Opponent: Golden State Warriors
Starting Lineup: D’Angelo Russell – Damion Lee – Glenn Robinson III – Draymond Green – Willie Cauley-Stein
Second Unit: Jordan Poole – Jacob Evans – Alec Burks – Eric Paschall – Omari Spellman – Marquese Chriss
Leading Scorer: Russell (23.4 PPG)
Leading Rebounder: Green (6.3 RPG)
Leading Assists: Russell (6.4 APG)
Biggest Strength: Bench Scoring
It’s tough to find a true strength from the Warriors, as they are arguably the worst team in the NBA right now. A difficult task to consider is containing their bench, which does have an abundance of above-average bench scorers. Burks looks like a possible trade candidate for a contender that needs a spark off the bench, and Paschall and Spellman look like they’ve played their way into the Warriors rotation for future years. Not to mention that Poole and Evans have the raw skill to put the ball in the basket (although, their efficiency is garbage, and they’ve yet to show they can score consistently at this level). In their loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, their bench was three points shy of outscoring their starters.
Biggest Weakness: Overall talent
Without Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, this is easily the least talented team in the NBA. Russell is putting together a decent season. His numbers are similar to last year’s all-star campaign. But after that? They don’t have another player that has played like a significantly above-average contributor. Burks, Paschall and Robinson have some good qualities, but they are all still average role players. Green looks unplayable right now without the best shooting duo in NBA history by his side. The advanced stats back this up, as Russell, Cauley-Stein and Chriss are the only Warriros with a positive BPM. Poole and Evans have been so bad they both have negative win shares on the year. That’s tough to do. This team just doesn’t have the players to keep up right now.
The X-Factor: Paschall
Paschall has had an up-and-down season, specifically with his scoring. But lately? He’s been on fire. In his last five games, Paschall is averaging 17 PPG on 54% shooting from the floor and 38.4% from beyond the arc. However, he can go through some tough slumps too. Between December 9 and December 31, Paschall averaged 5 PPG on 35.9% from the floor. Which Paschall will we see tonight? A sparkplug off the bench is always beneficial for pulling off an upset.
Once Curry went down with a broken hand four games into the year, this season turned into a wash for the Warriors. There’s some positives that have come out of it, such as the possibility of getting small assets out of Burks and Robinson and the rise of Paschall and Spellman as possible rotation players in the future. However, this season has been tough for Warriors fans to watch. The biggest reason for their fall has been the lack of positive play out of Green. The former DPOY has been bad on both ends this year, and he’s been nearly unplayable in 2020. He might still turn out to be a critical piece once Curry and Thompson come back, but without them, he isn’t even close to the player he’s shown to be. That leaves all the weight on Russell, who hasn’t played bad, but just not good enough to keep the team afloat. The Indiana Pacers are the better team in this matchup from top to bottom.