Warriors

How Draymond Green, Warriors will make up for offseason of lost scoring

How Draymond Green, Warriors will make up for offseason of lost scoring

Many teams in the Western Conference have added quality players this summer, making the road to the playoffs harder than before. Meanwhile, for the Warriors, they unfortunately dealt with an offseason of upheaval and turnover. For a team known for revolutionizing the NBA with their high-powered offense, the Warriors now face a tough task ahead of recreating their past success after key departures and injuries.

Last season, the Warriors were second in the NBA in scoring at 117.7 points per game, trailing the Milwaukee Bucks. With the loss of Kevin Durant (26 points per game) and Klay Thompson for most of the season (21.5 points), the team will have to make up for a significant deficit in scoring.

DeMarcus Cousins averaged 16.3 points per game in 30 regular-season games, however during that stretch, other stars sacrificed their point totals to accommodate him, so making up for that point total is somewhat of a wash when accounting for the others full-season statistics. The combination of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook, Jonas Jerebko and the other now-former bench pieces accounted for roughly 20 points per game.

So while rough and inexact, the Warriors to start next season will have to make up for players that totaled about 70 points per game. How will they do that?

It starts with the remaining stars. Steph Curry should not be counted on to score much more than his 27.3 points per game from last season. It was the second-highest total of his career, trailing the 30.1 he scored during his unanimous MVP season.

The amount of attention that Curry will draw from defenses should keep him somewhere in his normal scoring range. Draymond Green, on the other hand, should be fully prepared to increase his scoring output. After putting up 7.4 points last regular season, Green stepped up his fitness and overall game by scoring 13.3 points per game in the postseason.

Draymond's career-high in regular-season scoring average came in 2015-16 when he totaled 14 points per game. The Warriors will need him to approach the next regular season with that same sort of aggression and confidence on the offensive end.

The addition of D'Angelo Russell is a major factor in making up for any offensive deficit. Russell averaged a career-high 21.1 points last season, and the Warriors hope that he can repeat that or even better it in their fast-paced, efficient offensive system. If Russell can average 22 or 23 points per game, then combined with Draymond's potential scoring increase, the team will have 30 points taken away from the 70 point deficit between two players.

Making up for the remaining 40 points will be difficult, and it starts with one holdover from last season, Kevon Looney. After scoring 6.3 points per game last season, Looney will now have a larger role and expected to put up more shots. He is an underrated and capable scorer, who might even add a three-point shot to his arsenal next season. If he could raise his output to 10-12 points on average, that would be a helpful boost.

Adding Willie Cauley-Stein, Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III to the mix has the potential to make up for a good amount of the missing offense. Cauley-Stein averaged nearly 12 points per game last season, and there is no reason to believe he will not be able to do the same when coupled with great pick-and-roll initiators in Curry, Green and Russell.

Burks is a natural scorer, and when right is able to put up double-digit points every night. If he were to average 12 points per game and shoot the three-ball at a rate of 37 percent or better, the Warriors will benefit greatly. Robinson III has not averaged more than six points per game in his career, so it is not fair to expect him to exceed that total.

His long-range shooting suffered considerably last season, but he was able to shoot about 39 percent from deep over the three seasons combined before that. If Robinson III can return to form, six points per game next season would definitely be welcome to the team.

[RELATED: Giants' hot streak weirdly coincides with Kevin Durant leaving Warriors]

With Looney's increase of about four points, and the three new free agents dropping about 30 points per game, the Warriors have now made up for nearly the whole deficit they had lost from last season. If the team can get contributions from Alfonzo McKinnie, Omari Spellman, Jacob Evans III, Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall or Alen Smailagic, to make up for inevitable injuries or underachievement from the rotation players, then their offense should be humming as always.

With the expectation that Klay Thompson will return at some point later in the season, the Warriors should be ready to compete with the best teams in the NBA on the offensive end.

Now about the defense...

Watch footage of young Klay Thompson meeting Michael Jordan in 1998

Watch footage of young Klay Thompson meeting Michael Jordan in 1998

Klay Thompson has been around the NBA his entire life, both during his father Mychal Thompson’s career and now as an All-Star guard for the Golden State Warriors.

In May, Thompson spoke to the media about the first time he met Michael Jordan, when he was at a Portland Trail Blazers game in 1998. Klay and his family were living in Lake Oswego, Ore. at the time, and his dad was able to get the boys a chance to meet MJ and Scottie Pippen after the game.

Footage has now surfaced of that encounter, featuring the trio of Thompson boys meeting the NBA Hall of Famers for the first time.

Despite the lack of sound, it’s clear that the boys were blown away -- as just about any basketball fan at the time would be -- by the chance to meet NBA royalty.

[RELATED: Warriors' Klay Thompson will return 'late next season,' father Mychal says]

Klay, of course, had the least star-struck reaction as he just got his autograph and walked away, while his brothers stuck around.

I'm sure Jordan had no idea that he was signing an autograph for a kid who would grow up to win three NBA championships and receive two All-NBA accolades, all before his 30th birthday.

NBA rumors: Lakers to sign Dwight Howard as DeMarcus Cousins replacement

NBA rumors: Lakers to sign Dwight Howard as DeMarcus Cousins replacement

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is just a movie, but this is for real: Dwight Howard is expected to be back in Los Angeles and sign with the Lakers, six years after his first run in purple and gold. 

Howard's agent told The Athletic's Shams Charania the center has completed a buyout with the Grizzlies and will sign with the Lakers once he clears waivers. 

This comes after the news that former Warriors and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL nearly two weeks ago. Cousins, who signed a one-year contract with the Lakers this offseason, was expected to be L.A.'s starting center this season, but that now could fall to Howard. 

Though ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Howard's contract with the Lakers is non-guaranteed, it's likely he makes the team. L.A. currently has just one natural center on their roster, former Warrior JaVale McGee, and he's better suited as a lob threat off the bench. 

That's the problem. McGee and Howard essentially fill the same roles for the Lakers. They both can swat shots and finish dunks. Besides that, they don't offer much. 

Howard also has dealt with multiple injuries in the past and only played in nine games last season with the Washington Wizards due to a gluteal injury. In his last healthy season, the 33-year-old averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds for the Charlotte Hornets during the 2017-18 campaign. 

Replacing Cousins with McGee is a downgrade for the Lakers, but an upgrade for the Warriors and Kings when it comes to playoff seeding. Golden State is viewed as having a similar regular-season record as L.A. next season while the Kings are looking to end a 13-year playoff drought. 

[RELATED: Six Warriors storylines you should watch for next season]

The last time Howard was a Laker, things went haywire on and off the court in Hollywood. Will the script be flipped this time? 

Howard could have quite the redemption story, but it would be a bold bet by an outsider.