It’s probably a fun time to be a Golden State Warriors hater. As you might have seen in your social media feeds, they’re having a field day with the memes and jokes.
Well, brace yourselves, Dub Nation. Nothing’s going to stop the critics for now. The Warriors are simply off to a rough start. After getting overwhelmed by the Brooklyn Nets on opening day, 125-99, co-led by their former All-Star, Kevin Durant, they were again run over by the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas day (26th in Manila time), 138-99.
Back-to-back blowouts with the latest being worse than the first one? That’s a lot of meme ammo for anyone itching to clown the once-invincible team.
Of course it’s an overreaction, but…
Yes. We know. All of the criticisms are a classic overreaction. The season is only two games in, so it definitely is. But, then again, what did we really expect? It’s that time of the year in the NBA calendar and the horrible numbers are too easy to point out. Aside from failing to crack the century mark, Golden State shot just 35.5% from the floor (25.6% from three) and gave up a total of 259 points (96 in the paint) with 35 threes.
Also, with all the hype for Stephen Curry’s return and how he’ll be able to carry the Warriors again, such knee-jerk reactions from the detractors are an automatic counter. Curry being abysmal on both occasions, and not be average at the very least, didn’t help as well. He’s averaging a yawn-worthy 19.5 PPG on a combined 13-for-38 shooting.
We can only imagine the amount of “I told you so” posts that will be thrown out had Curry powered the Dubs to two victories instead. If he indeed did, most of the critics will be left zipping their lips – yes, the roles will also be reversed and other critics will be screaming “it’s just two games,” but the good majority will likely lay low because we all recognize what Curry and head coach Steve Kerr’s offense are capable of.
Here’s why they’ll be fine, though…
A lot turned against the Warriors’ side, which goes beyond Klay Thompson’s season-ending achilles tear. Look at the brutal opening opponents for starters: the Nets and Bucks are two title contenders with solid talent across the depth chart. Imagine chasing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving all over the floor and then going against Giannis Antetkounmpo’s bully ball attack.
Draymond Green’s absence is vital as well. He’s sidelined with a foot injury and no one is equipped to fill his role as the Warriors’ emotional leader and defensive quarterback. Those voids are bigger than usual in situations like these.
Then, there’s the almost non-existent contribution from wings Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre, the supposed back-up scorers for Curry. The former is at 12.5 PPG with a 29.4 FG% (10/34), while the latter is at an utterly appalling 4.5 PPG with a 16.7 FG% (4/24 FGs). Any star who has co-starters with those shooting percentages will most probably struggle.
Here’s more context as to how terrible the two have been:
Oubre’s futility even set an NBA record:
The good takeaway in all of that is it’s so bad, it can only get better. They’ve basically bottomed out. This is the opposite of when a player is doing so well that it’s obviously not sustainable.
Wiggins and Oubre’s shots will start falling soon, and once they do, Curry will be able to play more comfortably as well. He’s getting easily hounded by the opposition now because they have zero concerns about his teammates. Team chemistry and familiarity with each other’s strengths and tendencies are both going to be better soon too.
Lastly, there’s rookie big man James Wiseman, currently the lone bright spot on the Warriors’ roster. He’s balling out and putting up 18.5 points, 7.5 boards, and 1.5 blocks in just 24.0 minutes of play. We ought to watch out how fast he can develop given that he has the skill and the vast opportunity to get acclimated into top-level pro competition.
The next three teams on the Dubs’ schedule are the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and the Portland Trail Blazers. All are winnable games unlike the Nets and Bucks match-ups, and if they execute well enough, we could be looking at a 3-2 record with much looser Curry and Warriors squad, which should help them be more comfortable moving forward.