The Golden State Warriors have surprised some people with their performance this season. Despite not having Klay Thompson, who will miss another season because of a torn Achilles following his torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, Golden State finds themselves in eighth place in the Western Conference, three games clear of the Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, and the 11th place New Orleans Pelicans.
The Warriors are in a great spot. Stephen Curry has returned to MVP level performances. James Wiseman is a piece to build around for the future. They have the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round pick in 2021. It is top-three protected, but unprotected in 2022. However, they know 2021 isn’t their year.
They are a slightly above average team, as they haven’t won or lost more than two games in a row this season. Golden State could give a team some issues in the first round of the playoffs, but they aren’t a true title contender this season. But, they could look to tweak the roster this season with an eye toward the future. One player that fits that mold is Lonzo Ball.
Ball would help fill the void left on the defensive perimeter by Thompson’s injury. The Warriors play an aggressive style of defense and the former UCLA product would fit into that well.
Lonzo would also give the Warriors another playmaker, taking some of the pressure off of Curry. Draymond Green has basically taken over as the defacto initiator in the Warriors’ offense, leading the team with 8.4 assists per game. Where things get shaky is with Ball’s shooting.
Ball was an inconsistent shooter to begin his career, but he looks to have finally turned a corner the last two seasons. In 2019-20, Ball improved to 37.5 percent from the three-point line, but still struggled on free throws, making an abysmal 56.6 percent. This season, he has improved both, knocking down 39.2 percent from deep and 75.7 percent from the charity stripe.
That kind of improvement shows that Ball is a hard worker, willing to do what it takes to improve his game. That is one reason the Warriors shouldn’t be as worried about Ball being a restricted free agent at the end of this season. Bobby Marks of ESPN projects Ball to land offers between $16-18 million.
While his shooting is always a hot topic, that shouldn’t be enough of a reason for the Warriors to not look into what it would cost to acquire him. There is just too much to like about his fit alongside the Warriors’ Curry-Thompson-Green nucleus. He could thrive in the Warriors’ free-flowing style of play given his elite playmaking, defensive abilities, and improved shooting.