Warriors ‘Worried About Everybody’ on Bench: Sources

Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors.

Getty Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors.

It’s been a rough year for the Golden State Warriors thus far. They’ve gone 8-10 to start the season and sit in 11th place in the Western Conference. Just a few short months after winning their fourth NBA Championship in eight years, they’re out of the playoff picture for the time being.

Stephen Curry has been phenomenal, but other players on the team haven’t quite lived up to expectations. According to sources who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, the Warriors are “worried” about everyone on the roster outside of the starting lineup.

“The injury to [Donte] DiVincenzo has been tough for them because they were hoping to put a lot on him early in the year,” a Western Conference executive told Deveney. “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.”

Golden State’s starting unit has been one of the best in the business this year. They rank ninth in points per game (81.3), seventh in field goal percentage (49.1%), third in three-point percentage (40.3%), seventh in offensive rating (79.0), 15th in defensive rating (75.5), and eighth in plus/minus (3.4).

For the bench, it’s been a different story. The Warriors’ bench ranks 11th in points (34.4), 24th in field goal percentage (44.1%), 27th in three-point percentage (31.6%), 23rd in offensive rating (51.9), 26th in defensive rating (59.9), and 30th in plus/minus (-5.6).

Struggles ‘More Than Championship Hangover’

It’s not uncommon for a team coming off of a deep playoff run to start the season slow the following year. However, the executive noted that the Warriors are “worried” that their issues this year are more than just a “championship hangover.”

“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,” the exec 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.”

Their bench hasn’t delivered in the way that they expected, and their younger players have been especially disappointing.

Warriors Plan on Keeping Young Talent

Despite their struggles this year, sources also told Heavy Sports that the Warriors still want this young core to lead them into the future. When asked about Jonathan Kuminga’s status with the team past his current deal, an executive noted that they have no plans on giving him up.

“Probably [will be with the Warriors past his rookie deal] because it is ownership that has to make the call on that in the end, and they have sold themselves on the idea that their young guys are going to be Steph and Klay [Thompson] and Draymond [Green] all over again. It is going to be hard to bust their bubble on that. Now, if this season goes south totally, and Steph goes to the owners and says, ‘we gotta do something,’ maybe that changes. But the commitment to those young guys is there.”

So, while they may still believe in their young core, the bench is still a major issue this year, and they’re worried about it.

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