Revisiting Warriors' 2020 season predictions during All-Star break

Revisiting Warriors' 2020 season predictions during All-Star break

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.

Surely, the Warriors must be excited to have reached the All-Star break, signaling the coming final stretch of this nightmare regular season. Of course, there are ways to find the silver linings and glass-half-full hopes for a season filled with losses, but in the end, the record is what it is.

Could this lost season end up benefitting the Warriors down the road and rejuvenate the franchise for a second dynasty? You never know.

But for now, the focus is on the current team, and how they are faring. 

Back on January 2nd, I wrote an article making five predictions for the 2020 portion of the season. Let's check in on how they are looking thus far:

Warriors finish with the fifth-worst record in the NBA

The Warriors currently have the worst record in the league at 12-43, just below the Cavaliers, Hawks and Timberwolves in the standings. A few more Eastern Conference teams have about six or seven more wins than Golden State entering the post-All-Star break stretch.

Even with the return of Steph Curry sometime in early March, it might be difficult for the Warriors to win enough games to jump four other teams in the standings. 

With 27 games remaining, the Warriors might have to win at least 10 more games to leap teams from the league cellar. But in the end, many Warriors fans -- and likely secretly some Warriors staffers -- are hoping the team does not leave their place in line for the top overall draft pick.

Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III are traded

This one ended up being correct, however, the sheer amount of roster turnover at the trade deadline was unexpected. Both Burks and GR3 were sent to Philadelphia for three future second-round picks back on Feb. 5.

With both being unrestricted free agents in the offseason, it seemed inevitable that the two would end up on the trade block. But the Warriors also traded away D'Angelo Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans III in order to get below the repeater tax line as well as reshuffle their deck of players. 

You can expect a fair amount of reshuffling in the offseason as well. 

Draymond finishes with best 3-point percentage since 2015-16

Since he shot an impressive 38.8 percent from distance a few years ago, Draymond has not shot above 30.8 percent from deep in a season. Heading into the new year, Green was shooting 29.7 percent from 3-point range in 25 games in the 2019 part of the season. Since then, he has not only failed to improve his percentage, it has sunk even more.

In 2020, Green is shooting just 27.5 percent from deep in 16 games.

The encouraging news, however, is that he is shooting 43.8 percent from long range in his last six games, making seven of his 16 attempts. With the eventual return of Curry and the newfound ball movement and rhythm the team is experiencing, there is still a slight chance that Draymond can hit a hot streak to end the season.

Jordan Poole returns to NBA, shoots over 33 percent from deep

In 2019, Poole was shooting a poor 24.2 percent from 3 point range, which was part of the reason he was sent down to the G League to rediscover his stroke. Poole reemerged from Santa Cruz in the new year, and has played considerably better, though his shot remains pretty inconsistent. Over 19 games played in 2020, Poole is shooting just about 30 percent from deep, a great improvement from his first go-around in the league, but still below average. 

He has been showing off encouraging playmaking and overall feel for the game, landing him a starting role as the point guard against Phoenix before the break. Poole has the talent and ability to be a solid shooter in the NBA, so if he can find a groove in his newly expanded role, especially with the return of Curry, then he has a shot of making this prediction correct.

Eric Paschall lands on the All-Rookie First-team

Paschall earned a spot on the Rising Stars All-Star team, and if it were not for some impressive second-year players, most likely would have started the game. In the end, Paschall scored 23 points, leading the USA team in scoring and helping them earn a 20-point victory over the World team. 

[RELATED: Warriors have third-hardest schedule post All-Star break]

All-Star games hardly matter when it comes to picking an All-Rookie team, however, it is important that Paschall shows off on a national stage to get some attention, and he did exactly that. If he can maintain his current numbers over about 13 points per game on 48 percent shooting, he could be in line for the predicted honor.

But if he hits a hot streak and raises his totals any closer to what he did to start the season, a spot on the first team is as good as done.

Marreese Speights discusses joining BIG3 prior to coronavirus pandemic

Marreese Speights discusses joining BIG3 prior to coronavirus pandemic

Marreese Speights didn’t have an extended tenure with the Warriors, but it was full of exciting moments.

The reliable stretch four was a valuable reserve in Golden State, including being part of the 2015 NBA championship team. Since leaving the Bay Area after the 2015-16 season, Speights has played for two other NBA teams and spent a few seasons playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak putting a hold on American sports, Speights was slated to join the BIG3 via one of the league’s new expansion franchises.

“I just think it’s a platform for me to play basketball,” Speights said on a special, virtual edition of “Warriors Outsiders" last week. “I did a lot of things in the NBA, I won a championship, that’s the most important goal.

“So for me, being back to playing basketball is just gonna be fun.”

[RELATED: How Warriors are getting creative with workouts during break]

The roar Speights would get if he took the floor at Chase Center sometime in the future would be incredible.

The league was scheduled to get underway in June, although it remains to be seen when many American sports will be able to pick things back up after this extended hiatus.

Eleven players Warriors could target with taxpayer mid-level exception

Eleven players Warriors could target with taxpayer mid-level exception

General manager Bob Myers and the Warriors front office have some work to do whenever the NBA offseason begins.

After five straight NBA Finals appearances, the Warriors have the worst record in the NBA this season.

So, it’s up to Myers and Co. to add a few pieces that will help the Warriors get back into contention for an NBA title.

In addition to having one of the top picks in the 2020 NBA Draft and a massive $17.2 million trade exception acquired in the Andre Iguodala deal, the Warriors will have the ability to use the taxpayer mid-level exception, which ESPN’s Bobby Marks estimated will be around $5.9 million.

That number is based on the salary cap, and if that number goes down due to the loss of revenue caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, the value of the taxpayer mid-level exception could shrink as well.

Hard capped by the D’Angelo Russell-Kevin Durant trade with Brooklyn last summer, the Warriors couldn’t go over the luxury tax line this past season. But in 2020-21, the hard cap is gone and Draymond Green’s contract extension kicks in, meaning Golden State will cross the luxury tax threshold.

[RELATED: Steph among Giannis' favorite players]

The Warriors can use the entire taxpayer MLE to sign one player or they can split up the total to sign several players.

Here are 11 pending free agents, in no particular order, that the Warriors could use the Taxpayer MLE on this offseason: