Sunday can’t come soon enough for the Warriors, who need Stephen Curry in the worst way after their seventh straight loss, a 112-94 listless defeat at the hands of the Sacramento Kings. Here are three takeaways:
You think Harrison Barnes has heard all the chatter about how Andrew Wiggins is a better version of him?
He sure played like it on Tuesday night. Barnes looked like he did on his best night’s with the 73-win Warriors, and was the best player on the floor, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 9-12 shooting, getting it done inside the paint and beyond the arc (2-for-3).
Kerr was asked about the Wiggins-Barnes comparison again during his pregame session, and agreed that Wiggins could fill a similar role when the Warriors are back to full strength, especially as a small ball power forward. Kerr welcomed the comparison, explaining that long gone are the days when Barnes would have to D up the likes of Zach Randolph on the block. Kerr believes the stretching out of the game will allow Wiggins to defend most modern-day power forwards, which wouldn’t have been the case five years ago.
Regardless, if Wiggins plays like Barnes did on Tuesday for most of next season, the controversial midseason trade with the Timberwolves will be seen as a win. Wiggins was solid in his own right after a 3-for-16 performance vs. New Orleans, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Strangely, Wiggins didn’t notch a single rebound in 30 minutes.
Last place shooting
There’s ineptitude, and then there’s what the Warriors did from beyond the 3-point arc on Tuesday. It was a performance so inept, it left Golden State without a real shot to be competitive.
Golden State, who entered Tuesday as the fifth worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA, went 4-for-28 from downtown after going 1-for-17 in the first half. Most concerning is that most of the attempts were wide open, including a Juan Toscano-Anderson airball without a defender in sight. Jordan Poole (1-for-7) and Damien Lee (3-for-7) were responsible for the lone makes.
The Warriors four man bench (Ky Bowman, Kevon Looney, Toscano-Anderson and Dragan Bender ) went 7-for-24 from the floor.
Reclamation project report
It was a tale of two nights for the former Suns teammates.
Marquese Chriss continued to nail his audition for the starting center job next season, dropping a team-high 21 points and adding 10 boards. He’s now scored double-digits in 11 of his last 13 games, averaging 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks during the month on February.
Bender, on the other hand, looked like a player who’s been stuck in the G-League for most of the season. After a first game that Kerr called “really positive,” the former fourth overall pick was lost during his 25 minutes on the floor, contributing zero points (0-for-4), five rebounds, two assists and three very rough turnovers.
It’s just one game, but Bender is on a 10-day contract and has four more games to earn himself another. The time is now for Bender, who despite being just 22 years old is close to playing his way out of the league.
Considering their cap situation, the Warriors are banking on a handful of guys like Bender and Chriss to fill reserve roles as they rebuild the bottom half of their roster. Chriss has basically already made the cut. Bender showed on Tuesday that he is far from it.