It wasn’t pretty, but aesthetics don’t show up in the win column. When Monday night’s dust settled, the Golden State Warriors had won yet again, defeating the Detroit Pistons 120-109 to move to 6-2 on the season ... and, crucially, 5-1 on the road.
After last season, I’ll take any win. They’re all awesome.
As always, it’s time to grade the players. Grades are based on my expectation for each player, with a “B” representing the average performance for that player.
Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. Entering Monday’s games, league-average TS was 56.7%.
28 minutes, 6 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 61.5% TS, +1
Green was the only Warriors listed on the injury report, but thankfully he was able to play in the team’s only game of the year in Detroit, about 100 miles away from his hometown of Saginaw.
And he delivered an extremely Draymond game. There were rebounds, brilliant passes, and tons of heart and defense.
I’ve said it a lot of times already, and I’ll keep saying it: Green looks rejuvenated. He’s in phenomenal shape and playing with all kinds of energy, which is both a testament to him and a sign of how good he thinks this team is.
After having 500 assists to 204 turnovers last year, Green is up to 40 assists against just 12 turnovers. And he’s 14-for-16 on free throws.
Just good signs all around.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds and assists.
25 minutes, 10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 5-for-6 shooting, 83.3% TS, +5
Even though his stats weren’t quite as fancy as they were a night ago, it sure looked like Looney was happy to be facing a starting frontcourt of Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III after having to go up against Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen on Sunday.
A quiet game for Looney, but a solid game to be sure. He’s playing mistake-free basketball, which shouldn’t be surprising.
22 minutes, 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 2-for-9 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0-for-2 free throws, 20.2% TS, -4
Something’s going on with Wiggins. The first week was too small of a sample size to be concerned, but now we’re two weeks plus a rough preseason into things. It seems that one of two things is happening.
- Wiggins is really struggling in ways that are fairly concerning. Or,
- Wiggins is being severely impacted by the rib injury that he’s been rumored to be dealing with.
If the former is the case, I’m not entirely sure what the solution is. If the latter is the case ... shut him down! The Warriors are deep enough that they can go a few weeks without Wiggins and be just fine. If an injury is impacting his play this much, then sideline him until he’s healthy. It’s the best thing for his health and comfort, for his performance, and for the team.
This was Wiggs’ best rebounding game of the season, so that was good to see. After having just 11 rebounds in his first five games of the year, Wiggins has 16 boards in the last three contests. And he got a steal, so my shelf life on this tweet was very short.
No-stats leaders, 11/6:— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) November 6, 2023
0 points: Stanley Umude (20 mins)
0 rebs: Jordan McLaughlin (15 mins)
0 assists: P.J. Tucker (87 mins)
0 steals: Andrew Wiggins (181 mins)
0 blocks: Tyler Herro (229 mins)
0 O-rebs: Fred VanVleet (185 mins)
0 FTA: Royce O'Neale (196 mins)
Stanley Umude also scored 15 points in this game, so maybe my tweets have more power than I thought.
Wiggins simply looks unwilling to bank on his athleticism right now. He’s settling for poor shot attempts instead of attacking the rim. Perhaps that’s due to the potential injury. Perhaps it’s due to a minor case of Ben Simmonsitis — Wiggins has set new career-lows in free throw percentage each of the last two seasons, hitting 63.4% in 2021-22 and then 61.1% in 2022-23 ... and now he’s 15-for-28 (53.6%) from the charity stripe this year.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have a Plan B to turn to. In the past we’ve seen Wiggins transition to more of a playmaker role when his scoring is absent, but this year he has just six assists in more than 200 minutes of action.
His on-ball perimeter defense is still very strong, and he’s been doing a good job lately of being active on the offensive glass to keep things alive. But otherwise, it’s been tough to watch.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
33 minutes, 34 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 12-for-26 shooting, 7-for-17 threes, 3-for-4 free throws, 61.2% TS, +17
Well, Steph Curry is good. That was my main takeaway from this performance.
Anyone have anything to add to that?
He also had 16 of the team’s first 22 points, and seemed to show up anytime they needed a bucket. He’s good, folks.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and plus/minus.
28 minutes, 17 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 8-for-16 shooting, 1-for-8 threes, 53.1% TS, +1
A tough shooting game from distance by Klay, but he almost made up for it by shooting 7-for-8 from inside the arc. Perhaps that will encourage him to explore some more options from two-point range.
This wasn’t a particularly good game by Klay’s standards, but I’m just happy that A) his shot selection is so good right now, and B) he’s playing both ends of a back-to-back.
21 minutes, 12 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 foul, 4-for-8 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 67.6% TS, +1
After a rough game on Sunday, Šarić — and the entire bench unit — bounced back in a big way on Monday. It’s just such a joy watching him play. He can bang at the rim on defense and rebounding, he can put it on the floor and take it to the hole, and he can stretch the court. And most importantly, it never feels like he’s making the wrong play.
He is just super, duper solid.
19 minutes, 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 2-for-8 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 6-for-8 free throws, 43.4% TS, 0 +/-
JK has been forcing the issue a little bit lately. He’s been expending more energy on offense and the efficiency hasn’t been there, and there’s been less energy for the glass. He had 13 rebounds through three games, but just seven boards in four games since.
He’s taking on the role of bench scorer, and while you can see the vision, it’s a bit clunky at the moment.
0 minutes, 0 points, +1
After playing a sizable role on Sunday, TJD only got on the court for the final half minute or so of garbage time.
Dear Warriors: please have some blowouts so the rooks can play!
21 minutes, 17 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 6-for-9 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, 82.4% TS, +13
For the first time this year, we got the treat of seeing how good CP3 can be as a scorer, not just a playmaker. A midrange god and a floater king with a quality three-point shot, this version of Paul is not just Sixth Man of the Year worthy: he’s All-Star worthy.
The Warriors probably don’t win this game without Paul, and I’m not sure how many of their games they would have won without Paul. I think it’s abundantly clear that Mike Dunleavy Jr. hit a grand slam on his first swing as GM.
Now, don’t get too caught up in the scoring and forget this wildness:
Steve Kerr on Chris Paul: “He’s up to 62 assists and six turnovers (on the season). That’s insane.”— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 7, 2023
Paul has 29 assists and 0 turnovers the last four games pic.twitter.com/xIQVL1hYDt
Yep. That’ll play.
Gary Payton II
24 minutes, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 fouls, 3-for-5 shooting, 60.0% TS, +11
Payton has gradually been climbing up the depth chart all year, and right now is ahead of every guard and wing other than Paul, Curry, and Thompson. He was in the closing lineup, first with Curry, Thompson, Green, and Looney, and then with Curry, Thompson, Green, and Paul.
His combination of defense and energy brings so much to this team. He not only helps shut down tons of opponent possessions, but turns them into good looks on the other end through transition opportunities.
And it’s a joy seeing him healthy again.
19 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2-for-6 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 33.3% TS, +8
Moody had been a little bit passive in his last few games. Not in this one. He entered the game in the first quarter and immediately started to make an impact with his energy and aggression, particularly on the defensive end.
Sometimes Moody plays like a ball-hunting linebacker, just roaming around, waiting for the right moment, and then attacking full speed with his muscles out. He’s had a few steals this year where it felt like he basically achieved a jump ball and then ripped the basketball away.
With some sloppiness and lack of energy permeating the Dubs during this back-to-back, Moody’s tone-setting energy was fairly critical. And this part of his game is great to see:
0 minutes, 0 points, +1
Just a few seconds of garbage time for Podz, so I’ll repeat what I said about TJD: please have some blowouts, Warriors. I want to see these guys hoop.
Monday’s DNPs: Cory Joseph
Monday’s inactives: Usman Garuba, Lester Quiñones, Jerome Robinson