The Warriors clearly were shorthanded this season in their frontcourt once Marquese Chriss went down at the beginning of the season, and then James Wiseman and Eric Paschall missed significant time as well.
A healthy Kevon Looney, coupled with a small-ball center in Draymond Green, carried the Warriors' frontcourt late in the season while the team made a run at the playoffs. However, the Warriors cannot fully count on Looney remaining healthy all of the 2021-22 season, nor should they rely on Green getting heavy minutes playing center (though I do believe they should use him more at that spot in the regular season than in years past).
There are plenty of free-agent names who could fit perfectly in the frontcourt though they likely will be too expensive, like Bobby Portis or Kelly Olynyk. However, here are five players that you might not hear about as much, who could provide some frontcourt roster depth for the Warriors.
The 6-foot-8 undersized center is a veteran of plenty of playoff games with the Boston Celtics. Theis is a high-motor player and adequate paint defender, with a reasonable ability to keep a defense honest by hitting some shots from deep (34 percent in his career).
The 29-year-old also has plenty of experience in the pick-and-roll, so should the Warriors coaching staff employ that strategy more often, he could be a great screen setter for Jordan Poole in the second unit.
Bjelica's purpose on the Warriors, and any roster for that matter, is simple: A stretch big man who will space the floor. He is not a great defender or someone who can be expected to be in closing lineups for the Warriors, but the 6-foot-10 veteran has shot 39 percent from deep in his career and can definitely provide some solid regular season backup minutes to help hit some wide-open looks, which is something that the Warriors struggled with in the 2020-21 season.
Looking for a veteran who has seen it all? Johnson is your guy.
The 6-foot-7 forward has played for eight different NBA teams, on playoff rosters and on rebuilding ones. Johnson is a physical player who can match up against any forward, or sometimes even play in the small-ball center role. He's streaky from deep, but can provide some needed veteran grit and experience on the court, as well as bring some sneaky athleticism.
The 6-foot-11 Spaniard is more of a true-center than any other player on this list, but perhaps the Warriors could use one of these bruisers on their roster. Hernangomez will fight down low for rebounds, which is something Golden State could always use, and he has nice touch around the rim.
He won't be a great floor spacer, but he can set some tough screens and bring some toughness in the paint that the Warriors have been missing.
You might recognize his name from his 2017-18 stint with the Santa Cruz Warriors, but Niang has been a solid fixture in the Utah Jazz lineup for a couple years now. He is one of the top shooters from deep when he is wide open, and shot nearly 43 percent overall from long range on the season. At 6-foot-7, he is more of the power forward mold, but he would be an ideal match for the Warriors' second unit.
The problem, however, is that he likely will be sought after by many teams, including the Jazz, and will be looking for his first big payday. Should he fall into the Warriors' price range, the union could make a lot of sense.