For a team that has done as much losing as the Golden State Warriors have done this season, it feels presumptuous to label anything as a low point. And yet, the 33-point drubbing they took at the hands of the Utah Jazz on Wednesday feels about as low as anything this team has endured to date.
Tonight, they host the shockingly good Indiana Pacers in what will be the Warriors 13th consecutive contest played with just one day of rest in between games. So strap in, Dub Nation, it could indeed get worse before it gets better.
WHO: Golden State Warriors () vs Indiana Pacers (29-16)
WHEN: Friday January 24, 2020; 7:30 pm PST
WHERE: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
WATCH: NBC Sports Bay Area
Blog Buddy: Indy Cornrows
Warriors big man rotation
The Warriors prefer to start Willie Cauley-Stein for his size, need Omari Spellman’s shooting (more on that in a moment), and like the off-the-bench impact offered by leaper Marquese Chriss.
It just doesn’t leave a spot open for Smailagić in the rotation, especially when you consider how impactful Draymond Green tends to be at the Center position.
It’s Spellman that has really the been the X Factor. He ranks 6th on the team in 3 point shot attempts per 36 minutes, and his conversion rate of 40.4% from that range leads the team (once we remove Kevon Looney’s quirky 50% shooting on the two threes he took this year).
Spellman’s offense is extremely quirky, as per Cleaning the Glass, his effective Field Goal Percentage (52.8%) is bad enough to land him in just the 37th percentile for his position, but his three point percentage is in the 96th percentile!
This is exactly the sort of stretch big that that Warriors will want to be ready deploy next season alongside the returning Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Getting to know the Indiana Pacers
Indiana has long been the forgotten middle child of the NBA Eastern Conference. Sometimes sniffing around a top seeding, sometimes just missing the playoffs, they’ve been defined by being overlooked.
This season, they again find themselves exceeding expectations, but unless you’ve been watching the Eastern Conference fairly closely, you probably haven’t heard much about them. Again, this isn’t a world-beater squad destined for a likely Championship of anything, but the team is solid. They’ve got the 10th best offense, and a fairly solid 15th ranked defense, as per NBA.com advanced stats.
They don’t turn the ball over much, and play excellent shot defense - where they hold opponents to an eFG of .506; good enough for 7th in the entire league.