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Player grades: Warriors vs. Pelicans

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance in the 101-96 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

For the first time all year, the Golden State Warriors have lost consecutive games, after dropping a 101-96 game to the New Orleans Pelicans just one day after a rather pathetic showing against the Dallas Mavericks.

As my colleague Joe Viray pointed out to me in Slack after the final buzzer rang, a 2-2 outcome in this stretch of four games (which included wins over the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat), was not unexpected ... the two losses coming to these teams, however, was.

The Dubs were without Steph Curry and Draymond Green, which might be a consolation logically, but perhaps not emotionally. Losing is still no fun, and it hurt Golden State in the standings.

So it goes. Let’s grade the players, weighting for our expectations of them.

Otto Porter Jr.

24 minutes, 5 points, 7 rebounds, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 2-for-6 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, -11

Porter has been a pretty inconsistent scorer this season. That’s worked fine when he’s coming off the bench, as the Dubs have a handful of quality bench players who can step up on any given night. Sometimes they need Porter’s offensive spark; sometimes they just need him to defend and rebound and make the extra pass, which he seemingly always does.

When he’s pressed into a starting role, the Warriors need a bit more of that offense. It wasn’t there on Thursday.

Grade: B-

Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.

Andrew Wiggins

32 minutes, 21 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 7-for-17 shooting, 1-for-6 threes, 6-for-7 free throws, -8

Apologies if this is overly harsh of Wiggins (who had one of the better games for the Warriors), but night’s like this — that is to say, night’s when Curry isn’t playing — are a reminder as to how miscast he was in Minnesota while trying to be the No. 1 option (I’m not even going to get into the fact that Karl-Anthony Towns existed...).

He had a solid game, but the Warriors simply needed more points, and they needed more assists from their offensive focal point.

Not really Wiggins’ fault, per se ... players don’t do as well when forced into the wrong roles!

Grade: B

Post-game bonus: Led the team in scoring.

Kevon Looney

20 minutes, 6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 3-for-7 shooting, -11

As he’s done many times this year, Looney did a strong job holding an opposing center in check. Jonas Valančiūnas, who averages 18.9 points per game on 52.3% shooting, mustered just 8 points on 2-for-6 shooting.

Give Looney lots of credit for that.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds, worst plus/minus on the team.

Gary Payton II

14 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 2-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, -11

Payton’s offense has taken a leap forward this year, but he’s still one of the players who most benefits from Curry’s presence on the floor. Without Steph around, GP2 had a hard time making an impact on offense, though he made some shots and played his usual elite defense.

Grade: B

Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.

Jordan Poole

33 minutes, 11 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls, 3-for-14 shooting, 2-for-9 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, -1

A second straight rough game for Poole after his demolition performance against the Miami Heat. Like Wiggins, he’s been thrust into a role above his normal level, and while he showed some good things in this game (such as the assists and steals), it was a rather rough scoring night, with some poor plays to match.

Grade: C

Nemanja Bjelica

21 minutes, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 4-for-6 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, +7

Just the other day I was lamenting about how Bjelica often has one of the team’s worst plus/minuses, largely because of the lineups he plays in. But when you remove the two best players from the game, the bench staple no longer misses out on the bulk of the best lineups. As such, he led the team in plus/minus, deservedly so.

Grade: B+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.

Jonathan Kuminga

20 minutes, 13 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 6-for-14 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, +6

Steve Kerr has done a fine job this year of not letting a quest for development cost the team wins. It’s surely frustrating for a player like Kuminga, who plays sparingly despite being one of the top prospects in the 2021 draft class.

But with Curry and Green out, Kerr seemed to accept that a loss was a likely scenario, and use the opportunity to get some run for the youngsters. It was a solid approach, and even though Kuminga often struggled to score efficiently, seeing him get a good chunk of minutes to work through his growing pains was great.

There were a lot of really nice moments in this game for the No. 7 pick, on both ends of the court.

Grade: B

Andre Iguodala

20 minutes, 5 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 2-for-3 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, +1

Andre Iguodala can pass. He can flat out pass. Entering Thursday’s game, Iguodala was averaging 9.7 assists per 100 possessions — by far the high mark of his career.

That will only grow after this game, and it will only grow further when Klay Thompson returns.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.

Damion Lee

30 minutes, 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 5-for-10 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, +5

All things considered, it was a strong game for Lee, who had some of the biggest moments in the team’s furious comeback in the final minutes. That comeback fell short, but Lee’s teammates and coaches surely took note of his part in it.

Grade: A

Moses Moody

23 minutes, 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3-for-6 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, +4

For the reasons mentioned in Kuminga’s blurb, Moody got some serious run against NOLA. It was the second-most minutes he’s played and points he’s scored, and, I think it’s safe to say, his best performance as a pro.

After impressing with his long ball in Summer League, Moody is starting to learn how good he is at getting easier shots. Despite missing all three attempts from distance (pushing his season total to 4-for-30), the rookie converted on every opportunity inside the arc, shooting 3-for-3 on twos, and twice getting to the charity stripe where he converted all four attempts.

Grade: A

Chris Chiozza

3 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 0-for-1 shooting, -6

Chiozza seems to be falling a bit out of favor of the coaching staff. Admittedly Kerr was prioritizing development for youngsters in this game, but Chiozza only getting a trio of minutes in a game without Curry spells potential trouble.

Grade: B-

Thursday’s DNPs: Quinndary Weatherspoon

Thursday’s inactives: Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Juan Toscano-Anderson, James Wiseman

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