Grading Every Key Golden State Warriors Player Heading into NBA All-Star Break
The Golden State Warriors are heading into the NBA All-Star break with a lot of questions, as this team is underperforming. Injuries are having their impact, but most of the players are at least a grade lower than they should be at this point.
The hot start of the season is a distant memory, and the #FullSquad is too. The Dubs are coming out uninspired at home and are forced to climb out of huge holes.
Yes, Stephen Curry is a starter for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game, but that game is just an exhibition and doesn’t factor into team success going forward.
The recent news comes from the comments by Joe Lacob, who is disappointed with where the Warriors currently stand, courtesy of Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. The Warriors have high expectations and so far, they have not reached that level.
Speights is a microcosm of the Warriors bench this season.
He has marginally improved since the beginning of the season, when coach Mark Jackson would work around him and insert other options like Draymond Green in the game. Speights relied too much on his jumper and would not show his physicality.
On the positive side, his field-goal and free-throw percentages have been increasing month-by-month. He has to keep up the consistency, if he wants to have any impact in the playoff run.
Through February 14, Speights is averaging 6.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 0.4 BPG.
Jermaine O’Neal is not having the same impactful season that he did a year ago when he was playing for the Phoenix Suns. O’Neal is struggling with injuries, but he did come back from a potential season and possibly career-ending injury.
When he sees the floor, O’Neal is very athletic for a 35-year-old, 17-year veteran. He still makes plays on both sides of the floor. He continues to make an impact by guiding and encouraging the team from the bench.
Expect O’Neal to see more significant action after the All-Star break until Festus Ezeli returns from his injury. O’Neal can also hold the fort down when Andrew Bogut is on the bench.
O’Neal will help do what he can to chase down that ever elusive NBA title. That is the only thing left that O’Neal does not possess.
Jordan Crawford came over from the Boston Celtics in a three-team trade when Rajon Rondo returned to the Celtics lineup. Crawford had been the featured player in the Celtics backcourt and was now moving to a backup job behind Steph Curry.
Crawford is much more productive on the offensive side than the player he was traded for, Toney Douglas. He is still jacking up shots at unproductive pace, though.
Crawford is shooting below 40 percent (38.6 percent with the Warriors) from the field and only 28 percent from behind the arc. He can handle the ball, but the Warriors need more sustainable production from the backup point guard.
Crawford is currently averaging 6.3 PPG, 2.2 APG and 1.8 RPG in his time with the Dubs.
Harrison Barnes has been the biggest enigma on the roster this season. He hasn’t reminded anyone of the player who dominated in the playoffs last season but has been rather pedestrian.
Barnes is suffering from not being comfortable in his bench role and is possibly having a sophomore slump, too. Barnes is looking better toward the end of the first half, but the consistency is still missing.
He has major potential, but the addition of Andre Iguodala is not helping Barnes take his game to the next level. He is still learning on the court, but his biggest development problem is that he is surrounded by an underperforming bench when he is on the court.
I would look to see coach Mark Jackson put Barnes in more successful situations going forward by teaming him with at least three starters when he plays.
Through February 14, Barnes has a line of 10.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 1.3 APG.
Draymond Green is coach Jackson’s glue guy. He can play either forward position, has an extremely high basketball IQ and can guard all five positions.
As a result, he is taking extra minutes from the remainder of the bench and is starting, with the injury to Andrew Bogut.
Green is a very workmanlike player, who isn’t afraid of anyone on the court. He doesn’t mind getting involved in skirmishes, like the one that caused him to be ejected on Christmas night versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
Green is a lot more reliable statistically this season compared to his rookie season. He has increased his statistics all-around, but he can also be counted on for the clutch, late-game three-pointer.
Green will get more time going forward, especially in the playoff run with a shortened bench.
Green’s numbers so far on the year (through February 14) are 5.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 0.9 BPG.
After a dominant start to the season, Klay Thompson has cooled off. He was lighting up the scoreboard in the first couple of months until his shooting went cold.
His shooting percentage has dropped considerably in December, January and even February. He still has provided solid defense, but the Warriors are missing that extra perimeter option.
He has provided more substance by attacking the basket more often and going away from the singular catch-and-shoot game. However, cold shooting and unreliable play is not helping the Warriors in their current stretch.
Coach Jackson will hope the long break will let Thompson reset his talents and come back closer to how he started the season.
Thompson’s numbers at the break are 18.3 PPG, 2.5 APG and 3.0 RPG.
David Lee is still the most underappreciated player in the league. He brings the numbers and is a vital member to the Golden State Warriors squad.
With the trade deadline looming, Lee is automatically pushed into the trade-talk banter with two $15-plus million seasons left on his contract, per Spotrac. He is Lacob’s first big-time free-agent acquisition, but he will be tough to move unless the team gets a suitable return.
This season, he started the year with a slender frame and a renewed defensive focus. As a result, he has played marginally improved defense, but he has held his own lately.
Lee hit a rough patch in November and December, where he wasn’t averaging his normal double-double and lost his shooting touch. Since that time, he has improved his offensive game to manufacture a lot more of those nights, but it was nothing like last season.
Lee will continue to penetrate to the hole, make efficient passes and contribute as much as he can.
Lee’s current numbers are 18.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG and 2.3 APG.
However, his production since the injury has been marginalized, and he has not been the same player since his return. His offensive statistics are way down, and he has really limited his scoring opportunities.
Iguodala has shot the ball at least 10 times a game only four times since his return from injury. His shooting percentage (48.4 percent) is the highest since his sophomore season, but Iguodala is averaging only 7.4 shots per game.
He is a playmaker and has the skills to drive to the basket and convert or dish off. He needs to put the game in his hands more, which will free up the other Dubs playmakers for higher percentage shots.
His defense is still top-notch, but in order to really get him back in stride, he needs to create more when the ball is in his hands.
Iguodala’s numbers on the season are 9.6 PPG, 4.4 APG and 4.7 RPG.
Andrew Bogut has impressed the Warriors by playing in every game (except his questionable one-game suspension), until his recent injury versus the Utah Jazz. He then became embroiled in a controversy after coach Mark Jackson said he probably hurt himself sleeping.
Bogut has not returned since, but he is excited about the extra rest to return to full strength. He has provided top-notch defense and the animal attitude, but he has also excelled this season on the offensive end.
Bogut is the missing link that this team needs on the offensive side. The Lee and Curry pick-and-roll works fine, but the inside scoring by Bogut spaces the court for the perimeter.
Coach Jackson will have to increase the workload for Bogut and give him more offensive opportunities. Bogut currently averages 27.5 MPG, but he only averages 6.1 shots.
The Warriors were smart to give Bogut the extension, now they just need to utilize his strengths more often. He struggles with free throws, but he needs to be in the game when it really matters.
Bogut’s current line is 8.2 PPG 10.7 RPG and 1.9 BPG.
Just as Stephen Curry goes, the Warriors’ offense goes along with it. He is the playmaker and the engine for the offense, and without him, the team is very average.
As stated before, he made the All-Star team as the starting point guard, which is a tremendous honor in a very competitive Western Conference. He has brought a new definition to a Warriors team that lived in mediocrity.
Curry has demonstrated that he is one of the best all-time shooters, but he is also one of the better point guards around the league. His assist total has risen significantly since last year, and he likes to get his big men involved in the action.
Curry is the face of the Warriors franchise that struggled mightily throughout the old Christopher Cohan ownership. With Joe Lacob and Peter Guber taking the reins, Curry has every opportunity to develop this team into a perennial title contender.
The major drawback with Curry is that he is still turning the ball over way too often. He gives the ball away 4.1 times a game, which is one of the reasons the team ranks 29th in turnovers.
However, he can turn a game around in a hurry with his shooting, and everyone is looking forward to his next foray in the playoffs.
Curry’s line at the break is 24.6 PPG, 9.0 APG, and 4.4 RPG.