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Season opener overreaction mailbag

Because why not?

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors kicked the 2021-22 NBA season off in style, besting the Los Angeles Lakers 121-114 on Tuesday night.

It seemed like a great time to overreact with a mailbag while emotions were running high.

I expect it to be fairly fluid, dependent on opponent, situation, and how the players are playing. In this game, the Dubs opted for a lineup of Steph Curry, Damion Lee, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Nemanja Bjelica, with Andre Iguodala entering with about 40 seconds left to replace Bjelica.

It’s easy to see where a lot of alterations could be made. Had the Warriors been down by a few points, rather than protecting a lead, then perhaps they substitute some defense for offense, and replace Lee with Jordan Poole. Had Bjelica not been playing out of his mind, they might have gone for Iguodala in his place. If Otto Porter Jr. plays like he did in the first few preseason games, he’ll probably be in some of those lineups. Juan Toscano-Anderson could find the floor in these minutes, too.

So sorry for the cop-out answer, but I expect fluidity. The Lakers size gave the Warriors issues, so it made sense for them to not go fully small, even before accounting for how well Bjelica played. They needed to protect a lead, so a second defensive wing helped out. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a different lineup the next time they’re in a close game.

Let’s not get greedy, Iguodala already has his. Bjelica is the clear frontrunner for Finals MVP this year.

Cousin, definitely. The remarkable thing about Poole’s evolution is that he’s transformed into something on the verge of stardom without becoming a lights-out shooter. He’s learning how to cut, drive, and manipulate defenses — you could see on multiple possessions Tuesday night how much he has learned from studying Curry — but he’s still not a lights-out shooter.

He’s a good shooter. A really good one, even. But Curry is the greatest shooter in NBA history, and Klay Thompson is one of the five greatest.

Poole, even if he transcends to All-Star status — which I think is very possible — is probably going to do so as a high-30s percentage shooter. Which is nothing to be ashamed of, but puts him in his own category as a great Warrior, rather than in the Splash Bros bin.

There’s been a lot of Kevon Looney hate lately, and I’m not sure why. First off, he’s the team’s only healthy center, which seems important. Second, he’s been a huge part of some of the best teams in franchise history. Also important. And third, he’s a really good defender, capable of switching onto perimeter players, and probably the person James Harden sees when he closes his eyes at night and slips into a nightmare.

Looney is good. He shouldn’t have to put up gaudy per game numbers to prove that.

SOON.

It’s funny you say this, because in the first game of the Opening Night doubleheader, St. Mary’s product Patty Mills stated his case for the Sixth Man of the Year award. OK, maybe that’s a little excessive given it was the first day of the season, but it’s pretty easy to see Mills or Bjelica winning the award.

Trophy or not, if Belly (Bjelly?) keeps playing like this, the Warriors will be very, very pleased.

I don’t think it says anything about his future role so much as it says that Steve Kerr will give him a chance. The Warriors had 12 players suit up on Tuesday, and all 12 played. Some played fewer minutes than they’ll likely play later (Porter’s 12 minutes was surprisingly low, and Wiggins and Green are still getting into shape after setbacks), and some played more (don’t expect 29 minutes a night from Lee going forward).

Remember last year, when Poole played a lot in the first games, while Kent Bazemore was glued to the bench, and then they reversed roles? Kerr will do that. He trusts almost everybody on this team, and every player will get a chance to prove that they should play.

He’ll be careful with Moses Moody, as he doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes made with James Wiseman last year. But we saw Moody early in the second quarter of this game, and he got six minutes of action. It won’t be the last time we see him given such a chance.

Yeah. The Warriors front office admitted as such when they didn’t sign a third center to backup Looney and the injured Wiseman. And then Kerr reiterated it during the preseason. That Bjelica played so well isn’t so much a thing that will dictate the Warriors style, but rather reward it.

Well I asked for silly, so I’m not sure what I expected.

Curry needs 39 points against the Los Angeles Clippers to be averaging 30. I might take the over on that, to be honest.

As for Wiggins? Yeah, I see it.