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Player grades: Warriors vs. Pelicans

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance from the team’s 141-105 loss to New Orleans.

Steph Curry shooting a layup after a foul call, with Pelicans players in the background. Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors got thoroughly embarrassed on Wednesday night. Just three days and one game after Steve Kerr said he didn’t envision the team getting blown out again, the Dubs went from bad to worse in a wholly uncompetitive 141-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

They looked unathletic and uninterested. Disengaged, disconnected, and disjointed. They looked plain bad.

I stepped away from the game after it ended. Had some soup. Ate some salmon. Pretended the last few hours of my life had not been spent watching that outing.

And now I’m back to get through this silly exercise as quickly as possible. As always, grades are based on my 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. Entering Wednesday’s games, league-average TS was 58.1%.

Jonathan Kuminga

28 minutes, 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 4-for-6 free throws, 62.2% TS, -20

Some good and some bad for Kuminga. Amidst the team’s free fall, it seems that often they get temporary respite when JK flexes his athleticism and isolation skills, and powers his way to a run-stopping bucket. Were the team not playing like total booty these days, Kuminga would be getting a lot of hype for the way he can stop an opponent’s momentum, or create instant offense during broken plays and an out-of-sync offense.

On the other side of the coin, he got worked by Zion Williamson, one of the few players in the NBA who can boast more impressive athleticism than Kuminga. He had some competitive stretches on the glass, but didn’t grab too many rebounds. And the (very brief) stretch in which he shared the court with Andrew Wiggins went as poorly as you would expect.

Grade: C+

Kevon Looney

19 minutes, 7 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block, 4 fouls, 3-for-3 shooting, 1-for-2 free throws, 90.2% TS, -3

This is another topic for another day, but I don’t want to talk about the game. Lately I’ve been wondering if the Warriors might trade Looney at the deadline. Kuminga needs to become a 30-minutes-a-night player on this team, and Draymond Green is returning soon. I’m not sure Kuminga can play the three unless it’s with someone like Dario Šarić in the middle. And the team’s best lineups will likely have Kuminga at the four with Green at the five. Is it time for the Warriors to start with a smaller frontcourt of Green and Kuminga, with Šarić and Trayce Jackson-Davis coming off the bench, and move on from their always underappreciated iron man? I’d be sad, but I’d get it.

Grade: C+

Steph Curry

25 minutes, 15 points, 1 rebound, 6 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 4-for-13 shooting, 3-for-8 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, 50.8% TS, -4

Like Steve Kerr said the other day, it’s unfair for the team to put so much responsibility on Curry’s shoulders, with hopes that he’ll bail out a wildly flawed team. Yet even with that excuse, it’s hard to watch Steph sometimes these days. Over his last two games, he has a combined 24 points on 6-for-27 shooting.

This game was marked by some of his worst turnovers of the season ... the careless variety that made you entertain, for just a second, the notion that maybe he’s lost hope for the season.

He’s still the team’s best player, by a mile. But he needs Green back. He needs Chris Paul back. Mostly he just needs a better team.

Grade: D+
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.

Klay Thompson

24 minutes, 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 5-for-10 shooting, 3-for-7 threes, 65.0% TS, -17

There weren’t many players who scored efficiently in this game, at least on the Warriors side of things. But Klay did! I especially liked that Thompson had multiple backdoor cuts for easy layups that helped stop the bleeding. While the rest of the team was hoisting threes to try and erase a massive deficit in one fell swoop, Klay was getting to the hoop for easy looks.

In an uncharacteristic change of pace though, he had some very poor turnovers; the whole team did, it seemed. And while his offense was efficient, he was never able to really to inflict his will on the Pelicans. And I’d rather not talk about his defense.

Grade: C-

Brandin Podziemski

25 minutes, 2 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 1-for-6 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 16.7% TS, -31

Probably the worst game of young Podziemski’s career. He couldn’t find a rhythm, and forced some bad shots. He made some inexplicable turnovers, which I’ve been so impressed at his ability to avoid. He got absolutely cooked on defense.

There’s some comfort in the fact that he still plays with heart and energy, and gobbles up boards even when other parts of his game aren’t going well. But this showing belongs in the “shake it off” bin.

Grade: D
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds, worst plus/minus on the team.

Dario Šarić

14 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 1-for-3 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 51.5% TS, -24

You know things are going poorly when Dario turns the ball over multiple times. Šarić was outmatched by NOLA’s hyper-athletic squad, and wasn’t having a very good offensive day, either.

Grade: D+

Trayce Jackson-Davis

22 minutes, 19 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 9-for-11 shooting, 1-for-1 free throws, 83.0% TS, -16

TJD can play; the dude can flat out play. And for a few short moments late in the second quarter, it just looked like he might spark a run that would get the Dubs back into the game.

It didn’t happen, of course. But it was a reminder that high-flying rim-rollers can not only get easy looks at the rim, but also emphatic ones that can shift the momentum of the game; we’ve seen the Warriors on the receiving end of that one quite a bit lately. I’m not sure what changes are in store for the Dubs, but hopefully they involved Jackson-Davis playing even more.

Grade: A

Gui Santos

10 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 0-for-3 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 25.8% TS, -6

If Santos is playing 10 minutes in a game it either means that something has gone very, very well, or something has gone very, very wrong.

I don’t need to tell you which it was.

Grade: B

Andrew Wiggins

23 minutes, 5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 2-for-8 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 31.3% TS, -29

Here are Wiggins’ stats over the last three games: 59 minutes, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 4-for-19 shooting, -63.


It would be bad enough if Wiggins just looked like he had his talent stolen, Space Jam style. But Wiggins — far more than anyone else on the team — seems to embody the disconnect. He looks uninterested and uninspired, and seems like he’d rather be anywhere but on the court. He does things like this, which are inexcusable enough when things are going well, let alone when you’re getting blown out in a bad season.

Zion also got duped it seems, but again: these things are just triply inexcusable when things aren’t going well. It’s when players need to dig in the most.

Wiggins just seems lost, and worse yet, he doesn’t seem particularly motivated to find his way out.

Grade: F+

Cory Joseph

17 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 1-for-3 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 33.3% TS, -22

Joseph played hard, which is more than some people can say. About halfway through the second quarter he had a delightful play where he volleyball-spiked a rebound out of the hands of a Pelican, turning what looked like a clear change of possession into points for the Warriors. Doris Burke commented on the broadcast that she thought it was the first 50-50 ball the Warriors had won, which was telling ... and probably accurate.

CoJo didn’t play very well, but he competed.

Grade: C-

Moses Moody

25 minutes, 21 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 fouls, 8-for-18 shooting, 4-for-8 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 56.9% TS, -7

It seems fitting for the game that Moody was one of the lone bright spots ... and it was announced after the game that he tweaked his calf and would get an MRI.

Hopefully Moody is OK. After starting the game on the bench, he replaced Podziemski in the starting lineup for the second half. He scored well, he scored aggressively, and he defended. I’d still like to see him find a way to impact the glass more, but Moody had a good game, and deserves to keep playing this many minutes.

Grade: B+
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.

Lester Quiñones

8 minutes, 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1-for-4 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, 37.5% TS, -1

Always nice to see Quiñones get on the court. He almost was the only Warrior with a positive plus/minus!

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

Wednesday’s inactives: Usman Garuba, Draymond Green, Chris Paul, Gary Payton II, Jerome Robinson

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