Oh, how the mighty Golden State Warriors have fallen. With just a whisper of the old roster left, the season has felt like a bizarro time machine that teleported Warriors fans back a decade to when the team was bereft of hope and fans were just there to root for whatever small victories were available.
The team has been just about as bad as any Warriors roster that I can imagine, and that’s really saying something given what the past three decades have wrought. But there’s hope in the impermanence of this season as the Splash Brothers will come back to join Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell next season to put the house back in order.
Until then though, these Warriors are going to need to dig deep if they want to find wins. Even against a team as perennially bad as the Charlotte Hornets, and even if Russell returns to action, Golden State will need almost everything to go right for them on the court.
WHO: Golden State Warriors at Charlotte Hornets
WHEN: Wednesday November 4, 2019; 4pm PST
WATCH: NBC Sports Bay Area
The Warriors don’t have the very worst defense in the league any more!!
I got called out in the comments recently for continually beating the “they’re literally the worst” drum, but now the Warriors have finally clawed their way out from the bottom.
Well, they’re still on the bottom, but at least it’s not the very bottom of barrel any longer.
The Efficiency Landscape. What jumps out? pic.twitter.com/wFdU914ewy— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) December 2, 2019
Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how bad it is to be located in the lower left quadrant of the graphic (bad offense, bad defense), but the important takeaway here is that the Warriors aren’t the very worst team on defense anymore.
They’ve got some unanswered questions on offense, but any concerns should be assuaged by the potential return of Russell.
Russell has played in just 10 of the Warriors’ 22 games this season. He missed three contests earlier in the year due to a sprained ankle, and has missed nine straight games after spraining his thumb.
The 23-year old All-Star last played on November 15, when the Warriors suffered a narrow loss to the Boston Celtics. In his absences this year, the Warriors have gone 3-9.
On the year, Russell - who is in his fifth NBA season, and his first year with the Warriors - is averaging a career-best 24.3 points per game, to go along with 3.6 rebounds and 6.7 assists.
Any additional offensive punch is going to be welcome, and combined with the return of Kevon Looney the team could get a much-needed emotional and mental punch in the arm.
I think Russell comes back, but both he and Looney will be working out the rust. Warriors lose a close one as the tank rolls on.