Thank goodness it’s still only the preseason.
The Dubs struggled throughout much of the game, but the bench unit’s valiant second half comeback effort wasn’t enough to escape with a win.
Stephen Curry led the way for the Dubs, dropping 29 points while connecting on five-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc. Marquese Chriss chipped in with 17 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
Golden State’s second-unit showed some fight to make this game. The Warriors overcame a 19-point deficit to come back and take a temporary lead before Guy’s shot won it.
Here are four things that stood out from the Dubs’ second preseason contest:
Stephen Curry is back!
It’s no secret that Golden State will only go as far as Steph takes them, and that was abundantly clear in this game. Curry scored 11 points in the first 10 minutes of the game and went to the bench with Golden State holding a 27-18. That’s when Sacramento took over the contest.
The Kings went on a 16-0 run over the next 4:16 to take a seven-point lead before Brad Wanamaker — who checked in for Curry — hit a 3-pointer to end the drought. Sacramento continued to pull away with Steph on the bench and took a 15-point lead into the break.
Curry played the entirety of the third quarter and low-and-behold, the Dubs got back in it. Steph scored 13 points in the third and helped cut the deficit to 88-81 going into the final frame.
The big men were sorely missed
Without Draymond Green and James Wiseman, Golden State’s frontcourt was shorthanded. The Warriors lacked a playmaker up front, but Chriss did an excellent job getting going in the second half.
Neither Green nor Wiseman is expected to play during the preseason, so head coach Steve Kerr will have to stick with some less than desirable rotations until the games begin to count next week.
Kevon Looney had four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes of action and even attempted two 3-pointers. Head coach Steve Kerr wants his 5s to shoot more from the outside, and we saw that with Looney and Chriss combining for six attempts from beyond the arc.
Andrew Wiggins needs to show more
The 2014 No. 1 overall pick shot four-of-12 from the field and finished with 12 points and four assists in 26 minutes. But, his memorable moment came on a chase-down block against Marvin Bagley III in the third quarter. Kerr liked what he saw on the defensive end from Wiggins end but still wants to see more from the Canadian:
Kerr says Wiggins' defense "has been great." Says they want him to be an impact player on that end of the court and they're happy with what they're seeing.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) December 16, 2020
It’s only preseason, but Wiggins is shooting just 35% from the field and hasn’t been noticeable through two games. If the Warriors want to be taken seriously as a potential contender, they need Wiggins to be more assertive on both ends of the floor. He won’t live up to where he was picked, but Wiggins has the skillset to be a difference-maker every time he takes the floor. The question is whether Wiggins will be able to bring the energy every game.
Depth at guard will be an issue
Without Curry, the Warriors’ current stable of guards is one you would likely see on a last-place team. Kent Bazemore will be a solid contributor throughout the season, but there isn’t much after that. Brad Wanamaker had some moments, but Golden State was -15 with him on the court. One of Damion Lee or Jordan Poole will have to make the jump during the season to give Kerr some options behind Curry and Bazemore. Rookie Nico Mannion is still raw, while Mychal Mulder took a step back after a nice performance against Denver in the first preseason game.
Again, it’s only preseason, so there’s no reason to overreact to the loss. Still, if any of the concerns become patterns to start the regular season, general manager Bob Myers will have to make some moves to bring in proven NBA talent.
The return of Green, Wiseman and Eric Paschall will help a ton. Kerr will mix-and-match his rotations with the trio back in the lineup, which will help cover up a lack of bench depth.
What are your thoughts on the game? What is one weakness that stood out to you that you think the Warriors need to address?