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Fantasy Impact: How the Warriors Adjust Without Klay Thompson

The entire NBA and its fanbase got a punch in the gut a few weeks ago when Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson suffered a torn Achilles in preseason workouts. Klay missed the entire 2019-2020 season after that awful injury in the NBA finals and was set to play a huge role once again on a Kevin Durant-less Warriors team this year.

Luckily, the Warriors will return their other superstar, Steph Curry, this season and were able to make a few big moves in the offseason when they drafted center James Wiseman second overall and acquired Kelly Oubre Jr. in a trade with Oklahoma City. Those two will obviously have a major impact for Golden State this season as well as Andrew Wiggins, who came over from Minnesota via trade last year mid-season.

So how will the Warriors adjust to life without Klay (again) this year? Are they a playoff team in a loaded Western conference? And what should we expect from their key players this year as far as their fantasy potential? I attempt to answer this last question here today in my analysis of the situation!

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including NBA Writer of the Year, Best NFL Series, MLB Series, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

The Returning Warriors

Stephen Curry

We only got 3.5 games worth of "Steph without Klay and KD" last year before his season was cut short. He's easily a top-5 pick in fantasy this year for me with his ability to score and pass and is quite possibly the best three-point shooter the NBA has ever seen (sorry, Ray Allen!)

While Wiggins and Oubre can help shoulder the scoring load a bit, neither of them is the shooter that Klay Thompson is. Curry is going to have to put this team on his back and his coach already admitted he may have to play him more than 33-34 minutes a game if they want to remain competitive. No Klay simply means we could see a career-best year from Curry, which is scary since we've already seen such incredible stats from him in his career.

Draymond Green

I think Draymond is one of the least-effected players by the Klay injury. He's going to continue to do what he does best - set illegal screens and foul the s**t out of everyone. I kid, I kid! While his dirty tactics bother me as a fan, his fantasy game is still appealing as he can contribute across the board in rebounds, assists, threes, steals, and blocks. He's a guy I'd want on my team if I were an NBA player and is the perfect fit for what GSW wants to do on offense. I look for him to return to his 2018 level of production, or even exceed it since KD did steal some boards during his time in the bay area.

Andrew Wiggins

Wiggins should be the biggest winner here as he steps right into Klay's spot as the starting two-guard. So why am I so hesitant to endorse him as a great pick this season? Honestly, it all depends on what type of player you are looking for, what type of team you are building, and in what round you're looking to draft him. My biggest beef with Wiggins has always been his lack of peripheral stats.

Yes, he can score, but he doesn't rebound, pass, or get defensive stats all that well. His averages of 21.8-5.1-3.7 with .8 steals and 1.0 blocks last year might look great but were only good for 8th round value in 10-team 9-cat leagues. His FG% and FT% were mediocre at best and he turned the ball over 2.4 times per game. I think his efficiency can improve this year playing next to Steph, but his assists and rebounds could suffer as Steph and Draymond are going to be the main facilitators and fellow wingman Kelly Oubre is a better rebounder. Don't reach for him, but if you want a steady source of points, threes, and not much else he's just fine.

Rest of the Rotation

Damion Lee and Jordan Poole should be the first guards off the bench and while both of them were able to put up serviceable stats last year when the entire roster was depleted, I don't see either of them holding much value outside of the deepest of leagues. Brad Wanamaker will likely battle for some backup point guard minutes, too, and Steve Kerr has been known to play a bunch of guys in his rotations, especially early in the season.

Marquese Chriss and Kevon Looney return but will both be coming off the bench behind Draymond and Wiseman. Chriss has some fantasy potential, but just isn't going to get enough minutes to make him a viable fantasy commodity, either. Unless there are some other injuries to the GSW starters, I don't really see any of these bench players being guys you want to have on your fantasy team.

 

The New Guys

Kelly Oubre

I really, really, really like Kelly Oubre this year! I wrote about him in my 9-Cat Specialist article for our premium draft kit as one of my favorite mid-tier targets this season. He had a great year for Phoenix last season and is a talent on the rise in the NBA. This trade was exactly what GSW needed and I think Oubre is the perfect type of player to fit in on the wing in this Warriors' offense.

He returned fifth-round value last year on averages of 18.7 PTS, 6.4 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.3 STL, and .7 BLK. I think he thrives in the up-tempo offense that GSW runs and will greatly benefit from playing alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green. I wouldn't hesitate to snag him in the fifth round and our RotoBaller staff rankings have him sitting at 59 (and I am even a little more bullish on him than most).

James Wiseman

We have very little to go off with Wiseman, but we know the Warriors needed a big man in the worst way and that he's stepping into a starting role with a very talented group around him. I don't expect him to score a ton right off the bat, but I do think he's going to get plenty of easy buckets on pick and roll with Curry or Draymond as well as a lot of boards and putbacks as GSW likes to push the tempo and therefore create more possessions on offense.

Wiseman's production isn't really tied to Klay's absence at all, and will mainly be affected by how many minutes Coach Kerr gives him. Both Chriss and Looney are very capable bigs and it's possible that Wiseman is limited to 25-28 minutes early on. He'll be the fourth or fifth option on offense, too, so he's not someone I am reaching for in drafts at all. But it's hard not to really like him in the late rounds and in dynasty drafts and he could have a huge finish to the year if GSW falls out of contention and gives the young guys all the minutes they can handle down the stretch.

 

Conclusion

Overall, I think Steph is going to smash this season and is well worth a top-5 pick. Draymond should be snagged as early as the fourth or fifth rounds depending on the size of your league, too. I put Oubre ahead of Wiggins as far as the wings I want in the mid-rounds and both should have nice seasons as they are the main guys who pick up the slack (other than Steph) left behind by Klay's injury. Wiseman could be a star, but he's not likely to dominate right out of the gate so practice some patience. The bench guys can be largely be ignored barring some injuries.

 

Good luck in your drafts, RotoBallers, and never hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter @ThunderDanDFS or in the RotoBaller Premium slack chat!

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