The Golden State Warriors kicked off the defense of their title in emphatic fashion on Tuesday night, on the first day of the 2022-23 NBA season. After receiving their over-the-top rings and raising a banner, the Dubs took care of business against the Los Angeles Lakers, winning 123-109 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate.
And since the season is back, it’s time to dust off the player grades. As a quick reminder, all players are weighted based on my expectations for them. In other words, if Ryan Rollins gets an “A” and Steph Curry gets a “B,” Curry probably had a significantly better basketball game.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) last season was 56.6%.
25 minutes, 4 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-5 shooting, 40.0% TS, +12
Dray played a few more minutes than I was anticipating given that he missed a week of practice towards the end of training camp.
Unfortunately, the PR hole that he dug himself was the main story of his game. Between the broadcasters and Twitter, most of the discourse surrounding Green involved his incident with Jordan Poole. And in the aftermath of the game, the most talked about Green moment was one where cameras caught him fraternizing with LeBron James during the game, when Green was on the Warriors bench.
That’s just how it’s going to go for a while.
As for Green’s play, it was spirited at times. He had a few sensational passes to Steph Curry, and ran a brilliant two-man game with Poole.
His defense was very good, but there were some undisciplined moments — the type of things you expect at this stage in the season. Still, despite that ... just one turnover and one foul.
29 minutes, 20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 5 fouls, 8-for-14 shooting, 4-for-7 threes, 71.4% TS, +25
Wiggins didn’t look very good in the preseason, so consider this your annual reminder that preseason games don’t really mean anything. Because he was special in this one.
Prior to the game, Steve Kerr challenged Wiggins to keep up the rebounding that helped define his sensational NBA Finals performance.
Steve Kerr on Andrew Wiggins: "I just told him, if he can rebound like that in the playoffs then he can rebound like that in the regular season." Says he'll look at the rebounds in the box score every night and hold him accountable "to the bar he set for himself."— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) October 19, 2022
The box score totals may be more “good” than “great” in the rebounding department, but when you account for the amount of balls he kept alive, I’d say it was a very successful day there for him.
On the offensive front, it was mostly quiet efficiency — which the Warriors will happily take — until the fourth quarter, when the Lakers started to make a run and Wiggins had the perfect dagger-three response on multiple occasions. Some of his fourth quarter shots were the type that would draw a lot of my criticism had he missed them ... but he didn’t miss them, so they were freaking awesome.
Also: some defensive highlights.
21 minutes, 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, 1-for-1 free throws, 78.8% TS, +30
I always caution against looking too far into single-game plus/minus, but it also bears noting when a team outscores their opponent by 30 points in the 21 minutes that someone plays, while getting outscored by 16 points in the other 27 minutes.
Looney showed us his importance in training camp when his demeanor was a key part of keeping the team together during a crisis, and he showed his importance on the court with sensational defense on Anthony Davis, strong rebounding, quality finishing around the rim, and a perfect understanding of where to be on the court at all times.
He’s so good, and he’s finally starting to get his flowers.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
33 minutes, 33 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 1 foul, 10-for-22 shooting, 4-for-13 threes, 9-for-9 free throws, 63.6% TS, +20
Your daily reminder that Curry is that dude: it felt like this wasn’t really his game, and he didn’t shoot very well from distance ... and he still finished with 33/6/7 on elite efficiency.
He was the best player in this game, dictating the tempo and the offense, while prioritizing getting his teammates going. His three wasn’t falling but he put Patrick Beverley, Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, and Lonnie Walker IV on skates repeatedly, and used the threat of his jump shot to get open backcut after open backcut.
It was a reminder that not only can Curry beat you on or off ball, but he can beat you from 30 feet or at the rim ... on or off ball.
Damn I missed watching him play.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, tied for the lead in assists.
20 minutes, 18 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 6-for-13 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, 4-for-5 free throws, 59.2% TS, +11
Klay was on a tight minutes restriction after only appearing in one preseason game, the result of not scrimmaging during the offseason. That didn’t stop him from having one of his patented Klay flurries, which came to start the third quarter, as the Dubs turned a seven-point halftime lead into a fourth quarter blowout.
He looked like the Klay of old. The defense was strong. The off-ball movement was excellent. The trigger on his jumper was blink-and-you-miss-it fast. There’s still a little bit of rust, but it sure feels like he’s back.
13 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 0-for-3 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0.0% TS, -8
Not a good showing for Kuminga, who displayed some of the issues that plagued him at the start of his rookie year. Namely, JK had a little bit of tunnel vision in this one. He had multiple plays where he caught the ball, didn’t see an open shooter, and then drove in a straight line right into traffic.
Kuminga has elite skills and even more elite athleticism, and his coaches and teammates speak very highly of him. But he definitely has some games where it feels like things are just moving a little too quickly for him.
23 minutes, 8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 foul, 3-for-6 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 66.7% TS, -3
If there’s one thing we learned about Green in this game, it’s that the coaching staff is going to trust him, as he got 23 minutes in this one. Sure, a few of those came because the other Green isn’t playing starters minutes yet, but it’s clear that the team trusts JaMychal, and it’s also clear that Kuminga will need to earn it if he wants to take some of those minutes.
The Dubs will be stoked if Green shoots 2-for-3 from deep. They’ll take that eight days a week. He spaced the floor, crashed the glass, and displayed great athleticism. All good things.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds.
17 minutes, 8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block, 2 fouls, 4-for-6 shooting, 0-for-4 free throws, 51.6% TS, -11
A lot of good and bad for Wiseman in his first game in a long time. Mostly it was just great seeing him out on the court.
There were some struggles. His free throws lacked touch and confidence, and he was often in the wrong place. But there were some really good things too, namely some quality defense that featured going directly upright, some improved aggression rebounding the ball, and some well read pick and rolls.
The results will fluctuate, but Wiseman has said all camp that the game has slowed down for him, and that looked to be the case on Tuesday.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in rebounds, worst plus/minus on the team.
22 minutes, 8 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 2 fouls, 3-for-6 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 58.1% TS, -5
The new Warrior looked like someone who was playing their first game with a team and a little bit over eager. He turned the ball over within a second of getting on the court, and had a four turnovers on the night ... most of them the “oops, got a little too excited” variety.
Those growing pains are to be expected. It’s a new team, with exciting new players, and there was a lot of adrenaline at Chase Center. I remain convinced that he’ll look like a steal of a signing by the end of the year, but he’s going to need at least a second game before anyone starts making that proclamation.
Still, there were a lot of good things. He showed good energy, and really locked down on defense well, while also getting out in transition, which the Warriors need.
28 minutes, 12 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers, 2 fouls, 4-for-15 shooting, 2-for-9 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 37.8% TS, +1
After a hot start, Poole cooled off dramatically, and started bricking his shots. Shooting 4-for-15 and turning the ball over four times is certainly not what he had in mind as a celebration of his new extension, but it wasn’t without some special moments.
Namely, Poole’s passing looked downright spectacular in this one, with a few brilliant finds. The pick and roll with Wiseman wasn’t as good as in preseason, but all things in time.
Also, he had the two most memable moments of the game:
Jordan Poole's reaction to getting his first ring pic.twitter.com/gDSnQ5zbOc— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 19, 2022
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in assists.
8 minutes, 5 points, 1 rebound, 2-for-4 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 62.5% TS, +1
A lot of fans were excited to see Moody as part of the rotation this year, but Kerr tossed a little bit of cold water on that. Before the game, Kerr said that they would play “10 or 11” players, and Moody turned out to be the “or 11” part of that statement. After the game, Kerr pointed out that it’s hard to find minutes for Moody right now given how many guards the Dubs have.
He’ll get his minutes, and if he plays in them like he did on Tuesday, the Warriors will be pretty happy.
2 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 fouls, 0-for-1 shooting, 0.0% TS, -3
Rollins got to make his NBA debut, playing the final two minutes of garbage time. He looked a little bit nervous, as the one shot he missed was a bunny that came flying out of his hands. Hopefully the Dubs starters can take care of business regularly so that Rollins can find more time on the court.
Tuesday’s DNPs: Patrick Baldwin Jr.
Tuesday’s inactives: Andre Iguodala, Ty Jerome, Anthony Lamb