The Warriors' season ended abruptly Friday night, with Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies bouncing Steph Curry and Co. from the NBA play-in tournament and sending Golden State hurtling towards a critical offseason.
Despite the lack of offensive firepower around him and with defenses doing all they could to contain him, Curry was sensational in his return to the spotlight. The 33-year-old led the NBA in scoring with 32.0 points per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from 3-point range.
But that wasn't enough to get the Warriors into the NBA playoffs. With only a few years remaining in Curry's prime, many have suggested that the Warriors go all-in to maximize the final years of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green's prime, and trade 20-year-old center James Wiseman as part of a package to secure another star.
However, as things stand right now, president of basketball operations Bob Myers is confident Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, will be an important piece of the 2021-22 Warriors.
"I think he can help us. I expect him to be on the team next year. I don't want to trade James Wiseman," president of basketball operations Bob Myers told reporters Monday in his end-of-season press conference. "I think he is a tremendous talent. I think he was put in a position where, again, the guy has taken hopefully all of his lumps early in his career. I think he can be very helpful to us in the future.
"I think he can be helpful in the present. We plan on him being on the team. We plan on him helping us. ... We're very confident he is going to be a good player and help us win next year. And so, we think he is part of winning for this team going forward."
In 39 games this season, Wiseman averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. While he showed flashes of his athletic brilliance, the Memphis product struggled on the defensive end and didn't seem to fit alongside Curry on the offensive end.
Curry was incredible all season, but his numbers were even better when Wiseman, and Kelly Oubre, were off the floor. According to Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, Curry up 38.8 points per 75 possessions with Wiseman and Oubre off the floor this season.
The Warriors were plus-9.5 points per 100 possessions this season when Curry was on the floor and Wiseman was off, but the team was minus-8.3 points per 100 when both were on the court.
This shows the Warriors' big dilemma. A talent like Curry comes around once in a generation and the Warriors want to and need to do all they can to surround him with a championship-caliber roster for the remaining years of his prime.
While Wiseman has a lot of potential, it is clear that it will be a long process for the Warriors to bring Wiseman along in order for him to reach his ceiling.
Myers admitted the Warriors face conflicting windows, but he believes a young player like Wiseman can fit into the current title window.
"Obviously, Steph was here before I got here. When you're lucky enough to kind of fall into a player like that, in my position, I think you owe it to them to try to win, right?" Myers said. "Those people don't come along too often with that kind of talent that he obviously has So, for the last 10 years that's what we've been trying to do is give him a team that he can win a championship with and some years it's easier than others. But we're always looking to try and do that and we'll keep looking. That means looking at all different types of things.
"As much as it has been said and written, I do think young players can help. Depends on when or how. Things can evolve much differently than we all think over the course of a season or the course of a training camp. But that's where we make our predictions and we look at the roster and say, 'Well, how much can we expect from this player? How much can we realistically expect from that player? What's Klay going to be? When is he going to be back?' So it's something we are constantly looking at and certainly will try and do. Our payroll is not a payroll that would reflect any type of rebuilding. It's a payroll that's trying to win a championship. So that's how we are going to approach it."
With Wiseman and potentially two lottery picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Warriors have a lot of asset ammunition to make a big splash.
Getting Thompson back at some point next season will help, but the sharpshooting guard won't be able to fix all of their holes. They will need more in order for the Curry-Green-Thompson core to have enough to contend for a title next season.
The Warriors believe in Wiseman, but he'll need to show he can take a big leap in Year 2 to contribute to a championship-caliber team. If that isn't possible, the Warriors might have to choose between their current star and the one they want to eventually take the baton from him.
After missing the playoffs with a top-three MVP candidate and top-three Defensive Player of the Year candidate, the Warriors face an offseason filled with questions and tough decisions -- starting with Wiseman.