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Player grades: Warriors vs. Pelicans

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance in the blowout win over New Orleans.

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors took it to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, winning 126-85 for one of the team’s most lopsided wins in a long time. It was a lot of fun, and it’s safe to say that the Dubs wouldn’t have won by 41 points if they didn’t have a lot of great individual performances.

So let’s take a closer look at them, and grade them, weighting for expectations.

Draymond Green

25 minutes, 8 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 4 fouls, 3-for-5 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +10

Green seemed content not being a star in this game, and I mean that as a compliment. The offense was flowing, with the ball flying around the court, and highlight passes left and right. There were no shortage of points, and the defense was brilliant.

So Dray just did his veteran thing. He directed traffic, was the coach on the court, and let his teammates pile up the glamorous stats. But he did do this, which was fun:

Grade: B+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds

Andrew Wiggins

26 minutes, 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 6-for-13 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, +8

While the Warriors offense eventually hit its stride, it struggled early on, and Wiggins helped pull the team out of it. He had the first six points of the game for the Dubs, and at the time it felt quite important.

His night quieted down after that and, despite the Dubs having an exceptional offensive game, he scored with pretty low efficiency (54.2% true shooting vs. 67.6% for the rest of the team).

Grade: B-

Kevon Looney

11 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assists, 3 fouls, 0-for-1 shooting, +4

I’ve been one of Looney’s strongest advocates over the years, but with every passing game it’s starting to feel like the Warriors don’t actually benefit from his presence. This isn’t an indictment of his game, as he’s still a strong defender who can be switched onto the perimeter.

It’s more that the Warriors have realized that their best lineups have Green, Nemanja Bjelica, or Juan Toscano-Anderson at the 5.

There will be some games where Looney feels very important, but right now they’re few and far between.

Grade: C-

Post-game bonus: Lowest +/- on the team

Steph Curry

30 minutes, 19 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 5-for-15 shooting, 5-for-13 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, +17

Here’s a wild stat: this was just the 12th time in Curry’s career that he’d failed to make a two-pointer. And it was just the sixth time that he’d done so while playing a full game’s worth of minutes.

Here’s another, happier stat: the Warriors won by 41 despite Curry having another off night shooting the ball. The Splash Bros combined to shoot 5-for-15 and the Dubs offense was magnificent.

Curry still impacted the game in other ways. He had some brilliant dimes, and had two emphatic blocks in a span of a few minutes in the third quarter.

Grade: C+

Jordan Poole

28 minutes, 26 points, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 10-for-15 shooting, 6-for-9 threes, +31

It was another dynamic game for Poole, who has put the doubts to rest with back-to-back star performances. JP was far and away Golden State’s best and most reliable offensive option this game, showing off with the starters and with the second unit.

It’s really, really hard to beat the Warriors when Poole plays like this.

Grade: A+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in points

Nemanja Bjelica

18 minutes, 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 5-for-7 shooting, 3-for-5 threes, +33

The total package from Beli. He kept the ball moving like a hot potato, only stopping when he found a great opportunity to shoot. He rebounded, set screens, passed the ball, and even got in on the defensive fun.

It’s just silly how well he fits with the team and what they’re trying to do.

Grade: A-

Post-game bonus: Highest +/- on the team

Jonathan Kuminga

7 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 1-for-1 shooting, +7

It’s probably not easy to be a No. 7 draft pick who gets stashed on the back of the bench for a championship contender. All six of the players drafted ahead of him are starting and playing big minutes, and Kuminga is left to jump in during garbage time.

But give credit where credit is due: he was ready, and played really well. He didn’t get greedy and start chucking shots, but just stayed within the offense, hustled, and showed off some nice skills.

Grade: B

Andre Iguodala

17 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover, 1-for-4 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, +26

Some players just know how to be the engine for their team. Iguodala was exceptional when he played for the Philadelphia 76ers, very good when with the Denver Nuggets, and struggled while with the Miami Heat.

But with the Warriors? It’s not about performance. It’s about being an engine, as shown by 10 assists in 17 minutes, and outscoring the Pels by 26 in those minutes.

He just works on this team. Like, what even is this?

Grade: A-

Otto Porter Jr.

17 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3-for-7 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, +13

It wasn’t Porter’s most dynamic night, but he peppered stats all over the box score without having a turnover or a foul, and his length was on full display on the defensive end of the court.

Grade: B+

Juan Toscano-Anderson

15 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, +13

That’s quite a JTA stat line right there, isn’t it? He’s becoming reliable for a few boards, a few assists, and some stellar defense.

Grade: B

Damion Lee

21 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 2-for-6 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, +11

Lee has been a star for the Warriors this year, but this was perhaps his most pedestrian performance. Still, let’s be clear on something: there’s nothing at all wrong with that! The Warriors don’t need Lee to be a star off the bench — they just need him to be a quality role player. And that’s exactly what he is, and what he was on Friday.

Grade: B-

Moses Moody

8 minutes, 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 turnover, 2-for-2 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, +9

Moody was drafted with the final pick of the lottery, so it’s probably not quite as weird for him to watch most games from the bench as it is for Kuminga. But it’s still not an easy place for a rookie to be, and he did a tremendous job being ready — especially with his shot — when his number was finally called in the fourth quarter.

Grade: B+

Gary Payton II

18 minutes, 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 7-for-10 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +23

After Payton’s spectacular showing on Wednesday, Steve Kerr said that he would have to make the journeyman point guard part of the rotation going forward. That happened on Friday, and GP2 rewarded his coach by proving that his early season performance is not a mirage.

If possible, Payton might be even better than we thought on defense, but the story is his offense. He’s catching lobs, attacking the rim with ferocity, cutting, getting out in transition, and knocking down threes. And he’s a huge part of the team right now.

Grade: A+

Wednesday’s inactives: Chris Chiozza, Jeff Dowtin, Klay Thompson, James Wiseman

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