The Golden State Warriors bench has given up 359 points this season.
The Warriors have had a less-than-ideal start to the season with a 3-6 record. The starters have been carrying the load thus far. Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins have been quite the one-two punch this season as they are combining for 48.4 points a game. Klay Thompson has struggled thus far but is getting better as the season progresses. Draymond Green is still a monster on defense and a maestro on the offensive end. Kevon Looney is still holding down the paint as well. So why are they struggling to win games? Well the bench’s biggest strength at the moment, is blowing leads.
You may think I am being dramatic, but the bench has a plus/minus of -359 points this season through nine games. That means they have given up 359 points while on the floor. This includes two games where they gave up 70 points to the Heat and the Suns. This shows just how bad the Warriors bench has been so far.
Many believed the Warriors could have one of the best benches in the NBA, but in reality, they have one of the worst.
Jonathan Kuminga has shown he’s simply not ready for big-time minutes at the NBA level right now. He has a cumulative -44 plus/minus through six games. He has been benched three times and is averaging just 2.7 points per game. Head Coach Steve Kerr has gone away from the former seventh overall pick over the past few games. This is a peculiar move since he offers decent energy on both ends of the floor. Surely if Wiseman is playable then so is Kuminga.
Kuminga’s full stats: https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/k/kuminjo01.html
James Wiseman, a player that was sort of an enigma to many fans due to injury, has been even worse. He looks lost on both ends of the floor. Wiseman just seems uncomfortable in the system that the Warriors run, and it makes sense. He’s a third-year rookie that has yet to really get his feet wet in the NBA. On top of that, the Warrior’s system thrives off a smart big that is able to be effective without scoring, which isn’t Wiseman’s game. His lack of good play is more so because he’s just a bad fit with the Warriors. He doesn’t have the defensive or offensive IQ to play meaningful minutes in a Warriors rotation. With a plus/minus of -66, the third-year rookie is going to need to show flashes if he’s going to want a rotational spot down the line. Wiseman is averaging 8.3 points a game.
Wiseman’s full stats: https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/wisemja01.html
Moses Moody has been one of the more solid bench pieces this season. He has a plus/minus of -28. He is showing flashes of becoming a solid role player in the near future and could be someone that the Warriors could use when it comes time to shorten the rotations in the later parts of the season. He’s a smart player on both ends of the floor. Offensively he has a good idea of where to be, to make the extra pass or hit the open shot. He’s not great on the defensive end since he is on the slower side, but his defensive IQ definitely makes up for that.
Moody’s full stats: https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/moodymo01.html
Jordan Poole, the $140 million man has had an up-and-down season. With a plus/minus of -85, he’s had a rough go at it thus far. Poole is still struggling on the defensive end. He has slow feet and slow reactions on that side of the floor and that is putting it nicely. Offensively, it has been difficult because he sort of has to bend to the will of Wiseman. What I mean by that, is he has to incorporate Wiseman to help him feel comfortable within the Warrior’s offense. Wiseman is still learning how to set a good screen, while last season, Poole was able to come off Looney screens which gave him the options of taking on the mismatch or getting an open shot. They also had the luxury of sticking Poole out on the floor with four other defenders, allowing the Warriors to hide him as they did with Steph in the past.
Poole’s full stats: https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/poolejo01.html
It is still incredibly early on in the season. There is no need to press the panic button just yet, but there are reasons to be concerned. Many fans may call for trades to happen, but it’s not happening. The Warrior’s front office wants to develop and win at the same time. They did so last season, but this season is a different beast. Regardless, the Warriors front office won’t make a move. The only assets they could move are Wiseman, Kuminga, and Moody. They are unlikely to do so because they believe they could be a part of another era of Warriors basketball.
They’re as deep as they’ve ever been on paper, but they need to start finding out which guys deserve minutes on a nightly basis and who do not.
At some point, the Warriors are going to need to start seeing some kind of flashes from Wiseman and Kuminga, because right now, the two of them look lost on both ends of the floor. The Warriors need to start seeing some results from the bench soon because the starters won’t be able to carry the load all season long.