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Preview: Will newest Warrior Andrew Wiggins be ready to play tonight vs Lakers?

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It’s a Saturday night primetime battle between first and the worst in the West!

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors are fresh off of a flurry of trade deadline roster changes and will give the world a glimpse of their roster makeover tonight against a top-tier Los Angeles Lakers squad.

Whether the newly acquired Andrew Wiggins will suit up for the Dubs remains to be seen, but either way the home team will have their hands full against a bruising L.A. team that loves treating bad teams like punching bags.


GAME DETAILS

WHO: Golden State Warriors (12-40) vs Los Angeles Lakers (38-12)

WHERE: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA

WHEN: Saturday, February 8th, 2020; 5:30 pm PST

WATCH: ABC


Roster moves have Dub Nation wigging out

Take a look at Golden State’s season leaders in minutes per game per Basketball-Reference:

That roster combined for 40 losses in 52 games.

Remember last season when Dub Nation complained the team was disinterested and appeared lackluster? That bored squad only lost a combined total of 33 games throughout the regular season and postseason.

Currently this Steph Curry/Klay Thompson-less version of Golden State is #lightyears away from recapturing the franchise’s recent stranglehold on the NBA, but a flurry of roster tweaks shows the front office is eager to redecorate around their foundation of rehabbing All-Stars.

Some Warriors fans aren’t exactly enthused by this curious time period in the franchise, but hey! Change is never easy.

Since the Warriors abruptly traded starting center Willie Cauley-Stein January 25th, the Dubs have activated some very early spring cleaning. Their sixth man Alec Burks and their starting small forward Glenn Robinson III were shipped off to Philadelphia for draft picks.

The Dubs followed that up by shipping out leading scorer D’Angelo Russell along with young rotational pieces Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans to Minnesota for former #1 pick Wiggins and more draft picks.

Let’s take another look at back at that Golden State depth chart.

Daaaaamn.

That’s six guys who worked very hard to christen the new Chase Center and endear themselves to Dub Nation. And yet, with an exorbitant luxury tax looming for a team that wasn’t playing very well (injuries acknowledged), and concerns about Russell’s redundancy with the Splash Bros, I’m not surprised the front office put the kibosh on that particular roster iteration.

Steve Kerr was quoted by ESPN saying:

“We at least got a 50-game look [at] what it might look like. Of course, that kind of went awry when Steph got injured. But you get a good enough look, a long enough look, to picture how the positional fit goes, and I think you have an idea.”

I imagine Warriors GM Bob Myers walked into Warriors practice and gave a speech something like this:

We’ll have plenty of time to discuss and assess the Golden Empire’s plans to rise and reclaim their Western Conference throne. After five straight years in that lofty perch, the retooling Warriors now live in a world where the Los Angeles Lakers have the best record in the West.

Tonight those Lakers will be in San Francisco, ornery after an unsettling loss to the Houston Rockets in L.A.

How for real are the Lakers?

The world mourns the deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the seven other lives lost in a tragic helicopter accident. In the aftermath of that tragedy, Lakers superstar LeBron James has adamantly declared that he will carry on Bryant’s legacy.

If that’s the case, we know a huge chunk of Bryant’s legacy definitely involved a maniacal thirst for victory. The pressure on the Lakers to win this season was already massive before; but now that they’re expected to“win it for Kobe”? I can’t imagine the amount of additional urgency on James’ shoulders, especially considering the Purple & Gold’s difficulties against the better squads in the league (so far). The Lakers are an underwhelming 14-10 against winning teams.

But that stat doesn’t provide too much hope for these limping Warriors, as L.A. feasts on losing teams, and there’s none worse right now than the Dubs. The Lakers have a 24-2 record against the dregs of the league and have already pounded Golden State 120-94 this season.

The Warriors are very mediocre at defending the paint which is where the Lakers love to score (ranked 2nd in points in the paint). The Lakers have a major height advantage with Anthony Davis, Javale McGee, and Dwight Howard. If the Warriors don’t play disciplined and get physical around the rim, they will absolutely be bullied and hemorrhage rebounds.

Quite the tall order indeed for the home team, but maybe they can spring a trap game on their Pacific Division rivals?