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Player grades: Warriors vs. Sixers

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance from the team’s 127-104 win over Philadelphia.

Andrew Wiggins hanging on the rim after a dunk. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors cruised into the trade deadline, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 127-104 on Wednesday night in one of their best victories of the year. It secured a winning five-game road trip for the Dubs, and also gave Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Steve Kerr confidence going into the deadline that perhaps a big move isn’t needed.

Let’s grade the players who led the way to a blowout win. As always, grades are based on my expectations for 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 58.2%.

Draymond Green

18 minutes, 4 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0-for-1 free throws, 45.0% TS, +14

Even before the Dubs turned things into a blowout in the third quarter, it seemed like Steve Kerr had made the decision that his team would be able to defeat a depleted Sixers squad, and so he didn’t lean as heavily on his core players to play minutes.

We always talk about how vital that is for Steph Curry, since he spends all game running around tirelessly. But it’s also crucial for Green, especially now that he’s playing almost exclusively at center, where he gets banged up quite a bit more. Winning a game and only having to play Dray 18 minutes is massive ... especially with a big game against the Indiana Pacers tomorrow.

Dray continues to rebound spectacularly. In six games since re-entering the starting lineup — now as a five — he’s nabbed 54 rebounds in just 186 minutes. That was what the Dubs needed from him.

Grade: B+

Jonathan Kuminga

29 minutes, 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 7-for-14 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 4-for-6 free throws, 54.1% TS, +22

The points that we’ve now come to expect from Kuminga every night were once again there on Wednesday, but that wasn’t what caught my eye. Instead, two things stood out.

First, it was one of the best games I’ve ever seen from JK in terms of moving the ball. He didn’t have flashy assists where he created something out of nothing, but he repeatedly passed the ball as the he were playing hot potato. For someone with the isolation scoring ability that he has — and now the green light from Kerr, too — it was an amazing sight to see, as Kuminga often seemed to know what shooter he would pass to before even catching the ball. In the past, he would usually catch it, assess the defense, and only then decide to pass, after the defense had reset. Now he was playing Kerr’s brand of beautiful Warriors basketball, and it resulted in five assists as the shooters around him regularly found open looks because of fast decisions.

Second, Kuminga has been doing a stellar job leaking out after shots by the opposition. And as he proves more and more capable of beating defenders in transition or isolation, his teammates — namely Green and Curry — have started to really look for him as soon as they get the ball. The Dubs were constantly pushing the ball up the court to Kuminga; it didn’t always result in a shot, but it gave the third-year wing a chance to get the ball ahead of the action, size things up, and potentially hunt a mismatch or backwards-moving defense. That’s a great new wrinkle to the offense.

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

Andrew Wiggins

23 minutes, 21 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 foul, 9-for-14 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 70.6% TS, +17

One of the best games of the year for Wiggins, and fairly timely too, as it was the final game before the trade deadline.

Needless to say, the Warriors are an extremely different team when this Wiggins plays. He was aggressive early, attacking the glass over and over and over in the opening minutes. He took matters into his hands on multiple occasions in the third quarter — a frame that Golden State won 43-23 — flashed his high-quality defense of prior campaigns, most notably breaking up a Philly three-on-one.

This Wiggins is a difference-maker, and it’s so great to see.

Grade: A+
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and rebounds.

Steph Curry

25 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 2 fouls, 2-for-7 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, 51.4% TS, +13

It’s not every day that Curry scores in single digits and the Warriors win by double digits. In fact, it’s just the 10th time that it’s ever happened.

Props to Curry for not feeling like he needed to flex his star muscles and win this game on his own, on a night when he clearly didn’t have it. He showed excellent restraint. Unfortunately, it was the only excellent part of his game on Wednesday.

Grade: D

Klay Thompson

28 minutes, 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 foul, 6-for-12 shooting, 4-for-5 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 69.9% TS, +24

It’s hard to imagine a happier Warriors event right now than the Dubs winning a blowout in which Wiggins and Thompson shine. It sure puts a smile on this fan’s face, and I’m guessing it puts one on yours, too.

Klay again showed that when he has good shot selection he usually plays well, and when he doesn’t he usually ... uhh ... doesn’t. This game was firmly in the former category, with his numbers probably underscoring his efficiency, since he had a few missed shots that were tough looks forced by an expiring clock.

I also thought it was a pretty good defensive game from him, and his passing was strong, even though he only had one assist.

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

Dario Šarić

14 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 3-for-5 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 76.5% TS, -4

It was mostly garbage time for Šarić, whose role is really fluctuating night to night these days. He did have a late-game dunk which lit the bench on fire ... and showed that even though the Dubs have not had the season they anticipated, the vibes can still be really good.

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

Kevon Looney

17 minutes, 9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 3 fouls, 4-for-8 shooting, 1-for-1 free throws, 56.3% TS, +15

Another reason Green played sparingly? Looney was utterly sensational. He was a force to be reckoned with on defense and on the glass, and even made his imprint on offense, not only shining in the short roll, but also taking the rock to the hoop on a few occasions.

This was a good reminder that while Looney’s role may have diminished, his ability has not.

Grade: A

Trayce Jackson-Davis

4 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 foul, 1-for-1 shooting, 100.0% TS, +2

Just garbage time for TJD, who doesn’t have much of a role right now with Green starting at center. His time will come, and he continues to stay ready.

Grade: Incomplete

Gui Santos

8 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 fouls, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 34.7% TS, -2

Just two days after being a surprising star in the team’s win over the Brooklyn Nets, Santos was a DNP until garbage time. No shame in that ... there are a lot of players who deserve minutes, and while Santos continues to impress with his fluidity and instincts, he’s also a bit raw.

But my goodness, dude can play!

Grade: Incomplete

Cory Joseph

5 minutes, 8 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3-for-4 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 100.0% TS, +4

Just garbage time for CoJo, who now seems like the most likely Warriors player to be traded ahead of Thursday’s deadline. But dropping in eight points in five minutes is something that should make any player proud. He almost out-scored Curry!

Grade: Incomplete (but very good)

Moses Moody

19 minutes, 8 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 3-for-8 shooting, 2-for-7 threes, 50.0% TS, +1

It sure is nice to see Moody back on the court. There’s a fair amount of rust still, as he doesn’t look quite in rhythm squaring up his jumpers. But his energy, defense, and decision-making were all fantastic in this game.

Grade: B

Lester Quiñones

24 minutes, 13 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 4-for-7 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 82.5% TS, +4

Q has really been getting an opportunity lately, and he’s absolutely making the most of it. It seems possible — if not probable — that the Warriors will trade Joseph for tax savings on Thursday, and sign Quiñones for the rest of the season (and likely beyond). Either way, I fully expect Q to be on the Warriors next year, on a standard contract rather than a two-way.

His jump shot is so gorgeous, and he shoots it so quickly and with such confidence.

I really loved what he showed defensively in this game, even if he got a little over-exuberant from time to time (same can be said of his playmaking).

Grade: A-

Brandin Podziemski

25 minutes, 6 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 fouls, 3-for-8 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 37.5% TS, +5

Podz may have seen his double-double streak come to an end, but it was a fourth consecutive contest without a turnover. He’s totaled 136 minutes and dished out 27 assists in that time; truly stunning numbers for a rookie guard.

It’s pretty clear that he’s taken mentorship from Chris Paul and applied it immediately; his game kind of resembles a hybrid of Paul and Steve Nash. Pretty good players to model your game after!

Even though he hasn’t been scoring super efficiently, the offense just functions well when he’s on the court. And his rebounding rate is 52nd in the NBA, among 198 qualified players — behind only four players listed as guards (and three of those four, Josh Giddey, Scottie Barnes, and Luka Dončić, should probably be listed as forwards).

Dude can play. I don’t know how many different ways to say it.

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

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

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