Stephen Curry vents amid Warriors season that already looks lost: 'We need to win — immediately'
This season shouldn't go like this.
After a campaign lost to injury and exodus, 2020-21 should see a return to relevance for the Golden State Warriors. Another championship contender on the bay old school Splash Brothers style.
But like so much in 2020, those plans went up in smoke, largely thanks to the off-season Achilles tear that Klay Thompson suffered from. It's a devastating setback that will cost him a second straight season after losing to a torn ACL in 2019-20.
Warrior blown out again
Two games in the season against two of the top teams in the East and the Warriors see the lottery much closer than a return to championship form. Golden State followed up Thursday's loss to the Brooklyn Nets with a dud on Christmas Day to the Milwaukee Bucks, a 138-99 setback that suggests the Warriors are unwilling to attend a loaded Western Conference.
Stephen Curry, the two-time MVP and sole prop on the floor of the Golden State championship heyday, is frustrated.
That's not how this season should go in the Golden State. (Sarah Stier / Getty Images)
"We have to win," Curry told reporters after the loss on Friday. "Right away."
What do the warriors need to fix what makes them sick?
"I don't know," continued Curry. “We just have to focus more on what we're trying to do. Sometimes when you miss shots you tend to force and push rather than think.
"Our group's collective IQ needs to get a lot better in those moments when you're not recording."
Gone from the core of the Warriors 2019 Finals are Thompson and Kevin Durant, who look very much like an MVP contender with the Nets in their first few games after his own serious injury. You obviously don't go through the door.
Draymond Green was also missing and prevailed at the 0-2 start with a slight foot injury. He is expected to return soon, possibly for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bulls.
New Warrior's core doesn't cut it
In their place are Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr. and rookie James Wiseman. With a nod to Wiseman's more than promising start, this is a core that failed to live up to expectations in two games, let alone fill the shoes of its all-NBA predecessors.
Wiggins was acquired last season to fill the massive void on the late Durant's grand piano while ensuring that Golden State saw a long-term return on its investment in D'Angelo Russell. It was of course never expected that the former overall number one would replace Durant.
But it should be better. Wiggins continued his 4-of-16 performance on opening night with another disaster from the field on Friday. He scored 12 points against the bucks on 6 of 18, including missed shots on all four of his 3-point attempts.
Oubre was somehow worse. The former Phoenix Sun, won after the Thompson injury this off-season, scored three points in a 10-1 shootout from the field at Christmas. He missed all five of his 3-point attempts. Friday's game followed a 3:14 attempt against the nets. He's not a splash brother.
James Wiseman looks like the real deal. (AP Photo / Kathy Willens)
There is a ray of hope for Golden State
Wiseman has given the glimmer of hope for the warriors' slow start. The rookie center averages 18.5 points, seven rebounds and 1.5 blocks in its brief NBA tenure, while connecting 4 out of 5 3-point attempts. It's the inside-out game the Warriors relied on when they made the athletic 7-footer number 2 in the draft.
However, a rookie center that faces up is not enough to make Golden State competitive, especially if Curry doesn't resemble its earlier form. The Warriors' sniper combines only 34.2% of his field goal attempts, a rate that is weighed down by a 4 out of 20 attempt from 3 point distance in two games.
It's certainly better to come from Curry, who missed all but five games with a broken hand last season. Oubre and Wiggins need to improve too. How could they not?
But even then, it is hard to imagine that this version of the warriors poses any threat in the west.
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