This is going to be the third edition of the Warriors week in review, and believe it or not, it’s going to be the first winless edition. Yes, that’s right — while there were only three games this past week for the Warriors, they did not get a single victory. Their average of one win per week in review has now been stained. We can officially call this season a lost cause.
All kidding aside, the Warriors — who have now been awarded the dubious distinction of being the worst team in the league — do not have the slightest chance of playing April-June basketball. That, in and of itself, is a blessing in disguise. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have all been playing 100-plus games of basketball per season for at least five years now. Curry is 31 years old; both Thompson and Green are 29 — but their ages in basketball years are much, much older than their biological ages. They could use the rest, all while the baby Dubs continue to develop.
And yes, that process of development will involve lots of growing pains, which will include lots of losing. I know Warriors fans — especially those who jumped on the fandom during the heyday of the dynasty — are trying to get used to this new reality. But they will need to store a lot of temperance and patience into their emotion banks in order to stay sane throughout this season, the operative word being “patience.” Patience for Curry and Thompson to return rested and fully recovered. Patience for Green having to deal with his first losing season in his eight-year NBA career. Patience for the rookies to eventually find their way around the tough and unforgiving environment that is the NBA. And last but certainly not the least, patience for Giannis Antetokounmpo to finally realize that he isn’t going to win a title with the Milwaukee Bucks and that his destiny lies with the Bay Area.
(Again, Bucks fans, I said that in jest ... wink)
Grade the Warriors’ week
There are only three games to look at this past week, but all three of them were marquee matchups against two top Western Conference teams and the number one Eastern Conference team. The Warriors first met up with the Utah Jazz, a polar-opposite squad in the sense that they were one of the top defensive teams in the league going up against the worst defense in all of the NBA at the time. As expected, the Jazz won by a comfortable score of 122-108. The Warriors then flew to Los Angeles to face the best team in the West this season so far. Even without the services of Anthony Davis, the Lakers proceeded to stamp their class all over the hapless Warriors with a 120-94 drubbing, in another reminder of the cruel twist of fate that has befallen the former dynasty. The Warriors returned to Chase Center last night to face the current beast of the East so far this season, the Boston Celtics. It was one barn-burner of a game, where the Warriors started strong out of the gate, gave up a huge 15-point lead, then managed to scare the Celtics up till the very end, eventually succumbing to a 105-100 defeat and managing to keep the tank commander satisfied.
The Warriors were well on their way to receiving a straight up grade of F before last night’s game against the Celtics, and if they were blown out again last night, I would’ve hit that F key as fast as people paying their respects on Twitch chat. But they gave the Celtics one heck of a fight. If not for a late-game collapse akin to the one they suffered against the Charlotte Hornets a couple of games ago, they would’ve gotten an upset of epic proportions. Instead, they get a “good job, good effort” loss and another shell to load up into their tank payload.
So for last night’s entertaining and noble effort from the baby Dubs, I’ll give the Warriors a solid D for this week.
State of the Warriors offense
To recap the Warriors offense before this past week: It was far from being a playoff-level offense, but it wasn’t the predicted disaster it was expected to be without Curry and Thompson as its focal points.
The question now is this: After facing three of the top 10 defenses in the NBA — two of which are the first and second ranked defenses overall — can the Warriors continue to punch above their weight offensively?
Unsurprisingly, not much has changed for the Warriors in terms of field-goal percentage and three-point percentage. They continue to occupy that bottom tier of shooting teams, which, considering their current personnel, comes to no one’s astonishment. On the contrary, they remain the top free-throw shooting team in the NBA, which is the only shooting metric they can be proud of.
In terms of moving and taking care of the ball, the Warriors suffered a bit of a drop in terms of assists per game, which most probably is a result of Steve Kerr allowing the offense to run through D’Angelo Russell, resulting in more high pick-and-rolls and slightly less motion-based sets. Meanwhile, the Warriors are still on the cusp of the top 10 in terms of taking care of the ball, with their 15.1 turnovers per game ranked 10th in the league. Their assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.59 is also ranked 10th. Among the multitude of problems the Warriors have had on offense this season, their ability to take care of the ball hasn’t been one of them so far.
A noticeable falloff in advanced offensive stats? NOW WE’RE TALKING.
But seriously, here is where going up against three elite defensive teams showed its effects. The Warriors’ 107.4 offensive rating the previous week, which was ranked 15th, dropped to 105.6 after going up against a defensive murderer’s row of the Jazz, Lakers, and Celtics. A slight drop in effective field goal percentage (from 49.1 percent to 48.8 percent) wasn’t enough to change their standing in that department, while their true-shooting percentage dropped from 21st to 25th in the league despite a minuscule 0.7 drop in percentage points (from 54.8 to 54.1). Again, their TS% could be much worse, but their league-leading FT% is keeping it from nosediving.
State of the Warriors defense
By now, everyone and their grandmother should know that the Warriors defense has been the worst of the worst. Last week, they were ranked 30th in defensive rating, a large fall from grace considering that in years past, they had the ability to play suffocating defense by flicking a proverbial switch.
They don’t have that switch right now. Heck, they don’t even have the light bulb. Their defense has been plain old dark, dark, dark. Darker than the darkest possible darkness that could exist in this world. It’s been that bleak, folks. There’s just no way to go about this in a more positive or sugarcoated manner.
To summarize this table: DARKNESS.
It seems like the Warriors aren’t really going to improve on that end of the floor at all. Granted, they did put up a 101.9 defensive rating against the Celtics last night, so that’s one thing they should be proud of. (And it also means that they can play defense — it’s a matter of actually doing it.)
There’s no way to go but up in terms of defense for these Warriors. But it’s a question of whether they’ll actually manage to move up or if they’ll be content with being the worst defensive team all season long.
If they want that high draft pick, they probably wouldn’t want to move up anyway. Every improvement of their ranking would just make the tank commander really angry.
Upcoming slate of games
The Warriors will have four games on the road next week, the first being a Sunday afternoon showdown against the New Orleans Pelicans. They will have a back-to-back against the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. They will finish the week with a rematch against the Utah Jazz on Friday.
They have a prime chance of going .500 during this four-game road trip, with wins against the Pelicans and Grizzlies being more likely than victories over the Mavericks and Jazz. This team has the ability to give all of us plenty of surprises. Either they could go 4-0, or they could completely head toward the opposite direction and just go 0-4, closer to the promised land that is the number one draft pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
So, Dub Nation, what do you think the Warriors’ record for these upcoming four games will be?
How will the Warriors do against the Pelicans, Grizzlies, Mavs, and Jazz?
This poll is closed