Marquese Chriss

Warriors will face number of roster decisions in important offseason

Warriors will face number of roster decisions in important offseason

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

Despite owning the NBA's worst record, the Warriors may actually have a pretty compelling case to keep a majority of their current roster for next season.

The team has struggled considerably through the injury-plagued season, but some rookies and journeymen have turned into what could be valuable pieces moving forward. Many of the current players have won the hearts of Dub Nation, and a lot of Warriors faithful would be sad to see them go. But the reality is that if the Warriors plan to contend next season, changes and additions will need to be made.

Barring any significant trades, here are the 12 players many fans would like to see on the roster next season:

-- Steph Curry
-- Klay Thompson
-- Draymond Green
-- Andrew Wiggins
-- Kevon Looney
-- Eric Paschall
-- Marquese Chriss
-- Damion Lee
-- Jordan Poole
-- Alen Smailagic
-- Ky Bowman
-- Juan Toscano-Anderson

With 15 roster spots to use, along with two two-way contracts, the Warriors' front office will have limited ability to exercise all their options to improve the team.

Here are the ways the Warriors can better their squad:

-- High first-round pick
-- Two second-round picks
-- Trade exception from Andre Iguodala dead (approximately $17 million)
-- Taxpayer mid-level exception

If the Warriors were to acquire players by these means, that would add an extra five players to the roster, not including possible role players the Dubs could add on veteran minimum deals, like they did this past offseason with Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks. 

So where can changes be made from the original 12? 

Toscano-Anderson has shown flashes of being a useful bench piece, but it is likely he could end up as a two-way player next season for the team, rather than owning a guaranteed roster spot. Bowman has proven his value throughout the season, bringing great hustle and energy off the bench. But he is on a non-guaranteed contract next season, and could possibly be a roster crunch victim due to the emergence of Poole as a point guard and given the possibility the Dubs could bring in more guards from the outside. If the Warriors attempt to return him to a two-way deal, they could very well lose him to another team in the process.

Chriss is on a non-guaranteed deal, and Lee's deal is partially guaranteed, but both figure to be valuable players on the roster, especially with how inexpensive they are. The Warriors seem intent on keeping the 19-year-old Smailagic around in order to hopefully see him realize his full potential. Despite Looney's inability to stay healthy, the team still believes he has his immense value when he is able to play, and will probably try their best to rehabilitate his young career rather than jettison him. 

It is highly unlikely that the Warriors keep both second-round picks in the upcoming draft. They could trade the picks in a package deal to either move up in the draft, get a future better draft pick or even acquire a player.

In order to use the trade exception that the Iguodala deal created, depending on the demand for the acquired player, the Warriors may have to send picks or players away in the deal. Though, in rare cases like the Iguodala trade, the Warriors actually had to give a valuable pick to the Grizzlies in order to shed Iguodala's money. 

[RELATED: NBA mock draft: Warriors predicted lottery selection]

There are many other scenarios in with the team can do some maneuvering to keep most of the current roster. 

Or they can just acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo and all of this is a moot point.

Marquese Chriss explains why he only wanted to play for Warriors

Marquese Chriss explains why he only wanted to play for Warriors

Marquese Chriss entered Warriors training camp on a non-guaranteed contract. Most people assumed he was not going to make the Opening Night roster.

But after a strong preseason, Golden State waived Alfonzo McKinnie to make room for Chriss.

Despite averaging 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists through the Dubs' first 38 games, he was waived Jan. 6 before his contract became fully guaranteed for the rest of the season.

Chriss returned about a week later on a two-way contract, which then was converted to a standard NBA deal Feb. 7.

What a whirlwind.

"I don't take it personally because it was communicated," the 22-year-old explained Monday during a radio appearance on KNBR 680. "The situation that we were in with having to release me, then bringing me back on a two-way and then converting it. All of it was communicated beforehand so it never blindsided me.

"After they waived me in Sacramento -- I had talked to Steve (Kerr) and (Director of Basketball Operations) Jonnie West -- and I had told them that I wanted to come back. In the situation that I'm in, it's not really about the money. I have plenty of time in my career to make money.

"Right now, it's just about the opportunity to solidify myself and build who I am as a player ... they explained to me about the two-way and how it would work out if I came back. There never really was any uncertainty.

"I just wanted to be on this team."

[RELATED: Report: Ex-Spurs forward Simmons to join G League Warriors]

And solidify himself he has.

Over his last 12 games (10 starts), Chriss is averaging 13.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.6 blocks and 0.8 steals, while shooting over 62 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free throw line.

Not bad for a guy who will enter training camp next season on a non-guaranteed contract again.

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Warriors vs. Pelicans watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

Warriors vs. Pelicans watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chase Center has had its share of notable moments this season. Now, with rookie phenom Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans coming to town Sunday afternoon, more highlights are expected.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30 p.m. with tipoff scheduled for 5:30.

Williamson -- who missed each of the past three matchups against Golden State -- will make his Chase Center debut amid a solid stretch of play. Since returning from a knee injury, he's averaging 22.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists, putting the 19-year-old in the conversation for Rookie of the Year.

Williamson's Bay Area arrival comes against a battered Warriors roster. Forward Draymond Green will not play due to a pelvic contusion, forcing the Warriors to recall rookie Alen Smailagic. Dragan Bender also is expected to make his Golden State debut after signing a 10-day contract with the Dubs.

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors-Pelicans online and on MyTeams]

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F Andrew Wiggins
F Eric Paschall
C Marquese Chriss
G Damion Lee
G Jordan Poole

Pelicans

F Zion Williamson
F Brandon Ingram
C Derrick Favors
G Jrue Holiday
G Lonzo Ball

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: Steph Curry (left-hand fracture), Draymond Green (right pelvic contusion), Klay Thompson (left ACL rehabilitation) are out. Marquese Chriss (left calf soreness) is questionable.

Pelicans: Darius Miller (right Achilles surgery), Kenrich Williams (lower back soreness)

[RELATED: Wiggins is 'perfect piece' for Warriors, Hardaway believes]

ROTATION

Warriors: Bender has officially signed a 10-day contract with Golden State and should get some minutes with Green injured and Chriss' availability in the air. Bender struggled during his first few years in the league but averaged 20.5 points and 8.9 rebounds in 13 G-League appearances this season. The signing also reunites Bender with former teammate Chriss, who was picked four picks after him in the 2016 NBA Draft. Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins is averaging 22.8 points on 57.9 percent from the field in his first four games in Golden State. Rookie Jordan Poole is averaging 15.6 points over his last five games.

Pelicans: Williamson has scored 20 points in seven straight games, making him the youngest player to do so since Carmelo Anthony. Ingram is averaging 24.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists this season, making him the frontrunner for Most Improved Player this season. Along the way, the Pelicans have won seven of their last 10 games, putting them four games out of the playoff race in the Western Conference.

Officials: David Guthrie (#16) Kevin Cutler (#34) Brett Nansel (#44)