Warriors need Wiggs, not bigs
[+notes/quotes/video from Warriors-Grizzlies]
Time to head to the Golden State Warriors vs Milwaukee Bucks pregame and livestream setup, so I won’t really have time to indulge, but yeah the headline above is a little clickbait-y. But at the same time we’ve been getting a lot of complaining about the loss at the Memphis Grizzlies despite having pretty much zero wings available (okay, okay, old man Andre Iguodala does count as one) with Jonathan Kuminga going down with a sprained ankle during routines, Anthony Lamb unable to play more than those 50 games as a two-way, Moses Moody unfortunately being assigned to G League, Andrew Wiggins obviously still out due to the family matter, and Gary Payton II still in rehab. That’s five wings unavailable to the coaching staff, people.
So, having coached many a men’s rec league games, I’m not surprised when Steve Kerr tried something crazy, going with the super-small lineup. He basically admitted “it was a little too cute” and probably won’t ever go back to that. You coach long enough and get depleted enough on a one-off day, you’ll try something unorthodox and he did explain on the podium that “we’d lost six, seven straight” (on the road) so he was searching. Who knows, maybe he was giving Jordan Poole some rope in the process, after two straight losses on the road coming off the bench right after five straight wins at home starting? I give him some credit in having faith in Poole.
LetsGoWarriors is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
And I just think the timing of Moody being with the Santa Cruz Warriors was just an “oops”. If you’re outraged and want to blame someone, fine, go blame Bob Myers or Kerr again.
I’ll say quite simply that outrage on these easily accessible apps is just like road rage. Is it really the guy that cut you off that you’re mad at? Is it really Kerr you’re mad at? No, people already have negative energy from other parts of their lives. You don’t actively go watch a Warriors game with interest if you’re angry, assuming you have a choice. Journalists or bloggers who report on the games as their jobs and Chase Center fans who have already committed money to their tickets do not really count as having a choice, and so yeah, you’ll get a few people going into a GSW matchup with some negative energy, that’s certainly a caveat.
But it’s sports, it’s supposed to be a leisure activity. If you’re walking into a Warriors game enraged, again, it is most definitely NOT the Warriors that’s the problem. This is the same franchise that got you four joyous parades. So when there’s that loss of gratitude, please be aware of this. And don’t forget, Stephen Curry bases his entire life on gratitude:
The hate towards Wiggins has reached an all-time high and that’s sad and shows that a lot of people walk around out there with a lot of entitlement, I’ll just leave it at that.
Ironically, the man who should get credit for setting the bar so high gets vilified as the cause of the struggles. Steve has helped guide the franchise to four rings and yet with five wings absent, they expect a perfect performance from his sideline-stepping and inbounds-throwing-to-the-other-team veteran players.
Speaking of which, I’ve noticed all the blame goes towards easy targets. Nobody ever gets mad at Curry for what I call “AAU turnovers”. How about when Klay Thompson failed to run after the ball and Dillon Brooks got a free breakaway bucket out of it? Everyone is to blame, equally, but online it’s so skewed to Kerr on that bluecrow app — ever heard a crow signal another in your backyard? Worst noise you’ve ever heard. That’s why I’m calling bluebird app “bluecrow” from now on.
And people keep thinking a big man is the solution to all ills. That’s the “NBA2K” way of fixing problems. But I will say this: the Dubs do need capable two-way wings to complement the SplashBrothers and Draymond Green. It’s like three legs to a stool. And so the Warriors do need Wiggs. Bigs? Not so much.
Here’s why, copy-and-pasted from responses I made in our YouTube comments — thankfully the recipient was not in a combative mode and accepted the explanations with grace, especially the references to previous GSW big men from what I’d like to now say is a bygone era.
When somebody is open to learning, he or she is by definition in a positive frame of mind. The negative people tend to stay negative. It’s the ones that are sort of on the fence, if I don’t know them, that I’m willing to consider letting into the conversation. And so on our livestreams from now on, I’ve asked my reliable “blue wrenches” (aka YouTube moderators) to immediately put any negative commenters in timeout. They get three strikes. The third one, they’re banned.
The people who watch the Warriors from an intentional, joyous origin, we just simply can’t allow the whiny and complain-y dudes (and 80% of the time they are dudes — I can only assume it’s because males tend to have problems controlling their innate aggression) to ruin our experience.
Now, back to “Wiggs, not bigs”:
• Not just any big is gonna fit and fit in the time necessary. The system is built around Steph Klay Dray. What is the critical flaw of the system of ball movement and 0.5 basketball? It is that the traditional power forward or center does not help. You need foot speed and IQ at least as good as Looney’s. It could be theorized that the Boston Celtics, with their penchant towards shooting 5s, are onto something, too, in their own way. But anyways, I’d rather have this system than the traditional because we already saw that in the Mark Jackson era and Steph and Klay (not the most athletic fellas by NBA standards) were getting beaten up. You can’t have it all. Is the traditional system working for Trae Young in ATL? There is no perfect system. Even Michael Jordan’s Bulls made their need of a traditional or high-scoring point guard obsolete. Allen Iverson probably would not have worked with those Bulls. I’m not even sure John Stockton — okay, okay, how about Mark Jackson for a second mention in this article? — would have worked in the Triangle unless he got his 3PP up (ironically it was big guard and former two-guard Ron Harper plus backup Kerr on that squad and BJ Armstrong before him).
• On Festus Ezeli, Andrew Bogut, JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, and the like: You’re going back to a different era. Even the last effective 5, McGee, didn’t play in the 2018 WCF vs the Houston Rockets (we won Game 6 and 7). Kevon Looney was fantastic, so by then we were almost essentially small-ball anyways, although this means Loon at the 5 back then was considered “small”. Kevin Durant at the 3 was almost unfair lol. Again: JaVale was a DNP for 6 of the 7 games. Next round in the Finals vs Cavs we swept them with their frontline of Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love. It was easy for JaVale to run down the court faster than those guys. The teams with Pachulia also had KD, so it’s hard to really compare those to the big men available now because we had an inherent advantage, plus Zaza was an excellent passer. Since then the majority of NBA teams do not go with a big frontline, obviously. They’re now more built like the Rockets were with Clint Capela at the 5, only one “slow-footed” big (recall PJ Tucker was their 4). NBA has changed. Pace is unbelievably fast and GSW wants to play as fast as possible when they got non-bruisers like Steph and Klay scoring the buckets.
• I also went in-depth as to why Jarred Vanderbilt and athletic rebounders like Nic Claxton and Robert Williams do not fit into our salary cap table because Wiggs eventually took KD’s spot. As of this writing and I haven’t done the full research, only the Phoenix Suns also have four massive contracts and their big man was home-grown (Deandre Ayton) and occupies one of those four. The rest of the available big men at a veteran’s minimum available for Myers are just too slow, slower than the template of Looney, such as Dwight Howard or Boogie Cousins. Also, I already wrote about Nerlens Noel in the last post under the context of GSW having the fourth-best rim protection in the NBA since the All-Star Break (probably now lower than fourth after the Memphis drubbing).
Here’s the notes, quotes, video, and league news in reverse chronological order leading back to actually the team hotel before practice in Memphis…
• Giannis Antetokounmpo is out tonight against the Warriors. Had been listed as questionable with hand soreness. (Anthony Slater)
• In the wake of the FDIC shutting down Silicon Valley Bank, Giannis Antetokounmpo with next level risk-management skills (via Trung Phan via Kerith Burke). I should say I worked in venture capital in a previous life and am absolutely shocked that SVB went down, out of all the things that could go down in the local VC economy.
• Jordan Poole’s (GSW) technical foul (10:01, 4th qtr) from game on 3/7/23 rescinded upon league office review. (NBA)
DISCLAIMER: These are all just notes for my main workflow of YouTube videos, mostly transcribed by me shortly after the interviews and during my coverage of postgame on our livestreams (!). Sometimes I’ll just use what’s tweeted by beatwriters, as listed. The links to the tweets are not available because sometimes I don’t use the full tweet and just having a ton of tweets on this website imo isn’t aesthetically pleasing and gets away from the main goal: transferring information (not so much entertainment) to the brains of DubNation asap.
• Draymond Green on his hand being iced: “It’s alright.”
• On the recap: “We fought back a couple times. When you fight back you gotta keep it going… we allowed them to make a run.”
• On the road defense: “We started the game off soft defensively. You let a team get a rhythm.”
• On the Grizzlies being motivated: “I’ll disagree (about calling it a rivalry)… This team has been getting up for us for a lot of years. That’s what happens (with losses over the years).”
• On Dillon Brooks: “He always yells… you have to ask him, I’m not sure what motivates him. I know playing us motivates him… plays the way he plays, unless you saw something special I didn’t.”
• On the altercation with Brooks: “He thought he would bait me like he gets baited. I get technical fouls when I want to get technical fouls… (that’s what makes him different than me)… one of us is baitable and one of us isn’t.”
• On why GSW-MEM isn’t a rivalry: “One team has to win and then another has to win… rivalries are created by you win, I win. Clearly when I’ve won four times… anybody can win in March. What that mean? I have a hard time getting out of bed in March.”
• Dillon Brooks postgame on-court with TNT (video is on House of Highlights YouTube channel): “We just come in and do the same thing every night… dogs… resilient group.”
• On talking to Draymond: “That’s what I do, I talk. I told him to keep that mic open. Keep doing his podcast… it’s cute.”
• On missing Ja: “This is our group going into postseason… go into every game with a chip on our shoulder.”
• End of interview: “You should give the mic to Draymond, make him keep talking about me so I can play better.”
• Taylor Jenkins postgame on switching Brooks to Curry after the 21-6 GSW run: “the minutes he wasn’t on him he was loose… they whittled it down to single digits… proud of our guys… game plan was a little bit different than in the past.”
• On Dillon Brooks’ energy: “He’s been doing a great job in recent games… outside the lines I think he did a great job… competitive fire… one of the leaders of our team… pushing the buttons.”
• On finally beating the Warriors: “Great team victory… the strength of our team is our togetherness… still got a lot to figure out… keep getting better… learning on the fly in different roles, different lineup combinations.”
• On proceeding without Ja, perhaps for the playoffs as Brooks suggested postgame on-court: “that was just a quick comment… I can’t put a timetable on it.”
• On JJJ playing the entire first quarter: “we’re doing some different things with our bigs… second unit… Desmond at backup point guard… JJ’s gonna play some extra stretches… game plan, I can’t share that because we play them next Saturday… two days against Dallas that we gotta focus on.”
• On using the challenge early: “it was pretty obvious to me… I wasn’t gonna give him three free throws… gut call.”
• Ty Jerome postgame recap: “We just weren’t locked in. Even some of the threes they missed… give up a wide-open corner three… too many open shots… miscommunications… throwing the ball all over the place.”
• On why they weren’t being locked in: “it’s definitely not a leadership thing… I don’t know.”
• On how big the turnovers were: “some of them were just — taking it out under the basket and Dillon Brooks hits the layup… it’s not one play, it’s not two plays, it’s 48 minutes… you’ve gotta be really sharp when you’re fighting back.”
• On the lineup with Andre PBJ Steph Dray: “we finally got some stops. It allowed us to run… though when you keep walking the ball up the court.”
• Steve Kerr postgame on starting the super-small lineup: “we’ve gotten off to bad starts six, seven straight games… Memphis is a good defensive team so we wanted to spread them out… we didn’t do that… impatient early… in hindsight probably got a little too cute but we are what we are.”
• On any update on JK’s injury: “No.”
• On the defensive concerns: “didn’t get into the ball, really soft on the ball.., miscommunications that led to wide open layup… not connected and that’s been the story all year… defense is really good at home and it’s struggled on the road… happy that the guys battled back two different times… tough to play uphill.”
• On their various Grizzlies matchups: “They played much better and we played much worse, simple as that.”
• On unraveling last two minutes: “Turnovers and some fouls… just in a rush trying too hard to make plays instead of getting organized and trusting each other.”
5:15 Klay completely lost Tillman on the first possession
6:15 tiki-taka Dray to Steph with Donte involved 10m59 Q1
6:45 I think we went extra small just because if you can't matchup on size then just go smaller, new trendy thing, I want to think that Looney is 100%
8:00 10m05 and then 9m58 at JP's FT, Kerr was yelling something after Tillman scored on a double inside post putback
9:30 9m20 good fake by Klay leads to layup
11:00 8m02 tiki-taka again Klay Dray
11:30 7m35 Steph roll pass to Dray
12:45 7m07 JP nice downhill vs Tillman
13:45 I know this is technically a "slow start" but I don't think you can bunch them up with the majority of the other ones because we're so small and it's a different starting lineup, technically either the common thread including today would be that we've had a hard time finding an opening identity or that this super-small lineup just isn't good enough vs Memphis or with JJJ and Tyus having 2 threes each that our opponent at home always comes out and makes 3s -- is there a stat for that? Like, for every game, you first 10 threes?
16:15 JK wore Kobes, KD wore KD15s
17:00 6m52 Loon in
17:30 6m10 another cut by Steph, trip to the FT line
19:30 5m25 Klay lazy
19:45 5m20 Steph 3 vintage from Dray
20:15 4m25 Dray uses the board from the baseline!
24:00 3m27 seemed like Ty & J-Mike were stuck between man & zone
26:30 Kerr after timeout says we're taking quick shots and the whole point of going small is to spread out the defense (Klay!) -- not sure why Klay's bad play bugs me so much, but then again he's had an ACL and Achilles which I've never experienced thank goodness
29:15 1min52 JP excellent 3
33:00 0m48.2 foul on Donte 3 review seems obvious to me (Kennard's left arm never leaves body) -- they didn't watch the right angle for the foul!
35:15 Bane goes right around Ty, argues with J-Mike, but at the next FT trip for Ty they make up
36:30 0m17.4 Kennard over JP 3
39:15 analyzing JP going under the screen so to speak
41:00 good to see multiple passes for first play 11m40 Q2
45:00 PJB 3 10m48
45:30 10m33 HoF screen by Dray sheds Zaire
47:45 9m55 amazing Steph at the shot clock horn
48:45 10m19 we were in some kind of zone when Steph let the 3 score
49:45 9m00 Dray wards of Aldama with the right to win the tip with the left
50:00 8m05 baseline layup by Steph, we feel really quick
51:00 7m45 Dray swats Zaire, leads to a Ty 3 fb
52:00 7m01 Steph 3 up top due to the clicking on O esp with Ty and Andre and Dray (PBJ!)
55:00 this five-man! Has PBJ in it which should be exciting to all fans
56:00 barely a foul on PBJ, wanted the foul instead of Steph's 3rd 6m40 -- also great chance for PBJ to increase his stock
56:45 6m22 Brooks blocks Steph, stares, then Ty loses it my bad, Andre says my bad, Kerr says calm down
58:45 Klay to Loon great patience 5min15
59:00 4m50 Steph hesitation past Brooks
59:30 4m33 couple of defensive HoF tips Dray Klay Loon
JP argues with refs too much and in the pregame on NBC, Monte said the refs don't respect him yet because of the yapping
1:00:30 one thing that got lost in the Dray-Brooks kerfuffle is that Dillon outwardly praised Steph, said he was one of mentally strongest
1:02:45 PBJ travel 3m51 Kerr x Atkinson lengthy conversation
1:04:30 2m53 good help PBJ, subs out, Kerr talks to him
1:05:00 2m43 Klay reaches in on a 7-footer 23 feet away
1:07:45 2m10 JP to Dray
1:08:00 1m58 Donte gives up layup, JP late help, Kerr livid per Reggie
1:11:00 1m29 Kerr hides his mouth complaining to Q about JP's 3, 1m01 inbound stolen (Steph to Klay), Kerr doesn't call timeout, Dray bad turnover after the altercation with Brooks
1:12:15 0m42 JP unforced turnover
1:15:00 JP finally shoots before the buzzer from halfcourt, Klay with a little smirk as he walks to the locker room
1:16:15 when's Steph gonna have the outburst (at his own teammates)? At the very least he's gotta step up rn in the locker room and say some words
1:19:45 wonder when we'll see Steph Ty Andre PBJ Dray (best unit)
1:22:45 "time to play the young guys" -- HoFers wouldn't like that, that would be tanking, and the HoF'ers deserve all 82 games to figure it out, they've earned that
1:30:00 we're just not a good team without JK and Wiggs, esp defensively
1:32:45 JP's eyes as he took the hit from Bane 11m20 Q3
1:33:30 11m00 Klay good late tip to Steph 94'
1:34:45 10m20 Loon a little off inside today
1:35:00 10m00 Dray reb outlet into the stands, their fault!
1:36:45 9m10 JP good POA vs Bane!? mind blown
1:37:45 Dontae Washington: "Amazing what a little bit of defense will do" -- ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S JORDAN POOLE!!! We have hope
1:39:00 to me, JP's POA defense vs Bane is the "play of the game" because it gives me hope for the future
1:41:00 Dray beautiful non-screen slip cut 8m20
1:41:45 7m40 Klay leaves Ty wide open
1:43:15 7m15 JP POA jab worked on Dillon!
1:43:45 6m58 Steph and1
1:45:30 5m30 Steph excellent rebound leads to Klay 3
1:47:00 4m40 J-Mike 3
1:51:45 JJJ hook vs J-Mike 3m37
1:52:30 3m23 Steph turnover, deflected? but still Andre was open
1:53:00 2m50 J-Mike 3 wide open
1:53:45 2m00 Konchar 3 corner just made one, vs Donte
1:54:15 1m40 J-Mike 3 late shot
1:54:45 1m17 we talked about Klay's a little off, Donte seems a little off today as well
1:55:45 Kerr calls out "C" 0m25
1:56:45 buzzer: Jerome so intent on getting the ball to the hot-shooting J-Mike that he did that again too late
2:00:45 11m07 PBJ gave up a 3, good baseline J
2:01:30 10m44 Tillman over JP, but JP has to learn how to take a charge
2:02:45 9m37 Jerome passes up another 3
2:04:15 9m08 Dray to JP shake and bake
2:05:15 8m38 Steph and Klay in for PBJ and JP, not Jerome, does that mean we stay in zone?
2:06:15 8m30 didn't call a take foul on Dray wow
2:06:30 8m00 tiki-taka on Dillon
2:07:00 7m35 Klay front-ends, 7m25 Klay practices his shot at dead ball
2:08:15 6m50 Jerome looks gassed
2:13:00 5m50 Klay just got a damn bucket they needed after the ATO
2:14:30 5m05 Steph steps out of bounds
2:16:00 3m55 J-Mike block of Jones
2:18:00 3m43 J-Mike tech should be a double-tech upon review
2:20:45 Giannis has right hand soreness, missed today's game
2:30:45 Wiggs and JK's athleticism is something we probably need in the playoffs
2:31:00 "we haven't been in a position to build consistency" -- no one's gonna feel sorry for us, but it is true
2:40:15 Instead of wanting and needing and being entitled, I just watch the Warriors to learn more about the game, if they lose they lose. But I learned something.
STEVE KERR POSTGAME
2:51:00 even if you put Wiggs, JK and GP2 in tomorrow, it might take awhile to mesh, but I do think they solve a lot of problems that we're having right now, it's a roster issue that's nobody's fault, it's kinda funny, kinda Murphy's Law (JK tweaks his ankle going for a warmup layup)
3:07:00 DRAY POSTGAME AUDIO
3:27:15 Shibansh Sahoo: "When is Wiggs returning because we need him badly?" -- well, that's one of the many challenges (largely mental) of this year for fans. It's been a rough go for fans, but then again think about it: Isn't this what you would do if you were a basketball god, if you wanted to even things out, wouldn't you throw every obstacle in the way of a four-time champ? Wouldn't you make it super-hard to figure out?
3:31:30 Shibansh: "Also i saw a post on reddit, where the user said to pursue Brook lopez this off season. He is gonna be a free agent next year, what are your thoughts on that move?" -- Can't predict anything until we know what Draymond does
3:32:15 J-Mike was able to overcome the extreme sagging
3:35:00 Dean Chambers brings up 8 things we keep doing
3:57:00 @Tim Kono I don't think the trainer was involved. JK tweaked it all on his own, almost same as KD. ALSO NOT A WET SPOT AS MANY JOURNALISTS INCORRECTLY SAID (See Dr. Sutterer on YouTube)
4:02:30 TAYLOR JENKINS POSTGAME
4:13:30 Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto fired from 95.7
4:28:00 Dean pleads for the NBA to find ways to keep championship teams together
4:34:00 TAYLOR JENKINS POSTGAME
4:42:45 Dr. Nirav Pandya on JK in a boot: doesn't always correlate with injury severity
4:46:45 DEAN TALKS ABOUT THE BUCKS
4:50:15 on PBJ: Kerr had called him a 3-4 and Klay is evolving into a 3-4 so maybe I can say PBJ is a 6'10" Klay
DILLON BROOKS POSTGAME TNT AUDIO -- FUNNY!
MY RESPONSE IN THE COMMENTS TO FRED VAN VLEET HEAVILY CRITICIZING OFFICIAL BEN TAYLOR AND BROOKS’ TRASH-TALKING:
• Can’t remember if we discussed it on the stream but also Dray ironically talked about the refs in the postgame too (well, FVV was the next night) and I definitely agree some refs have no idea how to have fun with the game lol. I also posted FVV on our IG.
• Oh and forgot to say, I just saw today (before our Bucks game), Brooks went off on guarding Kyrie, as he’s questionable and it’s Memphis vs Dallas. Kyrie had an awesome response!!
• Klay & Poole sign autographs at hotel; extensive Steph Curry pregame; MonoNeon experimental guitar national anthem Star-Spangled Banner rendition + more behind-the-scenes in Memphis
LetsGoWarriors is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.