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.
Despite owning the NBA's worst record, the Warriors may actually have a pretty compelling case to keep a majority of their current roster for next season.
The team has struggled considerably through the injury-plagued season, but some rookies and journeymen have turned into what could be valuable pieces moving forward. Many of the current players have won the hearts of Dub Nation, and a lot of Warriors faithful would be sad to see them go. But the reality is that if the Warriors plan to contend next season, changes and additions will need to be made.
Barring any significant trades, here are the 12 players many fans would like to see on the roster next season:
-- Steph Curry
-- Klay Thompson
-- Draymond Green
-- Andrew Wiggins
-- Kevon Looney
-- Eric Paschall
-- Marquese Chriss
-- Damion Lee
-- Jordan Poole
-- Alen Smailagic
-- Ky Bowman
-- Juan Toscano-Anderson
With 15 roster spots to use, along with two two-way contracts, the Warriors' front office will have limited ability to exercise all their options to improve the team.
Here are the ways the Warriors can better their squad:
-- High first-round pick
-- Two second-round picks
-- Trade exception from Andre Iguodala dead (approximately $17 million)
-- Taxpayer mid-level exception
If the Warriors were to acquire players by these means, that would add an extra five players to the roster, not including possible role players the Dubs could add on veteran minimum deals, like they did this past offseason with Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks.
So where can changes be made from the original 12?
Toscano-Anderson has shown flashes of being a useful bench piece, but it is likely he could end up as a two-way player next season for the team, rather than owning a guaranteed roster spot. Bowman has proven his value throughout the season, bringing great hustle and energy off the bench. But he is on a non-guaranteed contract next season, and could possibly be a roster crunch victim due to the emergence of Poole as a point guard and given the possibility the Dubs could bring in more guards from the outside. If the Warriors attempt to return him to a two-way deal, they could very well lose him to another team in the process.
Chriss is on a non-guaranteed deal, and Lee's deal is partially guaranteed, but both figure to be valuable players on the roster, especially with how inexpensive they are. The Warriors seem intent on keeping the 19-year-old Smailagic around in order to hopefully see him realize his full potential. Despite Looney's inability to stay healthy, the team still believes he has his immense value when he is able to play, and will probably try their best to rehabilitate his young career rather than jettison him.
It is highly unlikely that the Warriors keep both second-round picks in the upcoming draft. They could trade the picks in a package deal to either move up in the draft, get a future better draft pick or even acquire a player.
In order to use the trade exception that the Iguodala deal created, depending on the demand for the acquired player, the Warriors may have to send picks or players away in the deal. Though, in rare cases like the Iguodala trade, the Warriors actually had to give a valuable pick to the Grizzlies in order to shed Iguodala's money.
There are many other scenarios in with the team can do some maneuvering to keep most of the current roster.
Or they can just acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo and all of this is a moot point.