Written by Carson Cook (Twitter/Instagram)
Graphic By Clutch Points (Site)
Starting the season everyone wrote off the Golden State Warriors, then Steph Curry dropped 60 against the Blazers Since then the national media hasn’t questioned the Warriors. Now in their last five games the Warriors have two wins and three losses to the Pacers, Nuggets, and Clippers. These are teams the Warriors will have to beat if they want to sneak into the playoffs this season.
What is Wrong?
An important part of the Warriors run from 2015-2019 was Draymond Green’s ability to knock down the three ball at a decent percentage. This season that is far from the case, Green is shooting a poor 19% from three and 34% from the field. If any other starter in the league had these stats, he would be on the bench. Green is shooting the worst percentages of his career, other than his rookie year. Green was a pivotal player in the Warriors’ championships but to take the Warriors to the next level he needs to connect more on his field goal attempts.
Kelly Oubre, the big signing for the Warriors this season, has been awful so far, shooting an astonishing 22% from three, compared to 35% last season. His highest scoring game came against the Los Angeles Lakers where he scored 23points. Last season he averaged 18 ppg. This dropoff has been a huge issue for the Warriors because teams have not needed to guard him outside of 14 feet. With Green and Oubre both shooting under 22% from three the opposing team’s defense can lock in on guarding Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins. The spacing on the floor is not there and besides his rebounding Oubre is not doing anything else on the court. He is an average defender that for some reason can not hit a three this season which is hurting the rest of the offense’s scoring ability.
On a More Positive Note
Andrew Wiggins has been one of the biggest surprises in the entire NBA. Drafted in 2014 with the number one pick Wiggins was always a disappointment because he didn't play defense and never showed interest or any aggression on the court. This season he has changed this narrative, coach Steve Kerr said, "We made it a priority in the offseason. We talked to him about potentially being an All-Defensive team player ... he's responded really well to that request." Wiggins’s defense has improved dramatically. He currently has the best defensive +/- of his career and is averaging the most blocks per game of his career. He is playing a role for the Warriors and besides Curry, Wiggins has been the most important player for the Warriors so far.
The Golden State Warriors won three rings in five years and dominated, in 2019 with the injury to Klay Thompson in the finals they had little hope but still had the MVP Curry. Then in the beginning of the season Curry broke his hand and missed most of the season. To reward their losses their 15 win season they won the second pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Wiseman has been everything the Warriors haven't had in their championship runs. He is an elite shot blocker, elite rim runner, and a solid three-point shooter. Wiseman is averaging 12.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and 1.3 bpg, Wiseman leads all rookies in rpg, bpg, and is top five in ppg. The Warriors drafted the best fit to the team they could have, so far Wismean has not disappointed. Wiseman will be in ROTY conversations with Lamelo Ball and others if he can keep the production up for the rest of the season.
Kelly Oubre Jr. - Oubre has not played particularly well this season. He is on a one year deal so if the Warriors can't find a trade for him it's not a big deal. If the Warriors can find a stretch big man they would need to pull the trigger even if it's to give up future draft capital to win in the postseason this year or next year.
In order for the Warriors to make a deep run in the playoffs they need production from Oubre Jr. and Green. Oubre Jr. and Green are key pieces to the Warriors offense and if they don’t knock down shots the defense collapses onto Curry and Wiggins. Wiggins, Wiseman, and Curry have been amazing in their roles but it takes five starters in order to play playoff basketball. The bench is solid with Eric Paschall, Kent Bazemore, and Damion Lee bringing solid scoring but if there is a player available in the buyout market to shore up the bench the Warriors will make moves. Look for the Warriors to find a scoring guard like Isaiah Thomas or possibly Jamal Crawford to add some scoring when Curry is not on the court throughout the season.