Well, here we are. We’re five days into the 2020-21 NBA season and the Golden State Warriors have been outscored by 65 points, and are in search of their first win.
And after starting the year with games against two teams that figure to compete for an NBA title, the Warriors now get to face a Chicago Bulls team that figures to compete for the top pick in the draft.
Who: Golden State Warriors (0-2) vs. Chicago Bulls (0-2)
When: 5:00 p.m. PT
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Projected starting lineups:
Warriors: Steph Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, James Wiseman
Bulls: Coby White, Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr.
Last games: Warriors lost to Bucks 138-99, Bulls lost to Pacers 125-106.
Warriors: 89.6 offense (30th), 118.5 defense (28th), -28.9 net (30th)
Bulls: 97.7 offense (28th), 116.9 defense (23rd), -19.2 net (29th)
Hopefully the Warriors’ search for a victory ends tonight, at which point we can find a new story. But until that happens, the story is that Golden State is in pursuit of win No. 1, so they can go ahead and start chasing win No. 2.
But while the Warriors have gone winless, the story really hasn’t been the “0” in the “W” column. It’s been just how bad they’ve looked along the way.
Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. can’t buy a shot. Steph Curry hasn’t seen them go in yet. Eric Paschall looks nothing like he did last year. The bench has been awful. The defense that Steve Kerr keeps saying will be great has been subpar. And no one seems interested in getting the ball in Curry’s hands.
Things need to turn around in a hurry. Thankfully, the Warriors will be trying to solve the Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen problem today, not the Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton problem, or the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving problem.
The Bulls are bad. That means it’s a golden opportunity for the Dubs to finally show up — and also a chance to be really worried if they don’t.
Players to watch
Warrior to watch: Draymond Green.
Green will likely be returning tonight, and making his season debut. It’s abundantly clear that the Warriors need him.
They need his playmaking, after players not named “Steph Curry” registered just 22 total assists in the first two games.
They need his defense, badly.
They need the depth that Green affords when he moves Eric Paschall to a bench role.
They need his leadership.
They need his willingness and desire to get Curry the basketball.
And we need to see if he’s still one of the better players in the league.
Bull to watch: Lauri Markkanen.
Markkanen didn’t take the leap last year that some had hoped for, but he is still the type of shooter that can explode on any given night and make the Warriors lose a game that they shouldn’t lose.
Matchup to watch: James Wiseman vs. Wendell Carter Jr.
In Wiseman’s NBA debut, he went up against 6’11” DeAndre Jordan. In his second game, he was matched against 7’0” defensive ace Brook Lopez, while guarding reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Now he gets something more manageable in 6’9” center Wendell Carter Jr.
Carter is a good defensive player, and he’s very strong, so that’s not to say that Wiseman should push him around. But Wiseman’s height will afford him a big physical advantage, and Carter is still young and raw enough that Wiseman should have holes to exploit.
He’s been impressive so far, and the Warriors are high on him regardless of tonight’s performance. But this is certainly a chance for the Dubs lottery pick to make his mark in a strong way, and prove that he can be a focal point for this team.
Keys to victory
- Make Steph Curry’s offense the biggest priority
- Feel the impact of Draymond Green’s return to the lineup
- Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. make some shots, preferably more than just a few
- Don’t let Zach LaVine do what Khris Middleton did
Let’s go Dubs. Get that first win. Please.