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Player grades: Warriors vs. Magic

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance in the team’s 130-129 loss to Orlando.

Klay Thompson shooting a floater over the outstretched arms of a Magic defender Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors lost once again on Thursday night, dropping a 130-129 contest to the Orlando Magic, and pushing the Dubs to 0-4 on their current road trip, and 0-5 on the year away from the Chase Center.

There were pretty moments in the game, but it was an ugly and indefensible loss, so we need to break out some red pens. As always, grades are weighted for my expectation of each player, with a “B” representing their average play.

Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) entering Thursday’s games was 56.7%.

Draymond Green

30 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 6 fouls, 4-for-5 shooting, 0-for-1 free throws, 73.5% TS, +5

Green’s offense continues to be experiencing a rebirth, and I’m here for it. I think he’s pretty firmly a positive on that end of the court right now.

But his defense, while still elite, is lagging behind last year’s levels. The Warriors are currently a dreadful defensive team, and while Green is the person least responsible for that, he’s also proven to be someone capable of leading defensively modest lineups to great defensive success. He can make a bad defense great all on his own.

Right now he’s not doing that. He’s still the team’s best defensive player by a sizable margin, but he’s not carrying them.

Awesome to see him have a game without a turnover though.

Grade: B-

Andrew Wiggins

33 minutes, 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 6-for-12 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 1-for-3 free throws, 56.3% TS, +3

I really struggled with what grade to give Wiggins. It didn’t seem like he played particularly poorly, but at the same time, the next three starters on this list played quite well. And the Magic are a bad enough team that you can’t just blame the bench when the Warriors lose to them. Some starters have to be held accountable.

To me that starter is Wiggins, who played a few minutes less than his average tonight because Steve Kerr brought him in for his final stint a few minutes later so he could leave Ty Jerome on the court. That seems to say a bit.

Wiggins didn’t have a good defensive game, and the rebounding intensity that has been mostly present since June was largely absent. And while it’s easy to say that every basket counts the same as the next, it’s hard to look past Wiggins missing an uncontested layup with 2:30 left in a one-point game, especially when the Warriors went on to lose by one point.

Grade: C

Kevon Looney

29 minutes, 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 5 fouls, 8-for-11 shooting, 1-for-1 free throws, 74.3% TS, +10

Looney played starter minutes, and he put the “star” in “starter.” The 17 points he scored was a career high (in the regular season), and he got them by moving to the right places on the floor, and cleaning up on the offensive glass. His defense was solid, as the Magic are perhaps the largest team in the NBA ... but beat the Dubs primarily from the perimeter.

Just excellence from Looney, and with every game it becomes more and more clear that the Dubs need him.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.

Steph Curry

38 minutes, 39 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 fouls, 3 turnovers, 13-for-22 shooting, 8-for-15 threes, 5-for-5 free throws, 80.1% TS, +4

I think it’s safe to say that when the Warriors first saw the 2022-23 schedule, Kerr did not pencil Curry in for 38 minutes in a November back-to-back against the Magic. Especially a loss.

But that’s the way the Warriors are playing right now, and Curry put the team on his back, but it still wasn’t quite enough.

He made some heroic shots, but I think the bigger story is that he started to look a little fed up with the poor play of the youngsters and the bench. Not in a way that is going to lead to drama or selfishness or anything, but in a way that might put a little pressure on Kerr’s lineups, or on Bob Myers’ transactions.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and assists.

Klay Thompson

34 minutes, 27 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 fouls, 10-for-24 shooting, 7-for-15 threes, 56.3% TS, +13

Hi Klay!!!

This was the best Thompson has looked all year, by far. He started things off right by knocking in three early triples. His offense looked smooth all night, as he played the most minutes and scored the most points he’s had all year.

Some things just seem right, and Klay making seven shots from beyond the arc is one of them. The defense still needs to round into form, as does some of the off ball movement. But this game was a very firm reminder as to how good we can still expect Klay to be when he’s fully recovered from his two major injuries.

Grade: A-

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

JaMychal Green

16 minutes, 7 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover, 5 fouls, 3-for-5 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 70.0% TS, -15

I’m not sure how many ways to point out that Green is really good when the Warriors surround him with good players, and really bad when they don’t.

He made open shots in this one, so that’s good. He was a beast on the glass, as he’s been most of the year. He was also truly awful on defense, and really didn’t provide any offensive creation whatsoever.

I suspect that Green will look pretty damn good when Andre Iguodala and Donte DiVincenzo return, and the Dubs work out their lineups. Until then, it’s a struggle.

Grade: C

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

James Wiseman

10 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 fouls, 1-for-3 shooting, 33.3% TS, -9

After the game, Kerr admitted that he’s been playing with rotations, and that what he’s doing isn’t working, and that he’ll try new ones going forward.

We’ll learn more on Friday when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans, but it’s pretty easy to read that quote as saying, “Wiseman’s out of the rotation for now.”

The Dubs have an impossible task of trying to balance winning games with developing their No. 2 pick. He’s less than 50 games into his NBA career so we’re a very, very, very long ways away from being able to give up on him. At the same time, his minutes are incredibly difficult to watch right now.

He lasted a very short time in his first stint, which mostly featured fouls and missed rebounding assignments. His second stint, with the starters, was better, but still not particularly good. Early in the season his high-volume, high-efficiency scoring made it a little easier to overlook the defensive struggles, but now that’s gone, too. On the four-game road trip, Wiseman has just 13 points on 3-for-13 shooting.

Grade: D+

Ty Jerome

14 minutes, 2 points, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 1-for-2 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 50.0% TS, +3

Jerome played pretty nicely in this game, and was rewarded down the stretch. He played with the starters (sans Wiggins) until about the 3:30 mark in the fourth quarter, and when Draymond fouled out with a few possessions left, Jerome took his place.

He was far from a difference maker, but he was super solid. Can’t ask for much more.

Grade: A-

Jordan Poole

24 minutes, 11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 fouls, 4-for-12 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 2-for-3 free throws, 41.3% TS, -10

Poole’s early season struggles continue, as he looked all out of sorts in this one. He’s having a hard time finding his offensive rhythm, and his play is sloppy as hell. He’s had three or more turnovers in six of the team’s nine games.

I’m not sure if it’s that Poole is struggling with the bad bench unit, or having a hard time adjusting to coming off the bench again, or just in a generic slump, but whatever it is, the Warriors will be excited when the guy who was a star for the last few months of the 2021-22 season returns.

Grade: D+

Moses Moody

12 minutes, 1 point, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 fouls, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 26.6% TS, -9

Moody is seeing his minutes take a hit as the Warriors start looking for a spark. His strength is that he rarely hurts the team. His weakness is that he rarely does anything special. Right now the bench unit is in need of something special.

Not a good defensive game from him.

Grade: C-

Thursday’s DNPs: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Jonathan Kuminga, Ryan Rollins

Thursday’s inactives: Donte DiVincenzo, Andre Iguodala, Anthony Lamb

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