Defensively, Green is without question the straw that stirs the drink. His direct defense (see clip above) is a big deal, but his presence allows so many little things to go right. Last night against the Blazers, there was a post play that Green correctly predicted, fouling up the shooter just enough for Wiseman and Wiggins to converge to snuff out the shot attempt and secure the rebound.

Speaking of Wiseman, the rookie center posted the first double-double of his career, wrestling down 11 rebounds – a new career high – to go along with 12 points (on an efficient 6 of 9 shooting from the floor). Of course, Green is only indirectly involved, but it’s not hard to notice the early interest Green is taking in helping craft the Warriors center of the future…and the present.

Like a good 3-in-1 oil (seriously, that stuff is magic on squeaky hinges!) Green and Curry, working in tandem, tend to make everything easier for their teammates. In particular, Wiggins seems to benefit from a significantly more friendly basketball reality while sharing the floor with Green:

<div class="tweet" data-attrs="{"url":"https://twitter.com/bbstats/status/1346110240887091201","full_text":"Wiggins' effective field goal percentage is 13 points better when Draymond is on the floor:nn(this season + last)nnvia pbpstats.com “,”username”:”bbstats”,”name”:”Nathan Walker”,”date”:”Mon Jan 04 15:04:25 +0000 2021″,”photos”:[{“img_url”:”https://pbs.substack.com/media/Eq5YHljXAAAEG3X.png”,”link_url”:”https://t.co/aTVFOSsTJw”}],”quoted_tweet”:{},”retweet_count”:5,”like_count”:34,”expanded_url”:{}}”>

Nathan Walker @bbstats

Wiggins’ effective field goal percentage is 13 points better when Draymond is on the floor:

(this season + last)

via pbpstats.com

While there was certainly plenty going wrong over the first five games – definitely more than can be completely explained by the absence of Green – it’s no coincidence that all the parts started clicking right as Green hit his stride.

This is the Wiggins that the team needs. He doesn’t need to carry the team, but an efficient offensive output, alongside his reliably solid defense would go a long way towards propelling the Warriors up the food pyramid of the NBA landscape.

Antonin @antonin_org

Andrew Wiggins had another solid game last night

21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks
8-16 FG
+19

Oh no, Kangz?

The Sacramento Kings continue to be afflicted with a recurring bout of mediocrity. Despite slowly fixing their roster, there are plenty of problems afoot, even as the Kings incrementally inch their way back towards relevance. With two wins over the Denver Nuggets, and one against the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento has had some solid moments in this young season.

Now, coming off back-to-back losses against the Houston Rockets, the seams are unravelling a bit. Nothing too shattering, but talented rookie Tyrese Halliburton has been out since last week, nursing a bone bruise in his wrist; and despite contributing just 10 points and 4.4 assists per game, they miss him.

Adding to the chaos, Marvin Bagley continues to be… complicated. The third year player is incredibly important to the Kings’ future, but has struggle with scoring efficiently, and coach Luke Walton reduced his playing time. In an interesting wrinkle, it was Bagley’s dad who took to twitter to demand a trade, followed shortly thereafter by De’Aaron Fox’s father piping up on the public social media platform encouraging the team to do precisely that.

SactownBabyGiraffe @TimMaxwell22

Dad #2 weighs in 👀👀👀

Aaron Fox @aaronlfox5

@TimMaxwell22 Trade him

As Warriors fans have experienced over the past two seasons, player development is not a straight line. As young players work on their game, and adjustments, it’s expected that these hiccups are going to occasionally surface; here’s the lowdown on the recent developments from Bryant West, over at The Kings Herald:

Marvin Bagley III had a bad week on the court. After a strong 1st half showing against the Nuggets on Tuesday, Bagley sat on the bench for all but 6 minutes of the 2nd half. It’s disappointing that Luke Walton didn’t find him more minutes in that contest, but he stuck with what was working and the Kings netted a 125-115 victory – their most impressive win of the season. Then across the two Houston contests, Bagley’s confidence and patient play was replaced by rushed efforts and missed layups. 

So, what is going right?

Well, De’Aaron Fox continues to impress. In his fourth season, the speedy point guard appears to be putting it all together. He leads the team in scoring (21 points per game), as well as assists (6.2 per contest), and steals (1.7 per). He’s also a foul magnet, something that is a concern to a slap-happy Warriors team that ranks 28th in the league with .253 free throws per opponent shot attempt.

Our old pal Harrison Barnes is quietly Black Falconing his way to a career as a reliable rotation player for the Kings. Much like Mike Dunleavy jr., Warriors fans have trouble trueing up the relatively pedestrian impact for a player drafted relatively high; but Barnes has positive impact on the court. I’m hoping for some fireworks in the Barnes/Wiggins matchups tonight.

Predictions

The Warriors are coming in for the second game of a back-to-back, but I still like their chances now that they’ve awakened a bit.

Curry will outplay Fox, but Fox should have a field day against the Warriors defense – unless Green can marshal the defensive forces, of course.

Speaking of Green, he and Wiseman will have an interesting battle against the Kings frontcourt players. Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley will present a challenge, but I think the days of watching Wiseman get dominated by the likes of Whiteside and others of that tier will be gone sooner rather than later.

Why not: Dubs win two in a row!!

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