The NBA returned this week after the shortest and longest offseason, depending on who you ask. If you are a member or fan of the Golden State Warriors, that is good news and bad news. The good news is that you were able to witness the Dubs play meaningful basketball. The bad news is that the Warriors we saw this past week looked like the Warriors from last year. The Warriors that we were not looking forward to seeing again.
It’s obviously too early to panic over what we saw over the last three games. Along with that, not having Draymond Green on the court and playing two elite teams certainly didn’t help causes. Regardless, the Warriors did not come close to meeting expectations in the early going. While there was a lot to be disappointed in, there were some positive signs to be optimistic that this team will turn it around swiftly. With that in mind, let’s break down the good, the bad, and the ugly from this past week.
James Wiseman Has Arrived
In a week that was hard to watch, it was a breath of fresh air to see James Wiseman take the court. Sure, he had moments where he looked like a chicken with his head cut off. However, we saw glimpses of how explosive he can be once he figures everything out. As a 7’1″ center who can dominate inside but also might be the second-best three-point shooter on the team, this is just the beginning for Wiseman.
During the Warriors NBA Finals run, they were always able to get by with role players playing center. By the end of the games, they would transition to their small-ball lineup with Draymond filling the center position. However, the Warriors now have a star on their hands who will be a part of the future of this team. While he still clearly has a lot of room to grow, expect him to get more comfortable once Draymond takes the court with him and can do an even better job leading him.
A Win is a Win
Following the losses to the Nets and Bucks, traveling to Chicago to play the Bulls should have served as a get-right game. While getting the win to avoid falling to 0-3 was huge, this was far from a get-right game. All the problems that the Warriors have right now were on full display. Had Damion Lee not hit the last-second three for the win, the chatter about the state of the Warriors would be louder than it is.
A great sign in the game was seeing the second-half takeover of Stephen Curry. It has been far from easy for Steph in the early going. We’ll talk about that in-depth next. After only scoring 11 points in the first half, Steph exploded in the second half for 25 points, providing a much-needed spark for this struggling Warriors team. With the defense he has dealt with this year, it was nice to see the former MVP look like himself and put the team on his back. He also became the third player in NBA history to reach 2,500 three-pointers hit, joining Ray Allen and Reggie Miller in that club. I guess Saturday’s practice helped the cause.
5+ minutes without a miss.— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 26, 2020
Stephen. Curry. pic.twitter.com/8DV0z5gtib
Steph and Who?
In the early goings, Steph Curry has not played well, outside of the second half on Sunday. While it is hard to feel bad for the two-time MVP and three-time NBA Champion, the game plan for opposing teams has been simple: double team Steph once he touches the ball and let someone else beat us. This has worked well due to the early struggles of Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre.
We know what has gone on with Oubre, and we’ll talk more about his historic struggles later. On the other hand, Wiggins has been equally as frustrating. He showed signs of life against the Bulls which could lead to better things to come. However, it is time for him to use that talent and step up. Oubre isn’t going to stay this bad, but he is going to be more of the explosive option in this offense. With that, Wiggins needs to really establish himself as a consistent second option to take the pressure off of Steph.
What Happened to Eric Paschall?
This one just missed the ugly list. I don’t know where Eric Paschall from last year went, but he needs to come back soon. Paschall came out of nowhere last year and served as a bright spot on a horrendous Warriors team. His efforts were noticed and lead to him earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie team. Coming into this year, Paschall looked like he was going to anchor the second unit and have plenty of chances to remain a scoring threat while continuing to make an impact defensively.
With Draymond missing the first three games, Paschall started the first two games and did not look like the same player. As someone who gutted through the struggles last year and got experience playing in Steve Kerr‘s system, he was expected to help ease the new additions in and step up in a big way. Instead, he has looked sloppy with his shot selection and defense, resulting in him coming off the bench Sunday. This might be the better move for him and the team. He needs to turn it around quickly to help the Warriors get back to being a consistent team.
Come on, Kelly
Anyone who pays just a little attention to the NBA is aware of the current slump Kelly Oubre is going through. For someone who was brought in to do his best to fill the shoes of Klay Thompson, to say his first impression hasn’t gone well would be a major understatement. It isn’t easy to come into an organization desperately trying to win while also having fans expect you to fill the role of one of their favorite players.
There are enough people focusing on the negatives with Oubre, so let’s change it up and be optimistic. While it’s frustrating to see the new addition struggle like this, he has shown the explosiveness that made him an appealing piece with grabbing rebounds and throwing down some ferocious dunks. Of course, those are the only field goals he has made thus far, but they look really cool! What I have enjoyed seeing in Oubre is that he keeps shooting despite the struggles. It isn’t pretty, but the only way he is going to regain the confidence and be better as the year goes on is if he gets the struggles out of the way now. Trust me Dub Nation, nobody is as annoyed with the start he has had that Oubre is. Let’s give him a chance to right the ship before saying getting him was a mistake.
The Injury Bug Is Back
Not even a week into the season and the Warriors depth takes a hit on another fluke injury. During a team scrimmage on Saturday, Marquese Chriss suffered a fractured fibula. While a timeline won’t be determined until surgery is completed, it will most likely keep Chriss out for the remainder of the season.
In an offseason where the Warriors’ front office worked hard to replenish the depth on the roster, it has been tested early. With Chriss going down and Draymond having yet to make his season debut, the depth in the frontcourt looks shaky. It is an unfortunate turn of events for Chriss. He got a lot of chances last year and did well in his time to earn a role on this year’s rotation. With Wiseman in the fold, Chriss was in a position to contribute valuable minutes off the bench. Now, the Warriors are in a position where they might have to look outside of the organization for help.
Onto the Next Week
Was it an ideal start to the season? Not even a little bit. Is it too early to panic? Absolutely. Draymond Green is expected to return Friday when the Warriors finally get to play a home game. Every game that passes the new additions are getting more in tune with the flow of this team. Kelly Oubre is going to make a jump shot this week… I think.
This upcoming week, the Warriors take on the Pistons in Detroit on Tuesday. Following that game, the Warriors finally get to come home and play two games against the Trail Blazers on Friday and Sunday. Yes, that means Steph and Damian Lillard will get to match up. Get ready for a lot of threes this week. Go Dubs!