It was a joyous start to the month of February, as the Golden State Warriors dusted off their old swagger to punish a long lost Cavaliers rival. But the question facing the Warriors now is if they can build on what was probably their finest display of basketball so far this season (the “probably” is a required caveat, given the weaponized dismantling of the fraudulent Houston Rockets on Christmas day).
Up next, Golden State heads into our nation’s capital, where Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards await.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (11-39) at Washington Wizards (17-31)
WHERE: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
WHEN: Monday February 3rd, 2020; 4:00 pm PST
WATCH: NBC Sports Bay Area
The league’s worst offense, versus the league’s worst defense
The Warriors put up a 44 point third quarter against the Cavaliers on Saturday, on their way to 131 points. Now, to be fair, the Cleveland defense is nearly dead last in the NBA, giving up 115 points per 100 possessions. The only team with a worse defensive efficiency? Tonight’s opponent, the Washington Wizards and their 116.3 points allowed.
Unfortunately, Golden State isn’t exactly a surefire offensive explosion, even against the softest target in the league. Without the shooters this offense has become accustomed to having, coach Steve Kerr’s motion based offense has looked like they were rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic than it has looking like a perennial offensive role model of the NBA.
But as our very own Eric Apricot broke down, the Warriors have begun to move D’Angelo Russell off ball. This is an incredibly efficient outcome, and likely will play a pivotal role in solving the Warriors moribund offensive numbers that have defined the current season.
From Apricot’s article, just take a look at the catch and shoot statistic here. For comparison, his current average eFG% overall is 53.0. This is an extremely efficient shot, and one that will only become more available once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson return to action.
The impending trade deadline on Thursday could shake up the Warriors roster
The NBA trade deadline is quickly approaching, and with just a few days left for teams to complete transactions before Thursday’s cutoff, expect Golden State to very much be in the mix.
The Warriors managed to escape from Willie Cauley-Stein’s contract next season, unloading the mundane talent to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for a second round pick (which the Warriors really wanted as they did not have a second round pick in this upcoming offseason).
The common wisdom is that the Warriors are extremely unlikely to make a major move, preferring to hold on to Russell until they’ve seen him alongside the other stars - or get an offer they couldn’t refuse. Because of how many other players are on budget deals, Kevon Looney is the only other player that has a hefty enough deal to drop the team out of range of the repeater tax next season. However, given Looney’s role on the team and his off year, chances are incredibly slim that the Forward ends up playing anywhere else.
So that leaves our functional wing players on reasonable contracts: Glenn Robinson, and Alec Burks. According to Connor Letourneau the team is looking for some salary relief and another second round draft pick, but the market may not be willing to bear that price.
There’s a whole lot more to this preview, please click over to our new home at Let’s Go Warriors for the rest of the preview!