© Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
It went as bad as it could have possibly gone on Friday, when the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors by 53 points and trailed by more than 60. It wasn’t that bad on Sunday, but there isn’t much to draw from the 117-111 loss to the Hawks that inspires confidence. They are now 23-27.
They really can’t stop fouling
Seriously, the Warriors cannot help themselves. They’re fouling at an astounding rate. Here’s how they’ve fared in their last eight games:
Against Atlanta: 25 fouls
Against Toronto: 18 fouls
Against Miami: 26 fouls
Against Chicago: 14 fouls
Against Atlanta: 22 fouls
Against Sacramento: 19 fouls
Against Philadelphia: 23 fouls
Against Memphis: 25 fouls
This isn’t just a recent trend.
Most team fouls per game
27. Timberwolves: 21.2
28. Warriors: 21.7
29. Raptors: 22.1
30. Wizards: 22.2
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 5, 2021
Golden State’s 25 fouls resulted in a comical amount of free throws. They sent Atlanta to the line 45 times (35-for-45), compared to 21 free throws for the Warriors. Who were the main culprits of these fouls? Well…
The bench… not great
Of those 25 fouls, a ridiculous 15 of them came from bench players. And it wasn’t like they were making up for it on the other end.
Steve Kerr and the Warriors’ coaching staff went with a limited lineup; no Alen Smailagic, Nico Mannion, or Mychal Mulder. Juan Toscano-Anderson didn’t check in until the start of the fourth quarter and played just six minutes.
But it’s clear they just don’t have anything they can possibly rely on from their bench players.
Jordan Poole, who is the supposed microwave scorer that can lead the unit, was a woeful 3-for-10 from the field and 0-for-5 from the field. Damion Lee (3-for-6, 1-for-4 from three) was the best bench scorer the Warriors had, yet threw up an airball with under three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, in a six-point game.
It was a combined 8-for-26 from the field and 1-for-11 from three for the Warriors’ bench with 19 points.
Meanwhile, the Hawks’ bench, featuring Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari, combined for 55 points. That is a chasmic gap.
The ceiling for this team is not very high
At this point, we really have to wonder if this idea that the Warriors can grow into this sneaky good team Steve Kerr keeps saying they can be is even theoretically possible. There is absolutely no sign that this team will, or even can get it together.
On Sunday, Stephen Curry had 37 points (12-of-22, 3-of-11 from three), 4 rebounds, a couple assists and steals, a block, but 8 turnovers. He had to press because he’s the only consistent offensive option, with Andrew Wiggins, who’s basically a consistent 15-to-20-point scorer, and at least working hard on defense, the only other reliable option.
But even with Wiggins and Kelly Oubre providing a combined 36 points, combined with Curry’s 37, that’s just 70.
Draymond Green hit double-digits again, too, scoring 11 with 7 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 steals and 4 turnovers. Add in James Wiseman’s 8 points and you’ve got 92 points. in theory, you get 30, even 25 points from the bench and you’re alright.
But this team just can’t seem to put it all together, ever.
When Curry has a perfect game, it’s met with turnovers, or too much fouling, or inconsistent shooting. There is simply too much inexperience and mistake-making on a consistent basis for this team to remain competitive.
You’ve got the optimistic view; Curry and Green still look stellar, and both Wiggins and Oubre are solid wings who can provide you scoring. Maybe this is the worst we’ve seen of James Wiseman and the bench, and Jordan Poole will find some consistency down the stretch. If they clean up a few things , they can be competitive.
But then there’s the realistic view; even with an MVP-level Curry, and Draymond doing everything he can (in the regular season, no less). Wiseman, who played just 18 minutes, looks every bit like a 19-year-old who just doesn’t quite have the feel of the game yet, as is to be expected. Poole will remain streaky, and no one else is reliable on the bench; both offensively and defensively, meaning turnovers, fouls, and just a pure lack of clutch in late-game situations, will remain the norm.