The Warriors have lost four of five games and Thursday’s shellacking at the hands of the Bucks was, unquestionably, the worst loss of the season.
How’s a 77-38 halftime deficit work for you?
Yes, the Dubs are scuffling. But there’s no reason to press the panic button just, and the good news is that it can truly only go up from this point.
I’m a firm believer that things are going to be fine for Golden State. They were an outstanding team for three months. A week-long struggle doesn’t negate that — especially considering the circumstances at hand.
But there are a few things this team needs to correct if they want to look like that team from 2021 here in 2022.
It starts, as all things with the Warriors do, with Steph Curry.
Cold as ice (by his standards)
The Warriors have the 26th ranked offense in the NBA over the last 15 games, which dates back to the game in New York where Curry broke the NBA’s all-time 3-pointers made record.
Prior to that game, the Warriors had an offensive rating of 112, good for fourth in the league. Since then, the Warriors have posted an offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) of 107.
Five points per 100 possessions have disappeared and that is the difference between fourth-best and fifth-worst.
Three of those missing points can be attributed to Curry.
Before he set the record, Curry was the league’s MVP favorite, averaging 27 points per game on 43 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Those numbers have dipped. Not by a lot, but by enough for it to be noticeable in the Warriors’ offensive output. Curry has shot 39 percent from the floor over the last 15 games and a barely-above-break-even 34 percent from beyond the arc.
Curry has an effective field goal percentage — a stat he helped make a now-common denominator for offensive success — below 50 percent since New York.
That’s not even close to acceptable for him or, really, anyone else. Curry, at his best, is around the 60 percent range in that stat. Russell Westbrook — who built a second Bricktown neighborhood in Oklahoma City and is revitalizing downtown Los Angeles with his bad shooting now — hangs out in the sub-50 percent range.
Or, for two more readily available comparisons, Curry is shooting like Jonathan Kuminga and Andre Iguodala have all season.
Will it last?
Of course not. He’s Steph Curry.
But the longer it goes on, the longer the Warriors’ offense is going to stink.
Boom! All we need to do now is find another missing basket.
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There are other issues at hand for the Warriors, though. It’s not just Curry.
Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins — who were both splendid for the first three months of the season — have taken a step back as well.
The team’s ace scorer isn’t scoring like he once did — like he always has — and his capable backups appear to have already hit their season peaks.
Again, that’s a tough combination to overcome. At least it is until Klay Thompson — the true backup scoring option — finds his footing and full-time rotation for the Warriors, which will likely take weeks.
Poole has played in nine games for the Warriors since the record-setting night in Manhattan, thanks to COVID, and outside of a 32-point performance in his return to the court following a stint in health-and-safety protocols, he has been riding the struggle bus.
Poole is shooting 26 percent from beyond the arc on six attempts per game over the last month.
Moving to a full-time sixth-man role is no doubt a change from the environment Poole was in at the beginning of the season when he was thriving, but that’s going to be his role on this team. He needs to adapt, and soon.
Wiggins hasn’t been bad, but since Thompson returned to the Warriors’ lineup, he’s seemingly lost some of that wonderful aggression that he was parlaying into a possible All-Star Game berth. He’s averaging 13 points per game in the three games Thompson has been with the Warriors, taking 10 shots per game — down from the 14 he was averaging in December and January.
It’s a small sample size for Wiggins, but this cannot be the start of him going back into his shell — the Warriors need the wing to be aggressive on the floor, as it brings out his immense talent.
Passive Wiggins is not a winning player for the Dubs.
Lack of a heartbeat
All that said, it’s tough to come to any sort of conclusion about the Dubs and their play as of late, as they are playing tough opponents (Pelicans excluded) and they have been without Draymond Green for the last three contests.
Defensively, everyone knows what Green brings to the Warriors.
But offensively, the Warriors’ offense simply doesn’t operate well without their point guard.
The Warriors led the NBA in assists per game — 28 — before Green was unable to play against the Cavs on Sunday in Thompson’s return.
In the three games without Green, they’re averaging 23 assists per game – a number that is in the bottom third of the NBA. The Dubs also have the third-worst assist-to-turnover ratio in the league this week.
The ball is still moving for the Warriors — the offense demands it — but it’s not moving well or with efficiency without Green playing quarterback.
The Warriors have issues, but not having their on-court leader amid a tremendous moment of flux following Thompson’s return to the lineup could, indeed, be the Dubs’ biggest.
Source : https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/01/14/kurtenbach-getting-to-the-bottom-of-whats-ailing-the-struggling-warriors/1554