The Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors face off at 7:00 tonight at FedEx Forum in Memphis. To get you all set, we sat down with Duby Dub Dubs of Golden State of Mind for five questions before tonight's matchup.
1.) A laundry list of injuries for your Golden State Warriors - no Steph Curry, no D’Angelo Russell, and Draymond Green being in that injury rotation as well. How tough has it been seeing the core of the Warriors deal with the injury bug not even 15 games into the season?
You know what? It has not been as hard as I would have thought if you had told me about this timeline a couple years ago. The roster is in absolute shambles, team in the gutter, and it doesn’t look like any help will be here anytime soon. And to be clear: it sucks. Hard.
But you’ve got to understand where we come from. As a fan base, I don’t think there are many teams that have had as little to cheer about as kids like me who grew up in the 80’s watching the Golden State Warriors. Sure, there were some fun little snippets, like Run TMC, and that flash in the pan year where we had Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson. Even as recently as the We Believe team, this franchise has been defined more by the L’s we’ve taken than any sort of achievement. And then Curry, Klay, Draymond, and Iguodala came and changed everything. We were gifted some of the best basketball I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Everything from here on out will be totally fine, as far as I’m concerned.
So, this may not be the popular opinion, but I’m kind of digging the struggle. It’s nostalgic for me watching these young guys try to figure out a way to stay competitive. Winning games is almost an afterthought. But there’s an impermanence to it. So much of the plan to get better is just “when everyone gets healthy next year,” that it’s been bearable – even though the games are noticeably tougher on the eyeballs.
2.) The story of the Warriors through 14 games has been injuries and a 2-12 record, but what is one thing that you’ve seen to be positive with this Golden State team?
Eric Paschall. This guy came out of nowhere and is looking like our best rookie in years. He’s the only rookie to put up multiple 30-point games this season, and he looks like he belongs in the league. This isn’t just some chucker getting empty points on a bad team. He’s been great on both ends of the floor, and now that all the veterans except Draymond Green are out of service, I’m really looking forward to watching Paschall continue to grow on both offense and defense.
3.) Tonight we are going to see two young teams, who also play a similar style of in terms of pushing pace. Memphis currently sitting 6th in the NBA with 108.7 possessions per game, and Golden State sitting 15th, but with 106.3 possessions per game. With the Warriors playing that same style they’ve played for years, is it still a positive thing with different guys running the break?
In my opinion, a lot of this comes down to D’Angelo Russell and his style of play. If he was a car, he’d be a Cadillac – all smooth and unhurried. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are both sports cars, they zip all over the place and shred up the court with the high-octane energy of a punk band. That metaphor sucks, but you get the idea.
Anyways, to answer you question more directly, no I don’t think the Warriors are going to intentionally push the pace – or at least not to the point where getting out on the break is a point of emphasis. We’ve talked about how this team is banged up, but we should also include a little caveat here that a team with an eligible roster of nine players (one over the league-mandated minimum roster size) is not going to be looking to get out and run.
4.) With both Memphis in a rebuilding year, and Golden State in an unexpected tanking season (injuries can never be predicted), what do you think Golden State needs to do to win on the road in Memphis tonight?
You mean: what do we need for a win, besides an enormous miracle from the heavens? I’ll go with some actual meaningful defensive pressure, especially on the wings.
It’s been the defense where most of the Warriors problems have been this year. But like my golf game, there’s sooooo much wrong that any aspect of improvement, anywhere, is going to be appreciated. Still, if I’m picking one magic bullet, it’s the defense. With Draymond Green as the lone remaining star, I think he’s going to end up putting his fingerprints all over this young team – and he’s going to do that on the defensive end (if it’s possible).
5.) Who do you think starts tonight for the Warriors. D’Angelo Russell has been ruled out for several weeks with a sprained thumb, so that opens up the Point Guard spot. Who is your Ideal starting 5 tonight?
Kerr actually started Draymond Green at point guard in our last game against New Orleans. With a “barely there” roster, I’d go ahead and just do that again. In fact, since I’m in pretend charge of this now, I’m benching Willie Cauley-Stein. Let’s go with Green, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson, Eric Paschall, and our offensive rebounding machine, Omari Spellman. It hurts my soul a little bit to call this any sort of “ideal” but we work with what we have.