As the 2023-2024 NBA season unfolds, the Warriors dwell in the depths of the Western Conference standings, occupying the 12th seed with a lackluster 22-25 record. This descent from grace has been precipitated by a ton of issues plaguing the proud franchise.
The most recent turn of events saw Klay Thompson benched late in games amidst the Warriors’ ongoing struggles this season. The thought process behind making the decision was fairly sound. Thompson is enduring one of his worst years a pro. He’s shooting worse than he ever has from the field and from beyond the arc, and his 17.1 PPG average is the lowest mark since Thompson’s second year in the league. Not to mention, the soon-to-be 34-year-old veteran has never been quite the same defensively following his 2020 Achilles injury.
Thompson was not part of the closing lineup in either of Golden State’s last two wins. In Monday’s victory in Brooklyn, Warriors’ reserves Gui Santos and Lester Quinones saw more fourth quarter minutes than the four-time NBA Champion. It’s certainly a tough pill to swallow for a player sporting the accolades and resume of Thompson. Despite his pedigree and track record of clutch performances, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has opted to trust other players in crucial moments, a move that speaks volumes about the team’s desperate quest for answers amidst their struggles.
Once hailed as one half of the Splash Brothers alongside Stephen Curry, Thompson has faltered, failing to recapture his former brilliance. His recent benching in crucial moments of games underscores the frustration surrounding his diminished impact on the court, leaving fans wondering if he can ever return to his former self.
Meanwhile, trade rumors surrounding the Warriors have only intensified. While Thompson is unlikely to be moved given his lofty contract and previous accomplishments, this group could look a lot different in the coming days. The Warriors are facing an uphill battle as they strive to salvage their season and reclaim their status as contenders.
As the deadline looms on the horizon, the Warriors find themselves at a critical juncture, weighing their options amidst a season filled with disappointment and uncertainty. Building around Stephen Curry remains paramount, but given the current roster construction and Thompson’s struggles, it poses a significant challenge for the Warriors’ front office.
Budding star Jonathan Kuminga has seemingly played well enough to stay put. But, outside of Kuminga and Curry this entire roster should be on notice. Andrew Wiggins is in the midst of a down year of his own, but having recently inked a four-year deal could make a potential trade tricky.
It will be intriguing to see how the Warriors attack these next couple of days with the understanding that a move to bolster them in the short-term might not be the wisest decision for future purposes. Whether they opt to make a bold move at the trade deadline or stay the course with their existing roster, the decisions made prior to the deadline could have a profound impact on the trajectory of the franchise as they attempt to navigate through the twilight of their dynasty.