Of course it’s hard to stay at the top of any professional sport. That’s why dominant teams going on historic runs is so noteworthy - like the Golden State Warriors over the past five years or so.
Unfortunately, the Warriors now find themselves on the flip side of this reality, sliding down the gullet of the NBA’s basement and getting kicked on the way down.
No Steph Curry (out till at least January or February), no Klay Thompson (back in March, at the earliest), no Kevon Looney (dealing with some sort of vague nerve issue in his hip/legs), and now, no Draymond Green for a while as well.
Officially the Warriors say it's a sprained left index finger for Draymond. It remains unclear if he will need an MRI on Saturday or not.— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) November 2, 2019
WHO: Golden State Warriors vs. Charlotte Hornets
WHEN: Saturday, November 2, 2019; 5:30pm
WHERE: Chase Center — San Francisco, CA
Blog Buddy: At the Hive
What do the Golden State Warriors actually have right now?
Sitting at 1-4, with one of the worst net ratings in the NBA, there is a lot more wrong with the Warriors right now than is right. But let’s not talk about the pathetic defense (dead last in the league, giving up an average of over 120 points per 100 possessions), and instead focus on the silver linings.
First, the draft pick.
It didn’t take Warriors fans long to start thinking about next year - and with good reason. Even with our full roster, this squad was a marginal playoff team, at best. Now playing without Curry for the next three or four months, and with Looney and Green both banged up and out of action for an indeterminate amount of time we are all faced with the very real prospect of Golden State being one of the worst teams in the NBA this season.
It’s going to suck to watch, mostly. But let’s all try to remember that every loss bring us one step closer to a really nice young player in next years draft - or at least a valuable pick to include in any trades.
Second, the offense.
While it’s taken a big step back from it’s history-setting previous acumen, this current Warriors’ offense is slightly above average. Yes, I’m digging deep for nice things to say; work with me here, ok?
As per NBA.com, the Warriors have the 10th most efficient offense so far this season. And though we can expect some drop off with the prolonged absence of Stephen Curry, it also means a more simplified system and more touches for D’Angelo Russell to pour in points.
Russell is currently averaging around 19 points on 16.6 shot attempts per game, as per Basketball Reference. With the return of viable rim running roll threat Willie Cauley-Stein, Russell has a pick and roll partner that should see plenty of opportunities under this new regime of mediocracy. No matter if you are one of those who think the team should trade Russell, or keep him to develop as another much-needed shooting threat to play alongside Curry and Thompson, this is a great chance for Russell to settle into his new home.
Though it’s been criticized on the internet, coach Kerr’s movement-based offense is still managing to return successful results, even with a roster that is, shall we say, less than perfect. Some of the system is going to change without Curry, and Russell appears to be the most direct beneficiary. If you are lucky enough to have this dude on your fantasy team, congratulations!
Warriors possessions that ended with D'Angelo Russell as the pick-and-roll ball-handler:— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) November 2, 2019
-First four games = 26 total
-Fifth game (no Curry) = 19 total
I know it’s controversial, but forget spamming Curry on the pick and roll, for now just notice that under this new regime it is likely that Russell carry as much offensive weight as he can handle. And it’s not going to be that fancy “move around a bunch and get the entire team involved” - mostly because we just don’t have the personnel for that.
With the defense as bad as it is (and remember, “literally the worst” is the accurate answer to that question) - there is going to be tremendous pressure on this team to continue scoring as efficiently as possible. This isn’t a team being groomed for a playoff run anymore, not this year anyways.
How are the Hornets?
Oh no, don’t get me wrong, the Charlotte Hornets are still really bad. As per NBA.com, they have the 18th ranked offense, and the 27th ranked defense.
The fact that Charlotte is coming into San Francisco tonight as a three point favorite says more about the submarine-crushing depths the Warriors have sunk to than anything else. Led by the likes of Terry Rozier and Cody Zeller, the Hornets are unlikely to engender much fear in any opponent.
Unfortunately, for the Golden State Warriors, neither are we. Based off a quick look at the statistics, there isn’t any one aspect of basketball that the Hornets are especially adept at.
But this is the new era of Warriors basketball. The team has fallen from the upper echelons, zipped past the middle ground, and plunked itself firmly amongst the cellar-dwellers of the league. The odds are right, at this point in time, the Hornets should beat the Warriors.
Maybe I’m delusional, or just overly hopeful, but I think the Warriors can get their first Chase Center win tonight. It’s not going to be pretty, but let’s at least try to have fun. This game will feature the 27th ranked, and 29th ranked team, by net ratings, so find joy wherever you can tonight.
Also, if you are a fan looking for a cheap game to attend, tonight may be your night. Look at these resale prices from the previous home game: