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Preview: Golden State starts off a tough week with a match against Utah

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Warriors face a big challenge at home against one of the Western conference’s top teams, the Jazz.

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder

The Utah Jazz are having a pretty solid start to their season — they put away the mighty Milwaukee Bucks most recently, and they’ve also knocked off the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and the surprising Phoenix Suns.

The Golden State Warriors have not had as much luck beating top teams this season. The only two wins so far in this year’s campaign came at the expense of the injury-impacted New Orleans Pelicans and the uneven Portland Trail Blazers. Though the tides may soon turn as D’Angelo Russell finds his groove and shockingly impactful rookie Eric Paschall appears poised to return from a one-game absence from a hip bruise.

No matter what, this is going to be a tough game, and a tough week.


GAME DETAILS

WHO: Golden State Warriors vs Utah Jazz (6-3)

WHEN: Monday, November 10, 2019; 7:30 pm PST

WHERE: Chase Center — San Francisco, CA

WATCH: NBC Sports - Bay Area

Blog Buddy: SLC Dunk


Can the Warriors get a win?

As easy as it is to explain it, watching the Golden State Warriors tumble off the NBA pantheon in a single offseason hurts. Though the results have been pretty bad, the real measure of this season isn’t directly attached to wins, but rather player development and the coalescing of the team.

Rookie Eric Paschall, the team’s second-leading active scorer behind Russell, should be back in action. No official diagnosis is available at time of writing, but from the game day information that surrounded the previous missed game, it seems like a pretty safe bet that we’ll see him tonight.

The problems are well-known: Golden State’s defense ranks dead last in the entire NBA, a problem that has only been compounded by multiple instances of late game anti-heroics.

But let’s take a moment to talk about what is working, because this team is developing some interesting features. From Basketball Reference, just take a moment to check out the team rankings here:

Though the Warriors play at a middling pace (ranked 16th out of the 30 NBA teams), they are still leading the league in free throw attempts and percentage; and they’re top three in every aspect of rebounding.

Of course, it doesn’t solve any of the problems, since the team is still managing to lose as much as any other team in the league. But we are beginning to see the emergence of a few critical aspects of team success that we would love to see carry over to subsequent seasons.

Now sure, another win would be nice right about now, but let’s try and remember that this team is running without almost all of it’s critical components. Just merely looking competitive is meaningful at this point.

Checking in on the Jazz

Like most of the NBA, the Utah Jazz underwent some structural changes this past offseason. They’ve ditched previous starter Ricky Rubio and now have ex-Grizzly Mike Conley starting at point guard. Alongside him, Donovan Mitchell is having a standout season. It’s still early, but he’s putting up career highs in points, rebounds, and shooting efficiency, all while also making big leaps of improvement on the defensive side of the court.

They still have Rudy Gobert too. Though his game isn’t exactly dynamic, he is one of the best rim protectors in the league, and knows how to play within his skillset on offense (that’s my nice way of saying he dunks it a lot but doesn’t have a jumper to speak of).

Prediction

Watch for swingman Alec Burks to show up big against his former team. After spending the bulk of his career in Utah, he was traded for semi-useful veteran Kyle Korver last season. I don’t know that he’ll win the head to head matchup against Mitchell, but it should be fun to watch.