At long last, the season is over. Despite being one of the shortest Golden State Warriors seasons since Steve Kerr took over, it sure felt like one of the longest, didn’t it? But after losing in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals 122-101 to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors have done two things they never did before under Kerr: they’ve lost a Western Conference Playoff series, and they’ve made it through a series without winning a road game.
It turns out that the thing that plagued them all season was, indeed, a fatal flaw.
I almost didn’t write grades. It feels like writing the obituary while the body is still warm. So I’m going to keep these very short. The grades might be bad, but it’s not the time to dwell on how poorly any individuals played. Just some quick hitters.
As a reminder, grades are weighted based on my expectations. A “B” grade represents 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 this year was 58.2%.
24 minutes, 9 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 5 fouls, 4-for-8 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 56.3% TS, -26
Green was the second-best Warrior in this series, but he just didn’t have enough defensive firepower tonight. Not when guarding Anthony Davis, and not when guarding LeBron James.
There’s been a lot of speculation about Green’s future all season, and I don’t anticipate that ending anytime soon. But he did make it abundantly clear that he doesn’t want to leave.
Draymond Green: “We’re not done yet. Lost this year. We’ll be back next year.” pic.twitter.com/4h4CsrZtLa— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 13, 2023
And over at The Athletic, Shams Charania and Anthony Slater reported that, “the Warriors appear intent on discussing an extension to their partnership, if the price is right.”
Nothing’s off the table, but I’d expect him back next year.
28 minutes, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 5 fouls, 2-for-8 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 2-for-4 free throws, 33.8% TS, -26
I’m going to cop out and not grade Wiggins. How can you? The entire point of this exercise is to grade players based on their expectations, and how could we have even had expectations for Wiggins.
In terms of how well he played, and the value he provided in this game .... he was bad. He was also playing through a broken rib while being asked to defend one of the two greatest players in NBA history while that player was stuck in “we’re losing over my dead body” mode.
The numbers are rough. The visuals were, at times, rough. But there’s a reason that Steve Kerr brought up one name in his opening remarks to praise after the game.
Grade: H for Heart
39 minutes, 32 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 3 fouls, 11-for-28 shooting, 4-for-14 threes, 6-for-6 free throws, 52.2% TS, -21
Another player that’s hard to grade. Curry’s numbers don’t look very good by his absurd standards, and it’s hard not to wonder what would have happened if he made threes at his usual clip, both in this game and in this series.
On the other hand, with Wiggins injured, and Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole providing next to nothing on offense, Curry was really the only option. And he was defended like it. It was an impossible situation.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, tied for the team lead in assists.
38 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 fouls, 3-for-19 shooting, 2-for-12 threes, 21.5% TS, -33
It was a hard Klay performance to watch. The irony was, while Klay justifiably got criticism earlier in the series (and season) for his shot selection, that was the one part of his game that was great on Friday. He took good shots. He just couldn’t make them.
Is that the new reality for Klay? Probably not. He actually quite well from distance in this series. But the series he said he spent his entire career waiting for was disappointing, and ended in exceptionally painful fashion for him.
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in assists, worst plus/minus on the team.
Gary Payton II
10 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 fouls, 2-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 66.7% TS, -18
Payton had some great games in this series. This wasn’t one of them.
Rest up, GPII. It seems he still wasn’t fully recovered from his injury, and it will be great having him in the fold all next year.
4 minutes, 2 points, 1 assist, 1-for-1 shooting, 100.0% TS, +1
It wasn’t surprising, but the buzzer had barely finished ringing after Game 6 when the report (in the previously linked Athletic article) came out that Kuminga will look for a trade if the Warriors aren’t willing to give him a larger and more consistent role.
Many teams would be interested in trading for him given his age, athleticism, and the flashes he’s shown. But did he lose potential suitors with his comments to the Chronicle about how it’s “hard to smile” when you’re not playing, and with his noticeably uninterested face and body language every time the cameras cut to the Warriors celebrating bench this series?
We may find out. Or we may not find out, as the Warriors will probably just keep him.
26 minutes, 9 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 1-for-1 free throws, 60.5% TS, +4
I hope Looney has a long and relaxing offseason. He earned it after two consecutive seasons in which he played in every single game for a team that made a deep playoff run. He led the NBA in offensive rebounds. He banged with Domantas Sabonis and Anthony Davis in the playoffs. I can’t imagine how bruised his body must be and how tired he must be.
Here’s wishing a restful offseason for one of the most underpaid players in the NBA.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
4 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 foul, 1-for-1 shooting, 100.0% TS, +1
Will Lamb be back next year? After getting his contract converted, you might think yes. After watching him not be in the postseason rotation at all, you might think no.
Patrick Baldwin Jr.
4 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, +1
I’m really looking forward to Baldwin’s sophomore campaign. I think he has a lot of talent and fits the team well.
26 minutes, 16 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 6-for-12 shooting, 4-for-8 threes, 0-for-2 free throws, 62.1% TS, +1
DDV was really good in what is likely his final game as a Warrior. He was a massive part of the team overcoming the early 17-point deficit, as his defense, rebounding, and offensive aggression — mixed with his energy — were vital.
23 minutes, 7 points, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 3-for-10 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 33.5% TS, +1
There’s also a fairly decent chance that that was Poole’s final game in a Warriors jersey. I’d hate for it to end that way. He shot just 1-for-17 from thee-point range in the final five games of the series.
15 minutes, 6 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 foul, 2-for-5 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 60.0% TS, +10
Will Moody be in the rotation next year? It sure looks like it. But then again, I said that this time last year, too.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
Friday’s DNPs: JaMychal Green
Friday’s inactives: Patrick Baldwin Jr., Andre Iguodala, Ryan Rollins