The Week That Was:
In last week’s preview section, I wrote that 2-2 would be reasonable given the tough home opponents. Well, it turned out to be 1-3 after disappointing losses at Charlotte and Phoenix and a winnable but justifiable loss at home to Houston. That said, the win against Dallas on a Steph Curry game winner (his first since high school, amazingly enough) certainly had some encouraging signs.
The Soapbox: All Hands on Deck
Everyone who reads this column has an understanding that this Warriors team has looked incredibly beatable without Andre Iguodala. The defense has looked closer to previous Warriors teams and moving Harrison Barnes from the bench to the starting lineup has weakened the second unit in wholly unsurprising ways. While little can be gained in the standings from struggles like these, now would be an excellent time for an “all hands on deck” philosophy to try and find something to keep them afloat.
The challenge with a concept like this is that everyone has to buy in. A “we’ll try anything and everything” approach cannot work with any sacred cows because it hurts the credibility of the exercise and removes urgency for those being protected. As an example, after Friday’s game against the Rockets where Marreese Speights had a shockingly great fourth quarter, Coach Jackson said after the game that “I did not consider Mo ending the game” while he did extend his minutes. While I am quite happy he was willing to adjust somewhat based on performance, moving one more step in that direction could help immensely on a team with this much inconsistency. Green, Thompson, Barnes, O’Neal (now out), Lee, and Speights have all had games strong enough to warrant inclusion in the final group and other ones where that would be counterproductive.
The other benefit of a more open minutes/rotation system for the time being is providing chances to see how different groups of players fit together in terms of offense and defense. Last year, Harrison Barnes played only 1% of Golden State’s minutes at Power Forward in the regular season and nearly all of those were with Lee at Center rather than Bogut or Ezeli. Even small stretches with that lineup could have given an indication that it could work and helped the team win games during the regular season and build confidence. This season, Barnes has played a whopping 2% of Golden State’s PF minutes though he missed a few games due to injury.
Expressing a willingness to try anything and everything to pull through while Andre Iguodala sits and actually following through could provide the best possible silver lining for this tough situation.
The Week to Come:
A potentially useful stretch for the Warriors with only three games this week, all at home and without any back to backs. Tuesday brings the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans to town, who unfortunately (for Warriors fans) still have stretch four shooter and Cal alum Ryan Anderson at Power Forward. Thursday has a TNT match-up with the Spurs and Saturday brings Kobe to town for the first and only time this season.
While this team will continue to struggle as long as Iguodala is not on the floor, I fully expect a 2-1 week considering their opponents.