The 2019-20 Golden State Warriors in Review

November 15th, 2020

by Alan Lu

The Golden State Warriors’ present-day logo.
Golden State Warriors/Sports Logo History)

Coming off another trip to the NBA Finals in 2019, though the Golden State Warriors had lost Kevin Durant in free agency, and they lost superstar guard Klay Thompson to a torn ACL, it was thought that they would stay competitive, and manage to claw their way into the 2020 NBA playoffs, due to having superstar point guard Stephen Curry, star forward Draymond Green, and they had added another All-Star in combo guard, D’Angelo Russell.

But the Warriors got off to a really sluggish start, and when Stephen Curry got hurt early in the season, they were out of the running for the playoffs.  They did receive some expectedly strong play from their rookies, most notably Eric Paschall, but the Warriors won just 15 of 65 games this year.  Midway through the season, they dealt D’Angelo Russell for Andrew Wiggins in a move to bolster their wing depth, and to help them build towards next year.

Golden State’s superstar point guard, Stephen Curry was expected to lead the way to get the Warriors back to the playoffs, even in spite of their team having lost Klay for the season (to a knee injury) and KD (to the Brooklyn Nets via sign-and-trade), but injuries limited him to just 5 games during the 2019-20 NBA season.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images, via Golden State of Mind)

PG Stephen Curry – 2019-20 season grade: C

2020 (GSW): 5 GP, 20.8 PPG, 6.6 APG, 5.2 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 40 FG%, 24.5 3PT%, 100 FT%, 27.8 MPG, 21.7 PER, 0.3 WS

Stephen Curry is a terrific shooter, scorer, and playmaker who is one of the best point guards in the game, and he is a future Hall of Famer that has won 2 MVPs and three titles to date. 

However, he played in just 5 games, as he missed most of the season due to a broken hand, and he is arguably coming off maybe his worst season ever.  His durability has become an increasing concern, as he has missed more than 100 regular season games in the past three years.  Still, Curry is a tremendously gifted player who is expected to bounce back to have a strong 2021 season, and he could easily make the All-Star team in 2021 if he returns to full form.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Franchise Player/Starting Shooting Guard at Golden State, Could Make the All-Star Team in 2021
Projected 2021 Rating: 4 stars

Having injured his knee in the 2019 NBA Finals, Klay Thompson (on the left) spent a lot of time on the bench, as his knee injury forced him to miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season.
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

SG Klay Thompson, grade: Incomplete

2020 (GSW): DNP – Knee Injury

He’s a very talented sharpshooter that can put up points in a hurry, and when healthy, he is one of the best players in the game.  He can rack up 30 points without needing a lot of shots, and he does a great job of running off ball screens and using off-ball motion to score.   He’s also an underrated defender.  He missed the entire 2019-20 season due to a torn ACL, but big things are expected from him when he comes back.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Starting Shooting Guard at Golden State, Could Make the All-Star Team in 2021
Projected 2021 Rating: 3.5 stars

Draymond Green is a versatile, high IQ basketball player that has very good playmaking and defensive skills, but there have been significant concerns about his lack of shooting or scoring output recently.
Sam Szeto/USA Today Sports)

PF Draymond Green – C

2020 (GSW): 43 GP, 8.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 39 FG%, 29 3PT%, 28.4 MPG, 12.5 PER, 1.1 WS

Draymond Green is a very versatile combo forward that boasts having strong playmaking and defensive skills, and he was the 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year.  However, he’s struggled to consistently make shots or to score as time has moved forward, and he missed time due to nagging injuries this past year.  There are warning signs of decline, as his offensive production has dropped over the years, and he’s entering his early 30s, but when he is on his game, he is a smart, athletic point forward that can shut down the opponents’ best players.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Starting Power Forward at Golden State
Projected 2021 Rating: 3 stars

SF Andrew Wiggins – C  (C with Minnesota, C+ with Golden State)

2020 (TOT): 54 GP, 21.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 BPG, 45 FG%, 33 3PT%, 34.4 MPG, 16.4 PER, 1.9 WS
2020 (MIN): 42 GP, 22.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 44 FG%, 33 3PT%, 34.6 MPG, 16.1 PER, 1.4 WS
2020 (GSW): 12 GP, 19.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 46 FG%, 34 3PT%, 33.6 MPG, 17.5 PER, 0.5 WS

After Andrew Wiggins was signed to a massive contract a long time ago, he was expected to develop into being one of the best players in the game.  Wiggins put up raw counting statistics, but he was perennially disappointing every year, as he gave Minnesota fans some terrific highlights, and then would frustrate them with bad shooting, turnovers, and lackadaisical effort on the defensive end.  Now that he was traded to Golden State, who has been one of the dominant NBA teams of the 2010s, he’s hoping that head coach Steve Kerr can maximize the most out of his skill set.  At the very least, Wiggins could do Harrison Barnes things for Golden State.

Projected Role/Expectations: Starting Small Forward
Projected 2021 Rating: 2.5 stars

C Kevon Looney – D

2020 (GSW): 20 GP, 3.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.3 BPG, 37 FG%, 13.1 MPG, 9.4 PER, 0 WS

Looney did not play very well before missing the rest of the season due to a core muscle injury, and his numbers were considerably down all across the board.  He did not make shots nearly as well as he did in 2019, and he had his worst season after coming off his best season.  He’ll need to make sure he’s fully healthy in order to return to form.  If 2020 was an aberration, Looney will be sure to bounce back to have a solid year.  Otherwise, the Warriors may need to find players that could give solid minutes at the center position if he cannot do so.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Rotation player
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars

Golden State Warriors’ forward, Eric Paschall had a very good rookie year, and big things are expected out of him for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season.
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images, via Warriors Wire)

PF Eric Paschall – B+

2020 (GSW): 60 GP, 14.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, 50 FG%, 29 3PT%, 77 FT%, 27.6 MPG, 14.5 PER, 2.1 WS

A second-round rookie drafted out of Villanova, the 6-8 combo forward had a very good rookie season in 2020, as he showed that he can be a solid shooter and scorer when he is on the floor.  He also passed the ball well, and Paschall could be a versatile front-court player that could help his team on both ends of the floor next year.  He will need to continue to improve his three-point shot and defense, but he could be a very good role player for Golden State if he continues to progress as an overall player.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Backup Power Forward at Golden State
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars (2.5 star potential)

SF Damion Lee – B

2020 (GSW): 49 GP, 12.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 42 FG%, 36 3PT%, 87 FT%, 29 MPG, 12.7 PER, 1.7 WS

He was a rarely used wing player in his first two seasons in the NBA, and Lee had not gotten into a postseason game yet, but this year was probably the best he could’ve hoped for as an NBA player to date.

Lee received extensive playing time, and he shot the ball reasonably well, and he put up fairly solid rebounding and passing numbers.  He might not get nearly as much playing time next year when Klay Thompson and Curry will be back, but Lee could build off his solid season to be a key rotation player for the Warriors in 2021.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Backup Small Forward at Golden State
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars

C Marquese Chriss – B

2020 (GSW): 59 GP, 9.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 BPG, 55 FG%, 21 3PT%, 77 FT%, 20.3 MPG, 19.5 PER, 3.4 WS

After having a disappointing 2019 season, Chriss bounced back to have his best season yet with the Warriors.  He excelled as an inside scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker for his team, and he was a key rotation player on the Warriors this past season.  He might not get nearly as much playing time when all the regulars return, as Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green missed considerable playing time, but Chriss is a talented big man who has the talent to be an integral rotation player for the Warriors in 2021.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Backup Center at Golden State
Projected 2021 Rating: 2 stars

PG Ky Bowman – C+

2020 (GSW): 45 GP, 7.4 PPG, 2.9 APG, 2.7 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 42 FG%, 31 3PT%, 83 FT%, 22.6 MPG, 9.1 PER, -0.1 WS

An undrafted rookie out of Boston College, no one could’ve foreseen that Ky Bowman would get a large chunk of playing time with the Warriors this past season, and Bowman had some solid games as a rookie.  He helped the Warriors get an impressive win over Portland early on, and he had a three-game stretch in late November where he averaged 19 points per game against Dallas, Utah, and Oklahoma City.  Because Bowman was an undrafted rookie that played so much, and provided some solid minutes, he had a relatively solid season for an undrafted rookie.

Bowman received extensive playing time, which may have significantly helped his chances to get a long playing career in the NBA, and when he is on his game, he is a crafty, versatile scorer that can run the team and dish out assists.  He was inconsistent with his jump shot, but that is expected for most rookies, the hope is that he can build off of his surprisingly decent rookie season and expand upon it to have a long lasting career as a rotation player in this league.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Backup Point Guard at Golden State
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 star potential)

SG Jordan Poole – C

2020 (GSW): 57 GP, 8.8 PPG, 2.4 APG, 2.1 RPG, 33.3 FG%, 28 3PT%, 80 FT%, 22.4 MPG, 7.2 PER, -1.2 WS

Because Klay Thompson got hurt early in the season, and Stephen Curry missed a lot of time due to a broken hand, there was plenty of playing time to be had, and naturally, it allowed for their first-round rookie, Jordan Poole to earn some minutes.  He had some good games, as he scored 20 or more points in a game multiple times this season, and he was consistently a scorer in double-figures from February until the end of the season, with the exception of his scoreless night against Toronto.

However, he actually didn’t shoot the ball very well in the NBA this past season, despite coming in with a shooter’s reputation. On the bright side, he did show the ability to distribute the basketball, which could allow him to compete for either backcourt position this year.  He’ll need to shoot much better, and be the shooter he was expected to be, but it’s unsure if he will stick in Golden State’s rotation in 2021.  If he does, he could be a shooter off the bench for them next year.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Backup Shooting Guard at Golden State
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 star potential)

G-F Juan Toscano-Anderson – C+

2020 (GSW): 13 GP, 5.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 46 FG%, 35 3PT%, 60 FT%, 20.9 MPG, 9.4 PER, 0.2 WS

He didn’t get into many games, but he shot the ball well and showed some solid rebounding and playmaking skills when he was on the floor.  Anderson was passive to a fault sometimes, and he will need to continue to improve his jump shot and defense.  He might not play that much in 2021 when the regulars return, but he could project into an end of the rotation role as a 3 and D type of player if the Warriors need to play him next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Backend roster player at Golden State
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars

G Mychal Mulder – C+

2020 (GSW): 7 GP, 11.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 39 FG%, 31 3PT%, 75 FT%, 29.1 MPG, 7.8 PER, 0.1 WS

The undrafted rookie guard out of Kentucky had a surprisingly decent rookie season, and he showed that he can put up points in a hurry.  He played his way into earning a standard contract, and he’ll have a shot to earn more minutes, as he’ll compete for a spot in the Warriors’ rotation next year.  There are no guarantees that he will crack their rotation, but he definitely has earned a place on their roster next season.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Backend roster player at Golden State
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars

F-C Alen Smailagić – C

2020 (GSW): 14 GP, 4.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.3 BPG, 50 FG%, 23 3PT%, 84 FT%, 9.9 MPG, 14.5 PER, 0.2 WS

Alen Smailagic didn’t play very much, but he showed that he can score and pass the basketball when he was on the floor.  He will need to improve his rebounding and defense, and he will need to work on his outside shot more.  He’ll likely be facing a crowded logjam at the power forward and center positions next year, so he might have to spend another year in the G-League.  Regardless, he is a skilled, mobile big man who could project to be a solid role player by the time he can crack Golden State’s rotation one day.

Projected 2021 Role/Expectations: Backend roster player at Golden State
Projected 2021 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 star potential)

Golden State Warriors’ legendary head coach, Steve Kerr memorably smashed a clipboard into pieces in Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The way he felt about that clipboard may or may not be close to the way he might feel about how his team fared this season, as his team was hit by a string of bad luck injuries. The 2019-20 Warriors had to throw in a lot of inexperienced newcomers, and they faced some growing pains.
SF Gate)

Head Coach:
Steve Kerr, 2019-20 season grade: C
2020 (GSW): 15-50, Missed the Playoffs
Head Coaching Career: 337-138, 77-28 in the playoffs, has won 3 NBA titles with the Warriors in 2015, 2017, and 2018

Historically, Steve Kerr is a great coach who is one of the brightest minds in the game.  As a rookie head coach, he led the 2015 Warriors and catapulted them to win an astonishing 67 games and to win the NBA championship that year.  He won two more titles since, and has won 337 games in his six-year career to date.  Before the 2019-20 season, he had made the NBA Finals every year as a head coach.

This season though, was unfortunately his worst season to date.  His team had been hit with many unfortunate injuries, so the Warriors were actually shorthanded for the first in a long time.  Klay Thompson was out for the year, Stephen Curry was only healthy enough to play five games, and Draymond Green and Kevon Looney missed considerable playing time as well.

Therefore, it was a rebuilding year for the Warriors, and this gave way to the youth movement to lend them playing time that they may not have been able to have in previous seasons.  As a result, there were some growing pains, and the Warriors did not rate well in many statistical areas. 

They did rate well in ball movement, as they were 9th in assists per game, and the Warriors were 4th in making their free throws.  When the full starters return, the Warriors are expected to make a return trip to the playoffs.  The concern, as always, lies in the health of their starters and players, and so it is uncertain if they can return to dominance or contention, and it is uncertain if the Warriors can get what they need out of Andrew Wiggins, who is a very talented player that has frustrated Minnesota fans for years. 

On the other hand, with Steph, Klay, and Draymond, and Steve Kerr returning for another year, the hope is always there, that they could have a strong bounce back season and contend for a title in 2021. The 2019-20 Warriors struggled with bad luck and an inexperienced roster that was still learning the NBA, but the Warriors will be ready and re-charged in 2021, and Steve Kerr is still one of the five best coaches in the NBA.

Projected 2021 Role: Head Coach of the Golden State Warriors
Projected 2021 Rating: 4 stars

2019-20 Golden State Warriors’ season grade: C-

There is no way to dance around it, 2020 was just not a good year for Golden State or their fan base.  They were hit with some bad luck that was carried over from the last few games of the 2019 season, and their superstar guards, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to only play 5 games total throughout the entire 2019-20 season.

In addition, D’Angelo Russell wasn’t as good of a fit for Golden State’s system as expected.  Though he put up counting numbers, he did not play very good defense or play within Golden State’s team system, so because he has to dominate the ball to be effective, he just didn’t fit in well with the Warriors.  He was traded around the deadline for Andrew Wiggins, who shows more promise to fit in better with Golden State due to his size, vast athleticism, and skill set.

As a result of Steph and Klay missing many games, and with Draymond Green and Kevon Looney missing some time and having showed reduced effectiveness compared to previous seasons, the Golden State Warriors won a lot fewer games than expected.  On the bright side, giving playing time to the youth movement may pay some dividends.  Eric Paschall had a solid rookie season, and he made the NBA All-Rookie First Team this year, and he could be a big factor on Golden State’s team next year.   They also saw solid years out of players such as Damion Lee and Marquese Chriss, and other young players such as Ky Bowman, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Mychal Mulder, and Jordan Poole had some solid games at times that suggest that they could make a team’s rotation one day.

There’s nothing pretty about a 15-50 season, but Golden State has next season to look forward to.  Klay, Steph, and Draymond will likely be fully healthy, they have the 2nd overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, which could be another solid player to add to their team, and they were able to win games without Kevin Durant against the Blazers and Rockets in the 2019 NBA playoffs, so if their entire team can stay healthy, we can expect the 2021 Warriors to be sleeper contenders for the title next season.

Golden State Warriors’ Projected 2020-21 NBA Rotation

Projected Starters:
C Kevon Looney
F Draymond Green
F Andrew Wiggins
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Key Reserves:
The 2nd Overall Pick from the 2020 NBA Draft
F Eric Paschall
G Damion Lee
F-C Marquese Chriss

Others competing for a spot in the rotation next season:
G Ky Bowman
G Jordan Poole
G-F Juan Toscano-Anderson

Other players that are currently projected to be on their next season’s roster:
The 48th overall pick from the 2020 NBA Draft
F-C Alen Smailagic
G Mychal Mulder
The 51st Overall Pick from the 2020 NBA Draft

Projected Players Cut from Next Season’s Roster:

2020 NBA Draft Picks:
#2, #48, #51

Projected Offseason Plan for the Warriors:

The Golden State Warriors are in a position of luxury, as they currently have the 2nd overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, as well as two second round picks later in the draft.  However, it may be uncertain if they can get a future superstar at the top, and they may want players that fit into their team system. 

With that in mind, the Warriors could elect to trade down to get more assets, such as key role players and a top-10 pick lower down, and there’s a possibility that they could get more picks considering that there’s no guarantee who will be selected at or near the top of the draft.  If they stay put though, the logical move would be either to get a center to compete for minutes (i.e. James Wiseman or Onyeka Okongwu), or another versatile, offensively skilled player that can shoot and move the basketball.

In terms of free agency, they are over the cap, so they would have to maneuver some money around via trades if they want to sign players that would cost more.  What’s likely is that they could scour the free agent market to get bargain bins in a bid to find a valuable role player on a minimum contract.  In addition, they could also look to beef up their coaching staff, as their consultant, Steve Nash ended up being hired to be Brooklyn’s head coach.

With the 2019-20 NBA season firmly behind them, the 2020-21 Golden State Warriors could be well-positioned to make their climb back up the Western Conference as sleeper contenders for the 2021 NBA title.
NBA Getty Images, via

Expected Regular-Season Record in 2021*: 37-35, 8th seed in the Western Conference.

The 2021 Golden State Warriors would then play in the play-in game against the projected 9th seed, the Phoenix Suns, and the winner would play against the projected 1st seed, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Expected 2021 Season Outcome: Projected to make the playoffs, Will Likely Lose in the 2nd Round or Western Conference Finals, or earlier if they don’t get a favorable matchup.

(* – The asterisk denotes that the expected regular season win total is adjusted for the 72 game schedule that the NBA will play for the 2020-21 season.  The initial projection for the Warriors was for them to get 42 wins in an 82-game season.  Also, the projected record does not take into account for the NBA draft or free agency, as those events have not happened yet.)

In case if you need the rubric for my player rating system of projecting NBA players for the 2020-21 season, here is the link. In addition, Basketball-Reference, RealGM, and Spotrac were vital information sites that I used to look at player and team statistics, as well as contract information.

Side note: Also, the letter grades attached to the player name was my grade for their 2019-20 season, as it is my judgment of their performance and whether or not they met or exceeded my expectations, and didn’t have much bearing on my projection of how they will perform for the 2020-21 NBA season.

Thank you for reading my grades and review of the 2019-20 Golden State Warriors. It was a rough season for the Warriors, but the 2020-21 NBA season brings a lot of hope, as the Warriors will have all of their players coming back, and they’ll be able to make some solid moves with the 2nd overall pick and in free agency. They’ll also have the option to make trades, and if they were to trade the 2nd overall pick, they also could get good return back. Anyways, thanks for reading, and have an excellent rest of the weekend.

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