Some thoughts on Christmas

Merry Christmas to all the Warriors fans! This is an attempt to post in a slightly different format as an attempt to get away from all the annoying "let’s play the kids/Kerr can’t develop youngsters" discussions and the people caught in that loop. Hopefully, this creates a different space for the people who have something fresh to say as the games are being played.

The last few games allowed to see the youngsters for extended minutes, particularly against the Nets. Let’s be clear – the garbage time in that last game started in the first quoter. Once the Nets were up by 20+ points, their defense wasn’t as tight and they allowed easier scoring. What have we learned?

Poole can be a scoring force even in Steph’s absence, but his defender dictates how much and how efficient his scoring could be. To be fair, Steph can sometimes be limited by the top defenders too. He normally would become a decoy and let his teammates to benefit from his gravity. With the teammates Poole had on the depleted Dubs, he had no choice but to force his offense, which was inefficient due to poor shooting and a bunch of TOs. With so much energy spent on offence, there was very little defense from Poole.

Kerr played Kuminga in the starting lineup against the Nets, something I wouldn’t have done as 3 non-shooters on the floor (with Dray and Loon) is way too many. Kuminga forcing drives was ugly. As I said before, Kuminga has no reliable offensive skills – can’t drive and can’t shoot. His offence is GPII-like where the ball movement can create dunks for him as an axillary player. But right now, you can’t feature Kuminga on offence just like you couldn’t feature GPII last year. Both are opportunistic scorers who could take advantage of skilled offensive players around them. If you don’t have enough such players in the lineup, they can make the offence worse if trying to showcase their skills. But Kuminga is one of our better defenders on the roster and when our offense returns, he is totally playable in the GPII-like role. His offense will come in 2-3 years when he learns how to create his own shot and how to make 3s. Both things are work in progress now. Someone compared him to Jaylen Brown who also came to the league without a reliable jump shot. Kuminga just needs to believe in himself and put in the work.

Moody is shooting 40% on 3s for the year, on 7.6 attempts per 100 possessions (6th on the team after Steph 15.8, Klay 14.7, Poole 12.6, Wiggs 9.7 and DDV 8.5). He took 20 shots in the last two games and scored 28 points on quite efficient 11-20 FGA, including 6-11 on 3s. However, I don’t like how his game is being shaped up by the Dubs. He might be the least versatile player on the team right now. He doesn’t pass and doesn’t rebound much. His shots come from catch and shoot 3 and drives to the rim, which often are blocked shots or end up in TOs. In college, Moody could actually create his own midrange shot off the dribble and was quite successful at this. He doesn’t move without the ball and is not involved much into the plays on offence. Why? If he is a high IQ player, shouldn’t he be the one knowing the plays by now and being used accordingly? On defense, I still have concerns about his lateral quickness and the lack of aggressiveness, perhaps trying to avoid fouls. He doesn’t try to strip the ball or even have his hands active to make it hard for his man to take a shot. When he defends 3 pt shooters, the 3s go in way too often because he is not close enough to his man. But out of the 4 youngsters, he might be the most offense-defense balanced at the moment.

Wiseman – I am as excited as everyone about his offence against the Nets, but look at the full picture. The Nets’ big men in this game were Claxton and Morris, not exactly the top bigs in the league and Morris is a slowish unathletic PF. Wiseman should be able to score against the players like these. But was Wiseman’s defense better than it was in the beginning of the season? I am not sure. Hartenstein scored on him with ease and he is an average NBA backup center. To be honest, I don’t expect to see dramatic improvements this year as it takes at least 2-3 years for a big to play a passable defense at the NBA level. Wiseman is basically playing his first season. I don’t agree with those who says that he is not an NBA player. I think he is and he will be, but when his time comes, which could be anything from the next season to 3 years from now.

I couldn’t understand why with so much garbage time, Kerr didn’t give more minutes to Rollins. Many of you don’t see much in this guy, but I think that he just needs a bit of time in the NBA to get a feel for the game at that level. Right now, he is trying to do too much and looks awful for this simple reason. I don’t think it would take him long to adjust. However, even if he looks decent in the NBA, we have too many guards right now and there might be no minutes for him.

PBJ has a great 3 pt shot but there is no way playing him in a real competition as he will be pushed around on defense until he gains more strength.

With this in mind, should the Dubs try to rescue the season or rest their vets and let the youngsters play? If we were to rescue the season, how would we do this?

Assuming we somehow make it to the playoffs, first of all, we can’t afford any injuries to our big 6 – Steph, Klay, Wiggs, Dray, Loon and Poole. A 48 min game has 240 min of playing time. If we play the big 6 33 min per game each, there will be 75 min left to fill in by other players. This is too much for 2 players, we need 3. From how the things are right now, I would pick DDV (30), Kuminga (25) and Iggy (20). But this 9 men roster has only 1 true center in Loon and this would put us into a disadvantage against some teams with size. So, we need another 5 with adequate defense, as I said on a number of occasions, and I believe that JMG plus a FR pick should be enough to get this done. Alternatively, Bob may wait for the buyout market in the hope to pick up someone, but I don’t see many candidate vet centers on expirings stuck with the rebuilding teams. Houston has Boban. The Spurs have Dieng. Washington has Taj Gibson. Charlotte may decide to cut Plumlee if they continue losing. This is the potential crop of bigs, not including the Lakers (Thomas Bryant, Wenyen Gabriel, Damian Jones are all 1 year contracts). Taj or Plumlee taking the 15th spot would help us. With the right big added, I think our 10 men rotation would be quite good. I might also think about cutting JMG and converting either Ty or Lamb to the normal roster spot to make this player eligible for the playoffs.

With this plan, there is an internal problem to solve and it is called Klay. Klay is not a good team defender. When he was guarding the best wing/guard, he played a lot of one on one defense which partially took him out of the switch defense. Now, when Wiggs took this job, Klay’s team defense has been exposed in addition to his inability to guard quick guards. The solution might be in using Klay guarding one on one more again, but bigger stars, like Tatum, Ingram, JJJ, etc. Fixing Klay’s shooting is a bigger problem. He attempts the second most shots on the team (25 per 100 poss) after Steph and just a tad more than Poole. But his TS of 53% is the worst on the team (not counting Rollins). How do you minimise the damages? Obviously, Klay shouldn’t be taking as many shots until he figures out how to shoot better. If last year the team could afford letting him shoot through his struggles to get ready for the playoffs, this year there might be no playoffs if he shoots us out of too many games. With Poole playing better, it might be worth considering playing him off the bench. With Dray and DDV on the second unit, there should be enough playmaking to run the unit and create good shots for Klay. Klay’s size and a better defense relative to Poole may actually improve the bench unit. Have you noticed how often he steps out of bounds? Maybe the problem is not only his post-injury physical state but also the lack of focus.

What about today? Do the Steph-less Dubs have a chance against one of the best teams in the league? If Wiggs is playing and Dray is in the right state of mind, I think they do. I still remember the 2019 Christmas when Dray, DLo and a bunch of scrubs beat Harden and his Rockets, because a motivated Dray can be an unstoppable force.

Happy holidays and enjoy the game.

This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!