Still no Wiggins or Curry, Warriors add Kuminga and Wiseman to injury report
Turbulence in Atlanta shows just how hard it is to build - much less re-build again and again
The Golden State Warriors closed out 2022 with four straight wins, all without Stephen Curry or Andrew Wiggins. Well, there’s some not-so-great news ahead of today’s showdown with the Atlanta Hawks. That brings us to a grand total of six Warriors players that will not be available this evening.
Can the remaining Golden State players do the improbable and find a way to scrounge a win out of the cushions yet again? Draymond Green has reportedly been battling his old back injury, so even the guys that are available are a bit banged up.
New year, but feels like some extremely familiar problems.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (19-18) vs Atlanta Hawks (17-19)
WHEN: Monday, January 2nd, 2023 // 7pm PDT
WATCH: NBCSBA; NBATV
Strength in numbers, part IX - the further strengthening!
Halfway through their eight game homestand, the Warriors gone undefeated at home to rise back above .500 as the calendar flips to a new year. Three of those four wins were all against teams that were ahead of them in the standings; making this an important push of wins on a number of levels.
They did it all without Wiggins or Curry because so many of the supporting players have stepped up. Just to mention a couple of them:
-Jordan Poole has averaged around 31 points a game, carrying the Warriors offense efficiently;
-Jonathan Kuminga has emerged as an asset. As we’ve been saying around here since the season started, Golden State really only needs one or two guys to emerge from the pack. Kuminga has closed the last two games. His combination of athleticism and a growing ability to be a plus defender and willing passer are finding traction for one of the Warriors’ most important development projects.
The emergence of Kuminga has been fun to watch, and his growing importance within the team’s rotation has been evident for a while. I know many were expecting Wiggins return to bolster the rotation, so to see him still out - in addition to the more recent guests on the injury report is galling. From Cleaning the Glass, check out the trending pattern of Kuminga’s workload:
No sweat for a Warriors coaching staff that is accustomed to adjusting on the fly this season. Let’s remember that Andre Iguodala has yet to suit up for a game, and JaMychal Green is still out with a lower right leg infection (specific details on this injury are incredibly sparse online).
The availability issues are going to have a huge impact today. Presumably, Kevon Looney and Draymond Green will be asked to carry more minutes. But with both looking a little rough around the edges to my subjective eyes recently, I was hoping for them to get a breather soon. Not tonight though.
Is it drama, or are the Hawks just not that good?
It’s funny how just a couple games above or below the .500 threshold can feel so significant. Both the Warriors and Hawks are ninth in their respective conferences, but it seems like maybe things are not going so well down in Atlanta.
Here’s the gist of that article, but the whole thing is worth a read.
McMillan’s job status came into question across the NBA after his exchange with Hawks All-NBA star Trae Young at a gameday shootaround. His job status has been considered safe, and the Hawks have wanted to finish out the season with McMillan on the sideline, sources said. But McMillan, 58, appears to be near the end of his tenure with the Hawks after the season — unless there’s a resignation before then.
Ex-Warrior front office member, Travis Schlenk stepped down from his position and reportedly will serve as “an adviser to the organization.” Of course, in high pressure, high profile situations like the scrutiny is as high as possible pretty much all of the time - but there’s no pressure quite like trying to build off some early playoff success around your young core.
None of this happens in a vacuum, so it’s hard to separate the individual player struggles from the organizational chaos; but man, this does not sound good.
… Young and coach Nate McMillan had an exchange at Friday’s shootaround that led to Young choosing not to attend the team’s home win over Denver…
While Young was receiving treatment on his right shoulder, sources say McMillan asked him whether he would participate in shootaround, receive treatment during walk-through and play in the game against the Nuggets. But Young made it clear that he wanted to focus solely on his treatment while missing shootaround and deciding later in the day whether he would play.
That approach, however, was not McMillan approved. Since the face of the Hawks’ franchise was deciding not to take part in shootaround, McMillan ultimately presented him with two options for that night’s game, sources said: Play off the bench — or do not show up to the arena. Young responded by saying he would not be playing against the Nuggets, and the team ruled him out while citing right shoulder soreness.
Thank goodness (once again) that Curry and the Warriors have successfully navigated so many issues that have brought down many teams.
The Hawks might be down, but are far from out. Expect them to have this one circled as a must-win after dropping three straight. Especially given how short handed Golden State is, this isn’t going to be an easy game.