Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 99-84 loss vs. Timberwolves

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Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 99-84 loss vs. Timberwolves

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In recent years, the Warriors have shown they can dig themselves out of some pretty deep holes with Hall of Fame-level talent. In Thursday's 99-84 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, they showed just how much times have changed. 

In the first game of 2020, the Wolves jumped ahead on Golden State early, outscoring the Warriors 34-19 in the first quarter, building a 22-point lead, coasting to Minnesota's first win of the decade. 

The loss caps an 0-2 road trip for the Warriors, who followed up one of the most impressive games of the season against the Spurs with one of its worst in Minnesota. 

Here are the takeaways from the loss:

Defense 

Two nights after an impressive showing against the Spurs, the Warriors defense was dormant for much of the night. Through the first 24 minutes, the Timberwolves hit seven 3-pointers, taking a 17-point lead into halftime. All the while, the Timberwolves outscored the Dubs 42-38 in the paint. 

Worse yet, the league's second-worst 3-point shooting team hit 13 3-pointers. As the Wolves threw up attempts from beyond the arc, the Warriors continued to foul jump shooters. Robert Covington scored 20 points and added 10 rebounds, cementing Golden State's bad night. 

Nonetheless, the Warriors made it a game, using a 17-3 run to cut the lead to eight following a poster dunk from Omari Spellman on former Warrior Jordan Bell, but the run was too little too late. 

In previous years, the Warriors could afford to dig themselves into holes, knowing their Hall of Fame talent would erase their mistakes. With the current roster, no such lapses can be corrected. 

What rookie wall?

During the comeback, rookie Eric Paschall made his presence felt, finishing with 13 points and seven rebounds.

The performance was the rookie's best in a few weeks. Since his hot first month of the season, Paschall has struggled through hip and knee injuries, limiting his production. Over his last four appearances, he was averaging just 3.5 points on 38 percent from the field. 

Thursday's performance was a welcome sign for a player that talked himself into the Rookie of the Year conversation in November. If he can get back to that level, the Warriors can take another step forward. 

Damion Lee struggles

The two-way guard has averaged nearly 15 points over his last 10 games. That trend did not continue Thursday evening. 

In 27 minutes, he finished with 10 points, on 4-of-11 shooting from the field, and ended up a minus-19. 

With D'Angelo Russell out, an opportunity for scoring was there for the taking. Unfortunately, Lee couldn't deliver. 

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:

VIEW 11 WARRIORS' TARGETS HERE