Dubs host Lakers; Kuminga out for rest of preseason with knee strain
Wiggins possibly resting; but Curry and others are good to go
The preseason is a strange time. These games are hugely important for player development, determining bench rotations, and identifying any synergies or conflicts. And yet - at the same time - these games don’t really matter.
So it’s a bummer that Jonathan Kuminga tweaked his knee in the last game. Though the MRI confirmed that it was just a mild sprain, the week that he needs before getting re-evaluated is going to keep him out of action for the remainder of the preseason.
It sounds like Andrew Wiggins is questionable for the game, but nothing serious. Though no definitive information was available at time of writing, we’ll keep you posted below as any new updates become available.
Tonight’s opponent: whatever dregs of the Los Angeles Lakers roster is around while the old stars rest up. Nah just kidding, this should be a good one. The first of two consecutive matchups, there’s always something a little special anytime a LeBron James team goes against the Warriors, no matter who plays.
WHO: Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers
WHEN: Friday, October 8, 2021 // 7:00 pm PST
The intersection of data, information, and belief
John Hollinger doesn’t believe in the Warriors.
As the Golden State Warriors light the fanbase on fire with their fiery displays of basketball prowess, there are many who are doubtful that the roster has meaningfully improved from last season. Heck, even within our own staff here at DNHQ, we have near daily disagreements on how to grade the team’s offseason: A (incorrect), or was it a B grade (blasphemy)?
The most high profile recent heretic voiced his views in this article.
It’s paywalled, but allow me to summarize from Hollinger’s projection section:
Vegas has the Warriors with the fourth-best championship odds — which I first thought was a typo and seems absolutely hilarious, but there it is. Yes, Golden State’s depth pieces are better this season, but none of its frontcourt players can score, the shot creation remains limited and two of the three stars who sent this core to five straight Finals are losing their war against Father Time. A healthy Curry playing at an MVP level might get this team to a mid-tier playoff seed…
I had a lot of issues with that article. For one thing, the author has striated everyone into groups (starter, reserve, deep bench), which would be fine - even helpful for someone hoping to understand the team. But he doesn’t explain anything. Just plop. Looney, for example, is labeled as a “deep reserve” because he has “zero athletic pop left.”
Not only could anyone who watched this team over the past couple of year tell you that Looney is a key rotation player, but they’d also laugh at the premise that Looney’s positional value is at all related to any sort of “athletic pop.”
And then there’s this gentleman.
Thompson, famously, is not beloved by the advanced metrics because he doesn’t rebound, block shots, or create assists at an elite level. And yet it’s clear that he isn’t just one of the best players on this team, he’s one of the best in the entire league.
You need to apply some analysis to understand model bias, player role, and all the rest. That's how you turn data into information. It's just reading off a bunch of numbers if you don't!
Maybe I’m the wrong guy to give this talk. After all, I was wrong about Wiggins. His arrival has been far less disastrous than I first expected (though the opportunity costs of that salary are nothing to scoff at). And same goes for the free agent acquisitions.
Anyways, my point with all of this is that the data is never the entire story. This team looks like a playoff contender now, and I can only imagine their trajectory will reach higher when Klay Thompson returns. So, as a nerd, I’m here to tell you to not always listen to the nerds.
Poole party!! Again?
One of the ways that the Warriors can break through this year woukd be for an existing player to take a big leap. All of the early returns are pointing squarely at Jordan Poole as being that guy.
I can’t recall if I’ve shared this here before, but I’d like to draw your attention back to last season. Poole did a stint in the G League, and then came back on fire. It just so happened to coincide nicely with some unfortunate injury luck, but the silver lining was that Poole exploded on the scene upon his return to the NBA.
This graphic is pulled from an excellent piece from Marcus Thompson over at The Athletic; check out Poole’s end-of-season run:
The assists and scoring went up along with his minutes, but no matter how you want to parse it, that’s a snapshot of a man who has earned the team’s confidence. Averaging over 23 minutes per game as the season’s pressure reached it’s apex, Poole was one of the great stories that came out of a season that ultimately fell short.
But he’s back this year. And it’s a cliche, but he is in fact, better than ever.
I remember watching Curry and Thompson and Green turn from interesting role players to “wow, this kid could be a star” to “WOW, this guy is a star!”
Poole seems to be on that same path. The timing here is working out great for it too. He’ll get a lot of opportunities to show that he belongs.
But above all, it’s just really, really fun to watch.
I’ll cover the Lakers after getting a look at them tonight (since we are playing them two times in a row here). Instead, I’m dusting off my favorite mildly popular feature here - where I share some of the music I enjoy, and you either ignore it, or check it out below.
Fresh off of Social Distortion last night, I’m breaking my own rule and going to back-to-back shows tonight!! Heading into Berkeley for Grumpster (who I’ve shared here before), and Anti-Flag. You may know them from that “Die for you government” song but here’s a little bit of punk rock to send you off to your weekend.