DAR Sports: The Pros and Cons Of The 2021 Golden State Warriors

 By True God


It should come as no surprise that at 24 games into the season, the Golden State Warriors are 12-12. With a shaky start to the year on the heels of two blowout losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors started the season looking exactly like the lottery team they were last year, even with Stephen Curry on the floor. After those rough losses, the Warriors have improved to become a near top 10 defense in the NBA and have a 12-10 record since the 0-2 start. There are many good reasons for the Warriors having that record as well as reasons for NOT having a better record, and today we will examine the pros and cons of one of the most popular teams in the NBA.

Pro: Stephen Curry



Steph is an anomaly. One of the most acclaimed superstars in the NBA today and in history, Steph has clearly been the best player and the MVP of the Warriors. Despite a rusty start, Steph has rounded into his usual form and he's doing so against amazing defenses, as well Box And 1s and facing triple teams on a regular basis. By the numbers, Steph is currently having his second highest scoring season (with 2016 obviously being the first). That is an amazing feat considering the way teams have played him, but he is 100% living up to the expectations and one can hope he continues to do so and beyond. Steph usually heats up as the season continues on, so clearly Golden State has him to depend on going forward. His 57 point performance in an excellent showing against the Mavs shows why he is the best point guard in the league and why is he the leader for this team. Here's to another 60 point game this season Steph and more wins. 

Con: Kelly Oubre Jr


So, Oubre is not a complete con in the sense of defense, but his offense has weighed down the Warriors a lot and his plus/minus has been abysmal. To be hard to play next to Steph Curry seems almost impossible, but Oubre is proving that it can happen. Is it Oubre's lack of IQ that hinders him from playing so well next to a player of Steph's caliber? A part of it could be the role they've asked of Oubre, one that doesn't fit him as a player. Oubre is a slasher, a cutter, and he can play fast pace while being a pest on defense, some of which he's done so far. He just doesn't do it consistently enough to put together a good stretch of games. There are times where it feels like Oubre might finally be breaking through, but then other times when he doesn't seem like he has what it takes to fit in. His 40 point anomaly game notwithstanding, his struggles are an obvious issue (don't let the Spurs game fool you either, Oubre's court vision is a GLARING issue. Can Oubre figure out before game 30? That remains to be seen, but it does not look as promising as it did earlier this year. 

Pro: The Bench


There was a time where the second unit would cut the lead that the starters would have for them, but now it's almost the opposite. The bench is good, with a solid shooter in Damion Lee and Mychel Mulder, a true hustle player in Juan Toscano Anderson, as well as the brooding talent of Eric Paschall, savvy veteran leadership of Kent Bazemore, and depending on which day it is, the vet awareness of Kevon Looney or the rookie power of James Wiseman (depending on who is starting). The bench has proven itself to be a great asset for the team, but their lineups seem to be interchangeable and that has caused some of their issues as of late (especially them not having a healthy center as we write this). 

Con: The Bench 


When the second unit is consistent, it is great. When it is not, it is a disaster. In some games, the second unit can extend a lead, but in recent games, especially considering the Celtics loss, they cannot close the gap efficiently. The bench isn't as much of a con as it is a pro YET, but hopefully the bench doesn't fall into prior habits and finds its consistency again. The Golden State bench is actually a good one, the COACHING just needs to put them in the best lineups. 

Pro: Draymond Green's Presence

The Warriors defense with Draymond Green back in the fold has been no short of excellent. He's made such a difference on that end and has seemingly lit a fire under both Wiggins and Oubre defensively, Wiggins being the standout. Draymond's IQ and ability to lead an entire defense is what makes him valuable. There are things that he can do that will never show up on the stat sheet, but if you watch a game, you will see how he impacts it. His court vision and passing are still very good, and his rebounding has started to come back a bit after a slow start there. Once Draymond puts it all together this season, the Warriors should be able to get even better on both ends of the floor. He has his bad moments here and there, but that is expected (minus the dunce moment at the end of the Spurs game). According to Dray, he is one week away from his peak conditioning, so Warriors fans, buckle up. 

Con: Draymond's Offense 

Draymond, for all he does right on the defensive end and playmaking, has not been able to find any rhythm on offense. His shot just isn't falling, he can't get to the hoop as effectively as he used to, and it doesn't seem like there's any fixing that. While Draymond has NEVER been a huge offensive guy anyways (at least scoring wise), he has had some anomaly games, where he's scored over 20 and he averaged double digits before in his career. If Draymond could get his offensive game to where he's at least contributing 8 to 10 points every game, the Warriors already have a better shot at winning the game. Will Draymond ever get his shot fixed? Time will tell, but I wouldn't count on it.

Pro: Andrew Wiggins


For years, people have slandered Andrew Wiggins, mostly for his inconsistent play and lackadaisical attitude toward basketball. Despite Wiggins still being a calm and reserved guy, he has shown more fire in his Warriors career than he did his entire run in Minnesota. Defensively, this is by far the best season of his career, and offensively he's been as consistent as possible, seeing his efficiency rise a bit as well. Wiggins is becoming the wing that Golden State hoped he would be when they picked him up, so hopefully he continues this great stretch he's had so far. 

Con: Steve Kerr's Decision Making/Front Office

I have seen much credit given out to Steve Kerr for managing this team, but honestly, I don't know whaf the hell he's been doing so far this year. It is obvious some lineups don't work, yet Kerr tinkers with very little, sticking to his stubborn guns, and as a result, the Warriors have lost games. If the Warriors are to hit their ceiling, it is clear that Kerr needs to put lineups out there with at least 2 shooters on the floor at the same time, instead Kerr has done the opposite, somehow thinking it was an evil genius move on his part. I've yet to understand Kerr's stubbornness, considering the season is a quarter of the way over already, but it seems as though Bob Myers and Joe Lacob are also NOT moving as fast enough to upgrade the team's roster personnel. Yes, Oubre was an expensive trade piece, but in addition to him, the Warriors have part of their MLE and the full DPE available, and have not made efforts to use either one. That is criminal this far into the season. For one, a new player needs to have several COVID tests before joining team (in most cases), and that could take a week off. In this shortened season, you need to make your moves now and bring in a piece that can contribute and not be cheap. Lacob and company will be fine financially, so help your team get better. Can Kerr, Myers, and Lacob make the right decisions to aid this team? We shall see. 

Pro: James Wiseman

I'll end this section with a pro. James Wiseman, the second pick in the 2020 draft, has been sensational for a 19 year old rookie. He's blocked shots, went coast to coast, knocked down threes, caught a large amount of lobs, and despite his expected struggles as a rookie, he has made the clear case for All Rookie 1st Team and even has a slight case for Rookie Of The Year. What's scary about this kid is that he's already pretty good and he has two of the best leaders in basketball to learn from. Imagine Wiseman when he gets 22 or 23 with years invested in the league. Hell, imagine Wiseman just next year playing with Steph, Klay, Wiggins, and Draymond. He could end up being something really special, especially in an era where the big man has rose up again to show dominance. The sky is the limit for Wiseman. Let's hope the wrist injury isn't a big deal going forward. 

Verdict

This Warriors team should be 4th or 5th in the West. There are a couple of games that were losses due to late adjustments that cost them, COACHING, Oubre's impact, off games for Wiggins and Steph, and the second unit losing leads/letting deficits expand too big. If Wiggins can maintain his level of play, Oubre gets traded or moved around in the lineup, and Paschall, Lee, and Wiseman continue to show their potential, this is a second round exit team, with potential to sneak into the Western Conference Finals. At their worst, they're LIKELY a play-in team with a first round exit written on them or missing the playoffs. So, a lot of this hinges on Steph, Draymond, and every pivotal piece to make sure the Warriors turn a corner this year and never look back. If anyone can do it, Steph and Draymond can. The question is, will the rest of the team follow suit. 

-True

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