Warriors will face number of roster decisions in important offseason

Warriors will face number of roster decisions in important offseason

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. 

[RELATED: NBA mock draft: Warriors predicted lottery selection]

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.

How Steph Curry played in back-to-back vs. Rockets, Spurs in NBA 2K sim

How Steph Curry played in back-to-back vs. Rockets, Spurs in NBA 2K sim

Editor’s note: With the NBA season halted over coronavirus concerns, Warriors fans have unanswered questions about the team and how it’s building toward the future. To provide answers, NBC Sports Bay Area will simulate some previously scheduled Warriors games through NBA 2K, mixing video-game results with real-life insights for our coverage team.

A number of tests needed to be passed for Steph Curry to be fully integrated back into the Warriors' lineup. Among them was how Curry would play on the road during a back-to-back.

In the virtual world of NBA 2K20, he flourished under the circumstance, leading the Warriors in blowout victories over the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.

Over the two-game stretch, Curry accumulated 71 points while shooting 60 percent from the field. During the first game of the Texas Two-Step, Curry exploded for 45 points against the Rockets, including 18 in the third quarter, helping the Warriors beat Houston 110-93. A night later, he added 26 points, as the Warriors handily beat the Spurs 108-100.

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays podcast:

Curry's digital outburst came during a unique time for the guard. After missing three months with a broken hand, the former MVP played his first game back from injury March 5. As Curry approached his return, Warriors coach Steve Kerr expressed caution when asked how he'd bring his star guard back into the fold, making the virtual back-to-back uncertain. However, Curry pushed back on the notion of sitting out games down the stretch.

In any case, Curry's digital availability worked out for his newest teammate Andrew Wiggins. Alongside Curry, Wiggins scored 36 points against the Spurs, including 18 points in the first quarter. Nearly two months ago, Wiggins was acquired in large part due to his perceived fit alongside Curry. In their lone real-world experience playing together, the duo combined for 62 points. If virtual play is any indication, Curry and Wiggins are adjusting well to each other's games.

[RELATED: Remembering Warriors' five most memorable playoff moments]

While the two-game stretch was promising, it might not be realistic. Entering league suspension, the Warriors were the worst team in the league, even with Curry on the active roster. While Curry's 2K play was encouraging, he'd still be playing without Klay Thompson, who was going to miss the rest of the season rehabbing a surgically repaired left knee. Additionally, Wiggins' propensity of inconsistent play could hinder a team trying to find rhythm heading into next season.

But as we've found out over the years, Curry makes any team he's on better, whether in actual or virtual reality.

Watch Warriors' Steph Curry surprise random person on Instagram Live

Watch Warriors' Steph Curry surprise random person on Instagram Live

Steph Curry is using his time while the NBA season is indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to make this unprecedented situation a little bit easier on everyone.

Earlier this week, he held a live Q&A with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to help spread the word to thousands of people as to how to help flatten the curve of the pandemic.

Curry has also provided some laughs through his comedic commentary on other player's workouts, as well as through his own child's personal evaluation of him as a substitute teacher.

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays Podcast:

On Saturday, Curry added to the smiles when he surprisingly joined someone's Instagram Live.

As you can see -- and hear -- it was quite the pleasant surprise.

[RELATED: Riley called Steph 'three-star' teacher in home schooling]

Curry told the hosts that he had been watching them all day. With so much additional time on his hands, he has to fill it somehow, but it's great to see that he continues to use it to brighten others' days.