The defending champion Golden State Warriors are 3-7 and have lost five straight games, 0-6 on the road. They are 26th in aNET rating, and 29th in aDRTG. We are only 10 games in, but something is off with the champs. Head coach Steve Kerr admits that the young kids aren’t playing well and changes are coming. Is there more beneath the surface?
It’s not all doom and gloom in the Bay. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry is as lethal as ever averaging 31 points per game on 61 eFG% and 66 TS% efficiency splits. The starting lineup of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney has the third best net rating among all starting units in the league.
Starting-five net ratings. pic.twitter.com/g0h4jpzTXK
— Todd Whitehead (@CrumpledJumper) November 5, 2022
But among all teams in the NBA the Warriors have the worst dropoff in net rating when their bench unit takes the floor.
Newly extended Jordan Poole and lottery pick James Wiseman have been receiving the bulk of minutes off the bench. Along with fellow young players, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
Wiseman in particular has been bad, specifically on defense and there are rumblings that he doesn’t want to play the role the team has outlined for him. But Kerr, ever the optimist, says the team has to help Wiseman.
“He knows how to overcome adversity. We have to help him because modern life is unforgiving and people don’t take into account organic growth,” Kerr said. “Everyone wants results right now. It’s not going to be that way. Especially for a big guy with very little experience. It takes longer for big guys to adjust to the NBA game. … He’s got plenty to learn, but he’s a willing learner and we’re going to take our time with him and I have no doubt long term he’s going to be a good player.”
Steve Kerr on Wiseman taking the heat: "He knows how to overcome adversity. We have to help him because modern life is unforgiving and people don't take into account organic growth. Everyone wants results right now. It's not going to be that way."
— Shayna Rubin (@ShaynaRubin) November 6, 2022
When the starters leave the floor with a lead and it starts to evaporate, Poole has been trying too hard to get it all back. Perhaps showing he’s every bit of the player who just signed a four year $140 million extension.
“[He’s] trying too hard to create every play,” Kerr said. “The NBA is filled with the greatest athletes on earth and trying to dribble through those athletes is not going to be a winning formula.”
Kerr said Jordan Poole is "trying to hard to create every play." He said Poole is at his best when he's playing within the flow of the game.
"The NBA is filled with the greatest athletes on earth and trying to dribble through those athletes is not going to be a winning formula."
— Kendra Andrews (@kendra__andrews) November 5, 2022
The Warriors opted to run two timelines, believing they could extend the primes of Curry, Thompson, and Green while also developing Wiseman, Kuminga and the young guys. So they let veteran players like Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica, and Gary Payton II go in the offseason.
The absence of those smart and defensive minded players means that development with the young kids happens in real games that count in the win/loss column. Add in the rocky start to the season when Green punched Poole in the face in practice, and there is a lot to manage in the Bay right now.
“There are times in the NBA season when things can go off the rails a little bit,” Kerr said after practice Sunday. “A big part of being a great team, being a solid organization, is just understanding how to work through that.”
The storm is here for the Warriors. Fractured team chemistry and poor early season play has led to the 3-7 record. If it were any other team in the league you might push the panic button. But the Warriors led by Kerr and Curry have earned the benefit of the doubt, for now.