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Player grades: Warriors vs. Nuggets

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance in the team’s 134-117 loss to Denver.

Steph Curry, with his mouthguard hanging out of his mouth, defending Jamal Murray Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Thanks to another brutal third quarter, the Golden State Warriors got blown out by the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night 134-117, losing a game, a back-to-back, and a road trip all in one fell swoop. Had the Warriors not bent over backwards to find a way to lose to the Minnesota Timberwolves the night before, a loss would have been no big deal — after all, they were missing two of their three best players.

But because they did blow that 14-point fourth quarter lead in Minny, Thursday’s game felt extra frustrating. So let’s grade the players, weighting for our expectations of each player, with a “B” grade representing the average performance for that player.

Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. League average TS is 57.9%.

Jonathan Kuminga

32 minutes, 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 foul, 7-for-9 shooting, 2-for-2 threes, 1-for-3 free throws, 82.4% TS, -23

Kuminga was on the floor for the Warriors worst moments, but sometimes you have to just chalk that up to playing a better team. Such was the case.

His efficiency was outrageous (in a good way), but I liked the attention to detail even better. He hauled in seven rebounds ... he had gone seven straight games without having more than three boards in a game, and hadn’t had that many rebounds since December 14. He didn’t turn the ball over, and committed just one foul, despite playing 32 minutes ... in his previous eight games he had 11 turnovers and 29 fouls.

His athleticism can cause problems for opponents, and he’s blossoming before our eyes.

Grade: A-

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

Kevon Looney

24 minutes, 3 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 1-for-2 shooting, 1-for-2 free throws, 52.1% TS, -8

We shouldn’t criticize Looney for the fact that Nikola Jokić had a hyper-efficient 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 16 assists. Jokić is the reigning two-time MVP for a reason, and one of the greatest offensive players in NBA history.

But when the Warriors faced the Nuggets in the first round last year, I said that I thought Denver was the one opponent where Draymond Green was more important than Steph Curry. I stand by that. His unique defense mixed with ability to run the court makes Green perhaps the toughest matchup in the league for Jokić.

Unfortunately, Dray was out, and Looney had to fend for himself, and it went about as expected.

Grade: C+

Andrew Wiggins

31 minutes, 9 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 3-for-14 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 1-for-3 free throws, 29.4% TS, -13

Let’s start with the good. Wiggins has been atrocious on the glass lately (relative to what he showed capable of early in the season, and in the NBA Finals), and he turned that around in this game, with his first double-digit rebounding performance since early November. The Warriors needed that, and will need that going forward.

Now for the bad. Wiggins’ defense continues to look suspect when Draymond doesn’t play. And an awful shooting night kept him from having the 16th double-double of his career. He couldn’t buy a bucket, and unfortunately that’s been a trend for him.

At some point, the recently injured and sick excuse wears out.

Grade: D+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.

Steph Curry

33 minutes, 28 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 turnovers, 4 fouls, 10-for-17 shooting, 5-for-10 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, 76.4% TS, -16

Curry sneakily had an elite game from an efficiency standpoint, even if something about his game felt a little off. He’s averaging 4.4 turnovers per game in his last nine contests, and the Warriors absolutely need better ball security from him if they want to start righting the ship.

Still, 28 points on 17 shots is freaking awesome.

Grade: B

Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, tied for the team lead in assists.

Jordan Poole

26 minutes, 22 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 8-for-15 shooting, 4-for-8 threes, 2-for-3 free throws, 67.4% TS, -3

Poole was also hyper efficient, but unlike Curry, he did it without turning the ball over much. With Klay Thompson sitting the back half of a back to back, Poole was the second offensive facilitator that the Warriors desperately needed.

Grade: A-

Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in assists.

JaMychal Green

16 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-4 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 61.5% TS, -9

Good all around game for Green, who had interestingly been a DNP in the last few games. He came prepared in this one, with energy and pace (and passing!) that really propelled the second unit.

My guess is he won’t be a DNP tomorrow.

Grade: A-

James Wiseman

17 minutes, 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, 3-for-3 free throws, 84.6% TS, +7

Wiseman saw the court for the first time since December, which was great to see. He had a lot of energy, and showed some pretty nice improvements. His screens were better and his defense was faster.

He played well enough to get a good grade, but not well enough to make me think he should be out on the court for meaningful minutes against most opponents, if the team’s frontcourt is healthy.

Grade: A

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

Donte DiVincenzo

22 minutes, 14 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 5-for-7 shooting, 4-for-5 threes, 100.0% TS, -14

A super sharpshooting night for DiVincenzo. I think on most nights, if the Warriors get 31 points on 16 shots from DiVincenzo and Kuminga, they’ll feel pretty damn good about their chances of winning.

Unfortunately playing the best team in the conference, on the road, on the back end of a back-to-back, without your second and third-best players, is not “most nights.”

Grade: B+

Ty Jerome

24 minutes, 9 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 4-for-10 shooting, 1-for-6 threes, 45.0% TS, +1

We hadn’t seen Jerome in a while, but with Anthony Lamb getting a day off to preserve his eligibility, Jerome stepped in.

He ran the offense fairly decently, even if his shot was quite awful.

Grade: B-

Moses Moody

16 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 0-for-3 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0.0% TS, -7

In theory, seeing Moody play was great.

In actuality, seeing him play was not.

Grade: C-

Thursday’s DNPs: Patrick Baldwin Jr.

Thursday’s inactives: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Anthony Lamb, Klay Thompson

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