Warriors Dealing With 1 ‘Big Worry’ Amid Struggles: Sources

Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Jonathan Kuminga of the Golden State Warriors.

Getty Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Jonathan Kuminga of the Golden State Warriors.

After winning the championship last season, the Golden State Warriors have struggled mightily to start this season. They are currently 7-9, including an 0-8 record on the road, which places them at 11th in the Western Conference – out of the Play-In picture.

Slow starts happen, but according to sources who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, the Warriors are “worried” about their poor bench unit.

“I think they’re worried that this is not just a championship hangover thing, and that is not just a Draymond vs. Jordan Poole thing. The bench is a big, big worry,” a Western Conference executive told Deveney. “They had three guys – [Gary] Payton [II], Otto Porter, and [Nemanja] Bjelica – who were big for them last year, and they have got no one filling those roles. Poole has been good, but the rest of the bench is a disaster. They’re having to play Steph and Klay and all the starters, really, a lot more than they want to.”

So far this season, Golden State’s bench unit has been extremely disappointing. The second unit ranks 25th in three-point percentage (32.7%), 30th in turnovers (7.3), and 30th in plus/minus (-4.8).

As the executive noted, Poole is the only bench player giving them decent production, and even he has dealt with struggles this year. Poole is averaging 15.9 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, but he’s shooting just 41.5% from the field and 33.9% from distance. Both of those numbers are down from last year.

Injury to Warriors Guard Was Serious Setback

Golden State signed Donte DiVincenzo this offseason in an attempt to replace the production of Payton. Unfortunately, he has dealt with injury issues to start the season, meaning he hasn’t been able to help Golden State’s ben as much as they had hoped.

The executive told Deveney that “they were hoping” to give him a lot of responsibilities right away.

“The injury to DiVincenzo has been tough for them because they were hoping to put a lot on him early in the year,” the executive said. “The young guys have not gone into their roles the way they wanted. Right now, it is a lot more than the off-court stuff that they are worried about. They’re worried about everybody beyond that starting five.”

So far this year, DiVincenzo has only appeared in eight of the Warriors’ 16 games so far, playing 16.1 minutes per game. He has averaged 4.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on 40.0% shooting from the field and 36.4% shooting from three-point range.

Warriors Legend Not Worried About Slow Start

While reports may indicate Golden State’s potential concern, Warriors legend Chris Mullin said that fans shouldn’t worry about the slow start.

“I think what you said, Klay [Thompson] starts making some shots, all of a sudden it’s not as much talk about him recovering,” Mullin explained on KNBR‘s Tolbert & Copes. “Because, I, quite frankly, thought what he did last year was way more challenging than what he’s going through now. And he handled that pretty well. So I’m really not overly concerned about that. And then it’s just, acclimating the young guys. On paper, they’re the perfect fit to mesh with the older players. [James] Wiseman, [Moses] Moody and [Jonathan] Kuminga, long, athletic, explosive athletes. It just hasn’t happened yet. But I do believe it will.”

Until Golden State’s bench turns thing around, they will likely continue to struggle.

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