Warriors’ Star Draymond Green Sounds Off After Unsettling Loss

Draymond Green, Warriors

Getty Draymond Green, Warriors

The Golden State Warriors don’t have too much experience losing games this season, especially not the way they fell to the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday night.

One member of the team was particularly upset by the way the evening went, and took to Twitter to share his displeasure.

“It’s been a couple years since losing a game bothered me this much,” Warriors star forward Draymond Green posted early Sunday morning, December 12. “This is good.”

Golden State Suffered Through Host of Struggles in Philly Saturday

Kevon Looney

GettyKevon Looney handles the ball during a game against the Phoenix Suns.

Green was ambiguous about precisely why Saturday’s loss on the road in Philadelphia bothered him more than any over the last two seasons, but there are plenty of potential reasons from which to choose.

It could be that it was the Dubs’ largest margin of defeat on the season (9 points), falling to the Sixers by a score of 102-93. The Warriors (21-5) lost by 8 points to the Suns in Phoenix on November 30, though that game played considerably more competitively down the stretch.

The loss in Philly felt like the first time all year that fans looking on knew the Warriors simply didn’t have it, that Golden State would be beaten. Based on Green’s reaction, it sounds like maybe the Dubs’ locker room knew it, too.

The team played its worst game of the year offensively, falling nearly 20 points shy of its nightly season scoring average of 112.5 points. Golden State’s shooting was abysmal, including 12-of-48 from behind the 3-point line as part of an overall effort of 34-of-85 from the field

It could also be that Green himself failed to make his usual impact on the game. The leader in individual defensive rating this season, per StatMuse, Green came in below his season averages almost entirely across the board with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists on the night.

Warriors’ Struggles Against Sixers Reveal Weakness on Roster


GettyGolden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and point guard Stephen Curry during a game on October 28, 2021.

But perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the loss, and certainly the most disconcerting moving forward, was the Warriors’ inability as a team to battle the towering and overpowering 76ers front court duo of Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond.

Anthony Slater, of The Athletic, pointed out the specific issue on Twitter following the game Saturday night.

“Warriors a -22 in Bjelica’s 12 minutes,” Slater wrote. “Tough for the Warriors to play this Sixers frontline — 48 minutes of either Embiid or Drummond — without either Draymond or Looney on the floor. Lack of center depth showing tonight.”

It is not that Looney played poorly — the Dubs were a +12 in plus/minus on the game during the starting center’s 25 minutes on the court. For what it’s worth, the team was -5 during Green’s 29 minutes. The point is that Looney is simply not enough to do the job on his own.

And being the best defender in the league doesn’t mean that the 6-foot, 6-inch Green can handle the height and bulk of the 7-foot Emiid and 6-foot, 10-inch Drummond without a considerable amount of help. Clearly, while helpful, Looney alone is not going to be enough.

Emiid registered -9 in plus/minus over 33 minutes Saturday, as the Warriors focused the defensive efforts of Green and Looney in his direction. But Drummond mopped up the second unit, finishing the night +18 in 15 minutes played, with 9 points and 9 rebounds on the night.

The first place to look for a solution is second-year big man James Wiseman, who should be back for the Dubs sometime in early 2022. But Wiseman appeared lost at times on defense during his rookie campaign, and missing the first half of the season is not going to help his defensive awareness.

Golden State has been defiant in its stance that the team will not move on from Wiseman or rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, all of whom would be potential assets to include in a “win-now” type of trade.

If Wiseman can’t alone provide the depth Golden State needs on its front line, and the front office is unwilling to make a trade to procure a player who can, the last option would be a mid-level exception, which the Warriors have in their back pocket. A full taxpayer mid-level contract, which can pay a player seeking a title up to $5.9 million, would add that cost to what is already the most expensive roster in the NBA by a good amount.

However, with Steph Curry playing at an MVP level, Green leading the league in defense yet again and the return of Klay Thompson on the horizon, what is a few million dollars more to maximize the championship windows of the best collection of players Golden State has ever seen?

The lack of center depth is the only apparent weakness the Warriors have on what is arguably the league’s deepest roster. However, it is one that will need to be addressed to deal with players like Embiid, Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) should the Dubs meet any of them on their way back to what could end up the team’s sixth NBA Finals appearance in the current era.

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