Power Ranking Warriors Roster Based on Regular-Season Performance
A strange season was probably always inevitable for the Golden State Warriors.
Between the return of Klay Thompson from a two-year layoff, the introduction of two NBA lottery picks in Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody and the overall attempt by the front office to simultaneously push for present and future championships, this campaign was never going to be straightfoward.
And it wasn't.
The Warriors had a long stretch where they looked like they were the best team in basketball. For the past few months, though, they've looked more like a lottery side while struggling to hold things together during the injury absences of first Draymond Green and later Stephen Curry.
While the Dubs still have three games to go—and a few different playoff seeds where they could land—there's enough evidence already to assess each player's performance and rank them based on the season they produced.
Unranked: James Wiseman
Deep sigh. The sequel to Wiseman's rocky but semi-intriguing rookie season never got off the ground, as the same knee injury that cut his first campaign short wound up derailing his entire sophomore year, too.
16. Chris Chiozza
Considering Chiozza isn't an unproven player but rather someone seeing NBA minutes for the fourth consecutive season, there may have been actual expectations attached to his two-way contract. If there were, he met none of them. His player efficiency rating is a dreadful 4.5, and he has produced negative win shares (minus-0.005 per 48 minutes), per Basketball-Reference.com.
15. Quinndary Weatherspoon
Weatherspoon escapes the cellar due to Chiozza's anemic numbers, but that's as far as the positives have gotten during his limited run with the big league Warriors (69 minutes over 10 outings).
14. Moses Moody
Billed as the more NBA-ready of Golden State's two lottery picks, Moody never found consistency as a rookie—not by the numbers, though not by the role, either. He had a few encouraging moments when Golden State let him spread his wings, but there was presumably a reason he wasn't afforded more floor time.
13. Juan Toscano-Anderson
The secret sauce that helped Toscano-Anderson lock down a glue-guy role last season never quite came together this time around. He is average or above in a lot of different areas, but his plummeting three-point percentage (40.2 last season, 30.6 this one) limited his opportunities.
12. Andre Iguodala
The idea of an Iguodala reunion was objectively fun, and maybe his IQ-driven defense will still have an impact in the postseason. For a regular-season evaluation, though, there isn't much to reward him on other than ball control (3.7 assists against 0.9 turnovers per game).
11. Damion Lee
Lee is a shooter by trade, which makes his sagging splash rate hard to stomach. Last season, he hit 39.7 percent of his long-range looks; this year, he's down to a below-average 33.7.
The Middle Class
10. Nemanja Bjelica
Bjelica faces defensive limitations on multiple fronts, since he isn't a shot-blocker and can be exploited in space. But he has proved a capable (if, at times, reluctant) shooter, smart passer and active enough rebounder.
9. Otto Porter Jr.
Porter's game seemed tailor-made for this system, and he has mostly delivered on that promise. He has had better shooting seasons before, but a 36.8 percent connection rate is where he needs it to keep defenders honest and maintain proper spacing.
8. Klay Thompson
It's tempting to grade Thompson on a curve, since his previous two seasons were completely erased by injuries, but this type of exercise doesn't allow for that. He's had more good moments than rough ones (along with a few great outings), but he seems to have lost a step defensively, and he has never posted worse shooting rates from the field (41.8) or from three (37.1).
7. Gary Payton II
Payton is a star defensively—FiveThirtyEight's RAPTOR places him fourth overall on that end—but his offensive impact takes a big hit when he can't get around the basket. This will still go down as his strongest shooting season, but a 36.4 percent conversion rate on low volume (1.7 attempts per outing) isn't exactly transformational.
6. Andrew Wiggins
This feels (and, honestly, might be) low given the fact that Wiggins was an All-Star starter, but he has cooled considerably since getting that nod. Before the All-Star break, he was putting up 17.7 points on 48.1/41.4/66.1 shooting. Since then, he's down to 15.3 points with a 42.0/32.6/58.9 slash.
The Best of the Bunch
5. Jonathan Kuminga
The NBA game sometimes seems a beat too fast for Kuminga, but his explosive athleticism and wealth of physical tools have a way of masking that. His role has been held in check relatively by Golden State's championship aspirations, but there have been flashes of legitimate stardom. And his ability to lock down a rotation spot for a contender as a raw, 19-year-old rookie says plenty about his game.
4. Kevon Looney
Looney's lack of size (6'9", 222 lbs) gets exploited every now and then, but it's otherwise hard to find fault with Golden State's rock in the middle. He could be a walking double-double if given enough floor time (12.4 rebounds and 10.2 points per 36 minutes), and he simplifies the game for his teammates as a solid screener, slick passer and right-place, right-time team defender.
3. Jordan Poole
Poole made a big push for Most Improved Player, and it wouldn't be shocking if he winds up taking home the hardware. If not, this season will still be a smashing success for the third-year scoring guard, whose many career highs include 18.4 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 three-pointers at a 36.8 percent clip.
2. Draymond Green
Green's value was perhaps best captured by his absence, as the Warriors weren't forced to relinquish their juggernaut status until he was shelved for two months by a back injury. In many ways, he means as much to this system's success as anyone, since he is the team's top table-setter and stopper.
1. Stephen Curry
Despite posting the worst three-point percentage of his career (in a full season, at least), Curry had a convincing MVP argument for much of this campaign. Golden State's second-half swoon and his recent foot injury probably knocks him out of that conversation, but his value is nevertheless immense. The Warriors outscore opponents by 10.7 points per 100 possessions with him and get outscored by 2.9 points per 100 possessions without, per NBA.com.