What Barnes thinks Warriors must do to get back to playoffs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
While the rest of the NBA duked it out this season, the Warriors lie dormant, recuperating and recalibrating after five straight trips to the NBA Finals.
It will almost certainly be an abbreviated stay at the bottom of the league. A fully healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson should propel the Warriors back to NBA relevancy. But the reimagined Warriors are far from a finished product, and former Warrior Matt Barnes believes Golden State has some things to iron out before drawing their path back to the playoffs.
"The one thing I will say is that the Warriors are going to have to rebuild that bench," Barnes said on ESPN's "The Jump." "The bench was always very key for them with Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West, Patrick McCaw. They always had a lot of guys that added so much to that team from the bench, so that's one thing I will say is that they definitely have to strengthen that bench up."
The Warriors undoubtedly have the best top four in the NBA with Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, but they will need to rediscover the strength in numbers that made them so successful over the last half-decade.
Bench question marks aside, Barnes still believes the Warriors will be one of the best teams in the Western Conference next season.
"I think the Warriors will be in the top three in the West," Barnes said. "They are coming back with a well-rested Steph and Klay and Draymond is well-rested as well. Whether they decided to move the No. 2 pick and package it with a young talent and Andrew Wiggins to possibly steal or superstar from somewhere but they are very high on Andrew Wiggins. I feel like the Warriors are going to be right back where they left off now that they have everyone healthy."
The Warriors have a treasure chest of assets with which to improve their roster this offseason, including the No. 2 overall pick and a $17.2 million trade exception.
Bench depth will be important for success in the rough and tumble Western Conference, but the health of Curry, Thompson, Green and Wiggins remains the most important factor for the Warriors' rise back to the top.
The Los Angeles Lakers conquered the bubble to claim the franchise's 17th title and currently sit atop the NBA. The Warriors will be coming for them, as will the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, among others.
As long as Curry and Thompson are lacing them up, the Warriors will be a force to be reckoned with.