Decisions can be difficult to make. Yet, we have to make them. At some point, we all need to make difficult decisions. NBA teams are no exception. At times, they have to make a tough choice between two players.
Soon, the Portland Trail Blazers may be faced with a tough decision. By all accounts, they intend on playing Deandre Ayton and Robert Williams III together. So they should. The Blazers are beginning a rebuild. This team doesn’t need to focus on winning games. They need to experiment with lineups, see what works, and focus on player development.
Still, it doesn’t feel like Ayton and Williams III will work together. We’re talking about a pair of non-spacing big men. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Trail Blazers were shopping one or the other leading up to this year’s deadline. Could they send Williams III to the Golden State Warriors?
Every difficult decision facing an NBA GM isn’t between two players. Sometimes, the decision to even move one can be a challenge. That may have everything to do with basketball, nothing to do with basketball, or, somewhere in between.
After all, players and organizations develop relationships. Fans grow attached to players as well. When a player has been contributing to a team for a long time, the decision to move them isn’t easy. At the same time, it can be what’s best for the organization – whether fans see that or not.
So, moving Looney wouldn’t be easy for the Warriors. He’s a hard-nosed player who’s endeared himself to this organization and their fans. With that said, the Warriors are championship contenders. If they can make a roster upgrade, they may be forced to move anyone. Is Williams III enough of an upgrade?
For the Warriors, this depends on Williams III’s health. If you’ve been following the one they call Time Lord’s career, you know that he tends to get hurt. Here, we’re assuming that he’s given the Trail Blazers a healthy season leading up to the deadline.
In that event, the Warriors should be interested. They’ll have to move one of their veterans to make the money work to acquire Williams III. We chose Looney over Gary Payton III for a simple reason: Williams III is Looney’s replacement. It’s doubtful that the Warriors will want to play that pair of big men together.
That said, they’ll be happy to play Williams III with Draymond Green. In fact, that should be the most dynamic defensive duo in the NBA. Meanwhile, Williams III is a smart passer who should quickly adapt to the Warriors’ motion offense. If he can stay healthy, his defensive versatility will make him a huge upgrade for this team. Should the Blazers give him up?
We almost included Jonathan Kuminga. Almost. In the end, we didn’t think the Warriors would bite. Kuminga has tremendous upside. If the Warriors do shop him, they’ll likely want a better return. If Williams III didn’t have such an extensive injury history, this deal would look different.
Yet, here we are. With that said, Moody has potential in his own right. He’d be a perfectly sensible addition to this roster. If Moody hits his ceiling, he’ll be the type of do-it-all wing every contender needs. Moreover, he’s young enough to grow with this core.
Granted, so is Williams III. If he or Ayton develops a surprising shooting touch this season, the Blazers may opt to hold onto them both. Otherwise, this team has two starting-caliber bigs to move forward with. In time, they may need to decide between them – even if it’s difficult.