Game Thread: Iguodala out for Golden State against the Kings, who gets the minutes?
plus, the Kings once again looking good enough to break hearts
One thing that has remained constant throughout the rise and pause of the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty has been that the Sacramento Kings always give a tough accounting of themselves whenever the two teams meet. After a couple of seasons as a mushy mess, Golden State has emerged from their chrysalis and has spent the first two games of the 2021-2022 season flapping their way to a couple of beautiful victories.
The Warriors have listed Andre Igoudala as “questionable” for tonight. He slipped in the last game on a wet spot, and didn’t practice yesterday, so my guess is that the solid veteran will get a rest day. It leaves a big hole in the rotation, but also, a big opportunity for the team’s deepest position.
The only other injury update for the Warriors is that rookie Jonathan Kuminga is back on the initial timeline after a scary knee injury in preseason. He’s still out for a bit, but good news for a promising young player.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (2-0) at Sacramento Kings (1-1)
WHEN: Sunday October 24, 2021 // 6:00pm PST
Blog Buddy: Kings Herald
Who gets the minutes if Iguodala can’t go?
Iguodala is averaging 8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in just over 23 minutes per game. While the first stat is probably the one that most will be surprised by, it’s the last one that matters the most today. Of course, as always, the impact of his minutes is understated by the counting stats, so he’ll be sorely missed no matter what. But with those open minutes, the Warriors have a number of options to look at.
Just looking at the Warriors depth chart and personnel, the most obvious answer to replacement Iguodala minutes might be a combination of Otto Porter and Juan Toscano-Anderson. But the Kings are tough. And knowing what we know about Kerr and the team right now, it’s certainly reasonable to wonder if he just leans higher on the upper end of the roster.
Curry, averaging 37 minutes a night over the first two games is fully utilized, but someone like perhaps, Damion Lee? Remember that he was hugely important last season? He’s once again sneakily playing a big role off Golden State’s bench. One thing’s for sure, if Igoudala can’t go, it leaves a big gap to fill.
Two games in, and two great wins over a couple of solid teams. For the Warriors, it’s a good early indication that the plans they’ve drawn up for the season could work. Led by Curry and Green, the warriors have been running fast (and maybe a little too loose). But the biggest roster concerns with the team assembled here was always going to be about health. Having the broad depth that Golden State does on the wings will help cover the potential absence of Iguodala, but how well that coverage will hold up matters most.
Nemanja Bjelica has been fantastic so far, and though the matchup battle may curtail his minutes against a small, fast, Kings team, players always bring a little extra against their old teams:
Oh Sacramento, can you make the playoffs this year?
The Sacramento Kings are one of my adopted secondary-favorites because one of my coolest coworkers roots for them. There’s a wry energy that Kings fans have when talking about their beloved “Kangz” - a team that has shown tons of promise, but reliably fell short of excellence. There’s a lovely “Charlie Brown and Lucy holding the football” to fans that root for this team, because it is yet another year where it feels like this could be the time where they finally make the leap and become a playoff team.
The Kings have Tyrese Haliburton starting, which moves Buddy Hield (and his $22million contract) to an extremely effective bench scorer role. He’s averaging 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting a blistering 45% from deep. Our old friend, Harrison Barnes is off to a shockingly good start as well, averaging a whopping 30.5 points and 12 rebounds over the first two games.
But it’s the Kings feisty set of little guards that will be the story tonight. De’Aaron Fox, Heild, and rookie defensive savant, Davion Mitchell will be a handful.
The Kings are 1-1 after a tight victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, and then a late meltdown loss against the Utah Jazz, I think it’s safe to say that the Kings will be very much a mixed bag this season.
Barnes and Wiggins. Curry and Poole versus Mitchell’s defense. And the Kings offensive bench against the Warriors offensive bench. I’m really looking forward to this.