Here are my 3 takeaway’s from last nights preseason loss to the Kings.
Andrew Wiggins Offensive Struggles Continue
Expectations for Andrew Wiggins are at the highest they’ve been in the last couple of years. Especially now that the Warriors know Klay Thompson won’t be stepping onto the court until 2022 at the earliest. Without Klay’s elite 2-way presence, the Warriors will rely on Wiggins to help fill that void at the #2 spot. But through two preseason games, he has struggled to find a rhythm. Wiggins throughout his career has averaged 20 PPG, but has failed to reach that point total through the first two games. In fact, Wiggins has only scored 20 points total through two games. He ended last night’s game against the Kings with 12 points on 3/12 shooting, 1-5 from beyond the arc, and overall, he didn’t look aggressive when he had the ball in his hands. Now to be fair, it is only Wiggins 14th game on the Warriors and it is preseason, but I was hoping he would try to assert himself more as the 2nd option behind Steph. That wasn’t the case. If the Warriors want to compete, they need Wiggins to perform better on the offensive end.
Warriors Offense Stagnant Without Steph
The Warriors looked great during the 28 minutes Stephen Curry was out on the court. The other 20.. not so much. As Anthony Slater noted, the Warriors offense was “vulnerable” whenever Steph was taken off the floor. In the opening quarter, Steph scorched the Kings with 11 quick points, starting the game off 4/5 from the field. After that, the lead was erased within minutes, as the Warriors second unit struggled to execute in their half court sets. On top of that, nobody on the Warriors other than Stephen Curry and Marquese Chriss could provide a spark offensively. Steve Kerr said his goal is to play Steph around 32 minutes per game, but that may not be an option if they cannot find ways to minimize damage when Steph is on the sideline.
Defense Takes A Step Back
Steve Kerr has made his expectations of being a top 10 defense very clear this offseason. Against the Nuggets, the Warriors showcased their ability to be a top 10 defense. But the question is, can they do it on a consistent basis? So far this preseason the answer is no, and here’s why. There were a lot of plays against the Kings where the Warriors gave up open 3-point looks because they were overplaying assignments, rotating late, and ball watching. In the first quarter, Andrew Wiggins gave up back to back 3-pointers to Buddy Hield because he was watching the ball on the other side of the court, allowing the skip pass to sail over his head. Then later in the game, Brad Wanamaker gave up back to back trey balls to Kyle Guy because he was caught up overplaying his assignment. Those types of mental errors won’t propel the Warriors in the defensive top 10, or the playoffs for that matter. But like I stated before, it’s only preseason, guys are adjusting to the new system, and of course, short handed with the absences of Draymond Green, James Wiseman, and Eric Paschall.