Golden State's drafting & development were on display for both teams in win vs Kings
Two former Warrior first round picks put up quality performances last night, but the Dubs are just too deep.
Last night’s 126-114 victory over the Sacramento Kings was a chilling progress report for the NBA on just how well these Golden State Warriors are doing nowadays. Former first round draft pick Klay Thompson is looking like the Death Android again, scoring 23 points in 24 minutes on an unreal pyrotechnic shooting display the likes of which makes NBA 2K opponents rage quit.
The elder Splash Bro Stephen Curry, another Golden State first round pick, knocked down four triples of his own. He also matched Thompson with 7 assists. Some of the passes Curry threw last night hearkened back to the days of Pistol Pete Maravich with their high degree of difficulty and showmanship. This dime whizzed past former teammate Damian Jones’ head like a bullet in the Matrix.
The brothers of Splash fueled a hot night from the field for Golden State, as the Dubs shot 56% from the field, with a fantastic 20-for-42 from beyond the arc. That deadly shooting opened up the whole floor for the Warriors, leading to 18 points from first round pick Jonathan Kuminga.
The rookie shot 8-of-10 from the field and added 7 boards in 26 minutes, gobbling up isolation opportunities when the Kings were stretched thin desperately tracking GSW’s orbiting shooters.
Dub Nation should be salivating that the Warriors have the athletes with the scoring touch to score of that split-post action. I’ve been mentioning it almost a daily basis here at the HQ that this is what will make the Warriors completely unguardable. If the opponents can’t double down on that post catch because they have to run around guarding GSW’s offball movement, it opens the door for guys like Kuminga/Andrew Wiggins/James Wiseman to get busy in a 1v1 matchup close to the basket.
Or, in the case of Wiggins, he can do like In-N-Out burger and just be flat out better than 5 Guys. TAKE THE WHOLE TEAM ON WIGGS!
Terrible intersection of burger joint puns and basketball commentary aside, this offense has players galloping in all directions with purpose. They’re spacing the floor, cutting to the rim, and driving into the paint with bad intentions. And this is without Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, two championship tested floor generals.
Speaking of Green, I hear he’s an All-Star!
I can’t be bothered to look through any “Draymond needs to be traded” receipts some of the bolder commenters in Dub Nation may spewed into the interwebs, but this selection is validation that he’s still a powerful force for Golden State. He’s completely outperformed all expectations as a former second-round pick, and is one of the shining examples of Golden State’s player development in the last decade.
Which brings me to a couple guys the Warriors spent some time developing over that time period that were wearing purple-and-white last night.
Harrison Barnes, the 7th overall pick in 2012, was doing his damndest to have a revenge game last night with 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. Everytime Barnes made a tough bucket last night I wondered if his internal monologue was like “See! Yall done messed up by letting me go after the 73-win season!”
And then there was Damian Jones, the Warriors’ first round pick in 2016, one year after the team picked Kevon Looney. I really had high hopes for DJ as a new-age big who could run the floor, command the boards and protect the rim, and knock down an open jumper.
I definitely recall giving the former G-League All-Star tons of love on GSOM back when he was a sparingly played young project the Dubs were grooming towards being a rotation player.
Unfortunately, Jones never really developed to being the factor the Warriors were hoping for. The residual disappointment the fanbase felt towards the front office not getting more out of the big man is probably partially to blame for the fear that last year’s first round pick James Wiseman will be a bust.
But last night Jones showed out with 17 points in 24 minutes off the bench of Sacramento. He added 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks and even nailed three-pointer!
Jones and Barnes may no longer be a part of the Warriors dynasty, but their formative years with Golden State are paying dividends for their careers elsewhere. You know, I’ve thought alot about the comparison between Barnes and Wiggins during Maple Jordan’s time here. One of the reasons I figured Wiggins would be a good fit is I figured he could at LEAST space the floor and play defense like the Black Falcon did.
If Kevin Durant was the ceiling of what a small forward looks like for Dub Nation, Barnes was the perfectly adequate floor for what the fanbase expected out of that position. Better than Glenn Robinson III and Alfonzo McKinnie… but not an All-Star.
Its kinda shocking to say this but Wiggins is showing he has the starpower and skillset to be compared to KD. Yes, that’s right, Wiggins is bringing some of the same stuff to the table that the 2X Finals MVP KD did! But don’t take my word for it:
P.S. I fully expect Durant to drop 60 points on us for this borderline blasphemy if the Warriors meet in the NBA Finals lololol.