The Warriors took care of their top priority Friday in the first minute of NBA free agency, agreeing to a four-year, $100 million deal to keep Draymond Green in a Golden State jersey. Two days later, on Sunday, general manager Mike Dunleavy took care of another area of need on the Warriors’ roster.
Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul and agent Brandon Cavanaugh told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that their client, veteran point guard Cory Joseph, and the Warriors have agreed to a one-year contract. The addition of Joseph adds to a current Warriors trend and fulfills an important role.
Steph Curry, 35, and Chris Paul, 38, are the Warriors’ top two point guards and are at the top of the food chain in coach Steve Kerr’s system. They will also each need rest and to be preserved sometimes for the playoffs. Curry missed 26 games last season, first with a left shoulder subluxation and later with a left leg injury. Paul should be the last experience of Rick Celebrini and should participate in a few matches.
His games played have declined each of the past two seasons, and Paul has missed the Phoenix Suns’ last four playoff games with a sprained left groin.
The age and care needs of future Hall of Fame point guards make finding the right third point guard an important role for the Warriors. Joseph is Dunleavy’s answer.
Joseph is entering year 13 and has spent the last two seasons with the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 6.9 points per game last season after averaging 8.0 the previous season and 12.0 the previous year. Joseph also delivered 3.5 assists per game, shot 38.9 percent from behind the 3-point line, and is a career 3-point shooter at 35 percent.
He’s also shot 40.1% from deep the past two seasons in Detroit.
Donte DiVincenzo, Jordan Poole and Ty Jerome were basically the Warriors’ three ball handlers behind Curry and Green last season. All three are on the move this offseason, as DiVincenzo reportedly joins the New York Knicks, Poole’s trade for Paul could be official on July 6, and Jerome will be a Cleveland Cavalier after agreeing to a two-year contract.
Dunleavy’s deal for Paul has given Kerr a player he can trust giving the ball away and he’s not expected to lose on landslide turnovers. The Warriors led the league in turnover per game last season thanks to many players. Poole ranked fourth in the NBA in total turnovers, averaging 3.1 turnovers per game and a 14.7 turnover percentage. DiVincenzo averaged 1.6 turnovers, but his turnover percentage was a career-worst 16.4.
Like Jérôme, who played a lot more than expected on a two-way deal, Joseph is not prone to turnovers. Jerome averaged just 0.7 turnover per game, gave the Warriors a 4.5 assist to turnover ratio and had a 10.3 turnover percentage . Joseph’s turnover percentage was 12.8 last season, and he averaged just 0.9 turnovers in 19.8 minutes per game.
Paul’s 4.60 assists-to-rotation ratio last season ranked fourth in the NBA for players who had 200 or more assists. Joseph, 3.88 assist-to-spin ratio, was eighth best.
After the first three days of free agency, the Warriors’ guard rotation consists of Curry, Paul, Klay Thompson, Moses Moody, rookie Brandon Podziemski and Joseph. Gary Payton II is a hybrid in his own way, and Moody can also slide to the wing.
Joseph, 31, is another high-IQ player who gives the Warriors the kind of experience they now rely on.
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