as a top three-and-D wing after two seasons plagued by injuries. Both players should receive contracts well above $10 million/year. The Warriors could pay that to Looney due to the luxury tax, but with Wiseman expected to make a big return next season, it makes more sense to sign a cheaper option.

Meanwhile, I’d expect Andre Iguodala to retire. The 2015 Finals MVP is 38 years old, was in and out of the rotation this season, and battled multiple injuries throughout the season. If he were to return next season, he wouldn’t see much time on the court.

Players who could return and contribute in 2022-23: Gary Payton II, Nemanja Bjelica, Damion Lee

One thing I am personally interested to see is how other teams value Gary Payton II. The journeyman point guard found a home last season in Golden State, and the Warriors strongly valued his defensive abilities. But can Payton succeed outside of Golden State? The Warriors should make an effort to bring Payton back, as he provides a key boost behind Curry.

As for Bjelica and Lee, both players were in and out of the rotation frequently. Bjelica utilized his size and both offensive and defensive abilities well in the NBA Finals. However, with Patrick Baldwin Jr. now on this team and Jonathan Kuminga expected to take a big leap, maybe the Warriors think their forward room is too cluttered. Either way, Bjelica shouldn’t receive more than a veteran minimum, something the Warriors can afford if they want to. The same thing goes for Lee; if the Warriors want him, they can pay him on a veteran minimum. With 2nd-round pick Ryan Rollins fracturing his foot, bringing back Lee may help bolster the guard room even more.

The remaining free agents (Juan Toscano-Anderson (RFA), Quinndary Weatherspoon (RFA), Chris Chiozza) didn’t make much of an impact this season on the Warriors. Therefore, it shouldn’t matter whether they resign or not. The Warriors did not extend the qualifying offers for Toscano-Anderson and Chiozza, and are not expected to resign them.

How should the Warriors approach extension talks with Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins?

Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins enter the final year of their contracts next season, with Wiggins being an unrestricted free agent. Both players embraced a vital role for the Warriors championship squad, and Golden State will have a tough time adjusting if they can’t keep either of them.

In my opinion, Andrew Wiggins is more important to the Warriors, and he should be dealt with first. The all-star wing is a perfect fit for Steve Kerr’s system, and there aren’t many other players that can match his role and talent. Once the Warriors fill out their roster, their focus should turn to Wiggins and make sure he stays in the Bay.

Poole, on the other hand, plays a crucial part in the Warriors’ system but could be replaceable by another young talent. That shouldn’t make the Warriors shy away from him. Golden State should bring back Poole if it’s willing to go well into the luxury tax. On top of that, Poole is a restricted free agent, which gives the Warriors more time to make a decision.

What do the Warriors need to find entering next season?

The Warriors didn’t have many glaring needs this offseason, and that is one key reason why they won the championship. Therefore, the Warriors’ needs really depend on who’s coming back and who’s not.

With Looney and Porter unlikely to return, Golden State will need to find a center who can spread the floor and a three-and-D wing. Having players in those roles has helped the Warriors significantly throughout the dynasty, and is necessary for Steve Kerr’s system. It might even be beneficial to find two three-and-D wings with Iguodala likely to retire.

Gary Payton II and Nemanja Bjelica will also need their roles filled if they leave. Golden State should keep its eye out for a defensive-minded point guard and a stretch 4.

Final Thoughts

The Warriors offseason doesn’t need to be too eventful to keep a championship roster. However, the front office can’t slack off. Teams across the Western Conference have already made vast improvements. The Warriors need to find players who can play in and out of the rotation, have a strong bench presence, and contribute in different ways. The Warriors players had their foot on the gas pedal all season long. Now, it’s time for the front office to do the same thing.

Celtics beat Warriors 116-100, Lead NBA Finals 2-1

@brockhoff55 recaps Game 3 of the NBA Finals ahead of Game 4 tonight. Who will take this one home?

After two dynamic and exciting games to kick off the 2022 NBA finals, the Warriors and Celtics headed across the country to play two more in Boston. Boston took game one, and game two was even until the third quarter Warriors took over. Both of these teams looked pretty even heading into a very important game three.

Game Recap

The Celtics got off to an extremely hot and high-scoring start in this one. Boston put up 33 points in the first quarter while holding Golden State to just 22, good enough for an eleven-point lead after one. Jaylen Brown had over half of the Celtics’ first-quarter points, with 17 of his own.

The second quarter was just as high scoring, except for both teams this time. The Celtics improved off their first quarter with a whopping 35-point second quarter, and the Warriors nearly matched that with a 34-piece of their own. Boston went into halftime with a 68-56 lead.

As always, the Warriors stormed out of the gate in the third quarter, and immediately made it a game, even taking the lead late in the period. The Warriors put up 33 in the third, but the 25-point effort from the Celtics was enough to keep a four-point lead in the fourth.

A combination of a sensational defensive effort from Boston and Stephen Curry exiting early with an injury helped Boston to a 16-point win, and the series lead. The second half was much more back-and-forth than the first, but excellent games from Tatum, Brown, and Smart helped the Celtics hold on to win. Boston now leads the NBA Finals two games to one.

Stat Leaders

Speaking of those three, they collectively made NBA history. Tatum, Brown and Smart were the first three teammates with 24+ points, 5+ rebounds, and 5+ assists in an NBA finals game since 1984. Those three also combined for 77 points altogether.

Aside from scoring, Celtics’ center Robert Williams was exceptional. Williams had 10 rebounds, four blocks, and three steals. Steph led the Warriors with 31 points, and Klay Thompson had 25 of his own. Draymond Green really struggled during this game, scoring just two points and fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Neither team shot terribly well, with the Warriors shooting at a 38% clip, compared to 37% for Boston. Boston’s real advantage came on the glass, outrebounding Golden State 47-31.

Highlights

What’s Next?

The Celtics lead the NBA Finals 2-1, and they’ll look to make it 3-1 on Friday night. That game will take place at 9:00pm eastern time on Friday night, on ABC.

2022 NBA Finals Series Update

The basketball world was greatly anticipating this Warriors vs. Celtics Finals matchup, and so far the series has completely delivered. Boston took care of business in Game 1, stealing a necessary game on the road. Golden State responded accordingly with an emphatic Game 2 victory. What do the first two games tell us about what to expect from Game 3 on Wednesday? Here is your NBA Finals update ahead of Game 3.

Game 1

The key takeaways from Game 1 were that the Celtics are extremely tough mentally, and if you leave their guys open they can make shots. The Celtics weathered a shooting barrage from Stephen Curry in the first quarter in which he set an NBA Finals record for three-point shots made in a single quarter with six made 3s.

Steph doing this is 6 times in a quarter is enough to break the spirit of most teams.

Despite that, Boston found themselves down by only 4 at the end of the first quarter. They held the Warriors to only 22 points in the second quarter and entered halftime with a two-point lead.

Even the great Celtics defense couldn’t stop a vintage Golden State 3rd quarter in which they outscored Boston by 14 points. Boston showed that mental toughness again by keeping level heads. They were rewarded with a very impressive 4th quarter in which they hit nine three-point shots and outscored the Warriors by 24 points. Even though it was a quiet shooting night for Jayson Tatum, the Celtics’ run in the 4th was sparked by a couple of great plays from Jaylen Brown.

These two plays from Jaylen Brown came at a pivotal moment in Game 1 and completely swung the momentum towards the Boston Celtics.

Game 2

Game 2 showed us that the Golden State Warriors are exactly who we thought they were. They came out with the fire you would expect from former champions. They set the tone early and came away with a resounding victory.

This was a vintage Draymond Green game. His line for the night – 9 PTS, 7 AST, 5 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK. He set the tone physically and emotionally for the Warriors as well. He picked up a technical foul after getting chippy with Grant Williams early. Some argue that he should have picked up a second after some extracurricular activity with Jaylen Brown later in the game.

The Warriors’ attitude was completely different in Game 2. In the first game, we got Steph Curry high-fiving and smiling after his brilliant first quarter, in this game it was all business. Fun and games Steph was not in the building – he was clinical and he delivered two fantastic shots in the 3rd quarter that were the death blow to the Celtics’ comeback chances in the game.

When Steph is hitting shots like this 30 footer you can probably just start warming up the bus.

Gary Payton II made his return from injury in this game as well, and he proved his value to this team yet again. Three of the top five plus/minus lineups for the Warriors in this game included Payton II according to PBP Stats.

Game 3 Prediction

Game 3 of this series will take place on Wednesday, June 8th in Boston. The Celtics have not lost two games in a row yet in this year’s playoffs. My prediction is that this streak will not be broken on Wednesday night. Boston’s role players have all played better in front of their home crowd, I expect the juice from the fans in the TD Garden will propel the Celtics to a Game 3 win. However, the Warriors have won 35 road playoff games since 2015 with this core of players (StatMuse), so history tells us not to be shocked if they head into Boston and steal Game 3 on the road.

What to Watch For in the 2022 NBA Finals

Credit: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

It’s the best time of the year. Maybe your semester is ending, you’re entering the summer, but most importantly, the NBA Finals are here again. It almost feels refreshing to have competitive matchups in recent years after the monotony of the annual Warriors-Cavs showdown. The Warriors are back in the Finals again, but this time they will play the Boston Celtics. This series looks like a fantastic one. Let’s dive right into it.

The Warriors have had nothing short of a dominant run to get here. Golden State easily knocked off the MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets in five games. The Warriors then dismantled the Grizzlies in six, and the Mavericks in five.

The Celtics had a much harder route, but found their way here nonetheless. Boston routed Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Nets in a surprisingly dominant four-game sweep. After that, the Celtics have won consecutive seven-game series’ against the defending champion Bucks, and the #1 seeded Heat.

The Star Players

Stephen Curry remains one of the most impressive players in NBA history, and his playoff run has been no different. Curry has averaged nearly 26 PPG in these playoffs, and his splash brother Klay Thompson has 19.8 PPG. Their much younger splash brother, Jordan Poole has 18.4 PPG himself.

Jayson Tatum has proven his stardom to the world throughout these playoffs. Tatum has 27 points per game in the postseason, and he’s done that against the Heat and Bucks; two of the best defensive teams in the league. Tatum has struggled at moments, but he seems like a young star who is figuring out how to put together a championship run of his own.

Jaylen Brown has been impressive as well, with 22.9 PPG. Brown has been a little more inconsistent during these playoffs, but when he’s been on, he’s absolutely dominant. While not star players, Al Horford and Marcus Smart have been huge different makers during the postseason as well.

Key Matchups

The first, and most important matchup of the series will be between the point guards; Marcus Smart and Stephen Curry. We all know how impressive Steph is, but Smart often does go under-appreciated. He is the heart and soul of the elite Celtics’ defense. Their chances of winning the series as a whole will dramatically decrease if Smart is unable to limit Curry in any capacity.

Another important matchup will be Andrew Wiggins and either Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. Depending on different lineups during the game, Wiggins will likely be paired with one of these two. Wiggins’ defense has gotten much better over the past season, and he’s an important cog in the Warriors’ stout defense. He’ll be just as important when he’s forced to defend both of the Celtics’ best players.

Finally, the third matchup to watch will be Draymond Green against Robert Williams, Or Jayson Tatum in a small-ball lineup. Both of these teams can play small-ball, so some funky lineups will be a pretty common occurrence during this series. Green has been the heart and soul of the Warriors over the past half-decade, and he brings a ton of intensity on the defensive and rebounding facets of the game. Whether he’s paired up against Williams or Tatum, that will be important to the Warriors’ success in general.

NBA Finals Preview

This is going to be one hell of a series. The Warriors seem like the best team almost every year, and here they find themselves in the Finals once again. The Celtics have taken an extremely tough path to get here, and find themselves on the biggest stage after it all.

Ultimately, don’t be surprised if this series goes the distance. The Warriors are impossibly tough to beat at home, which makes them an automatic favorite. Boston has shown they shouldn’t be counted out, though, and they’ve shown prolonged periods of dominance against some heavy competition throughout these playoffs.

A good prediction for how the NBA Finals will end? Warriors in seven.

Jayson Tatum Is Finals Ready and Going For Gold

The Boston Celtics’ rising star has been a dominant force throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. Now, Jayson Tatum is headed to the finals after putting the NBA on notice. From sweeping the heavily favored Brooklyn Nets to dethroning the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, to now engaging in a spectacular battle with Miami Heat superstar, Jimmy Butler.

While many expected Tatum and his team to fail, he has greatly outperformed expectations and now confronts another difficult obstacle. That next obstacle comes in the form of the Golden State Warriors, who will provide nothing but fireworks on Thursday.

There is No Question Tatum Is a Superstar

If there was any doubt about Tatum’s ability to take the next step or whether he is indeed the Celtics’ next big star, those doubts have been dispelled. In a win or go home game 7, he big shot after big shot and stepped up on defense. He had 26 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal, and two blocks in last night’s triumph.

Whenever there has been a challenge in front of him, he’s gladly accepted the task. When it came to the first round of the playoffs, it was expected that Kevin Durant would send Tatum packing early, but spoiler alert, the exact opposite happened. Tatum played outstanding defense on Durant, making it difficult for him to function as well as he often does. Tatum averaged nearly 30 points per game in that series, indicating a strong will to win.

The defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, were up next. This was a difficult undertaking since eliminating a team that has just won a championship is not easy. While this series went to seven games, it was in their sixth playoff matchup when Tatum once again put the world on notice. He scored 46 points to force a game 7 with his team trailing 3-2 in the series.

Finally, to cap off his spectacular performance in these playoffs, he was the first to win the Larry Bird MVP award while leading his Celtics to the Eastern Conference title. This award is given to the best player in the Eastern Conference Finals.

More Awards On The Way?

It would be ridiculous to think Tatum is content with the two awards he received last night. He has his sights set on the bigger prize, which is the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The only thing standing in his way is a very tough opposition in the Steph Curry-led Golden State Warriors. NBA fans are already giddy at the prospect of back-and-forth battles between him and Curry.

While the Warriors have the experience, Tatum and the Celtics have exceptionally good defense and youth, which will be the difference in this series. If Jayson Tatum in the finals can replicate these spectacular performances on the greatest stage of his career, expect him to be mentioned among the elite players in this league. Battling the Warriors will not be easy, but Tatum has proven time and time again that he is ready for anything.