How the Warriors can win the second half of the season

Wes Goldberg, The Mercury News on

Published in Basketball

With the Knicks (11-29) and Cavaliers (12-27) having only a few wins more than the Warriors, that could be enough to impact their lottery odds. A 14% chance of getting the No. 1 pick could turn into a 12.5% or 10.5% chance, and the Warriors' floor could go from the fifth pick to the ninth pick.

While the Warriors won't blatantly tank games, they have been impressively pragmatic in their approach to this season. As frustrating as losing has been, they hope to at least come away from the experience with a top pick -- one of the more valuable assets in the NBA.

Though D'Angelo Russell hasn't had a chance to play alongside Curry and Thompson, he's managed to develop an effective two-man game with Draymond Green.

The Russell and Green pick-and-roll has become a staple of Kerr's offense, and while Russell ends up taking a shot out of that set more often than Curry did, it's becoming productive.

Over the last six games Russell and Green played together, the Warriors are scoring 107.6 points per 100 possessions while the two are on the court. That's an improvement of nearly 10 points per 100 possessions from the beginning of the season.

Getting familiar with Green will only help Russell if Curry (and Thompson) do return this season. Even just a few games would be an important sample size for the front office as they potentially make a decision on Russell's future this offseason.


Though the early returns on the Curry and Russell backcourt weren't encouraging, Russell's biggest asset to the Warriors is his ability to keep the offense afloat in the key minutes Curry is not playing. During Curry's tenure, Golden State has not been nearly as good when Curry is on the bench.

Having a former All-Star like Russell instead of a low-level reserve like Quinn Cook running the offense in those minutes would help smooth out the Warriors' plus-minus when Curry sits.

The Warriors made a key roster move last week when they waived Marquese Chriss in order to promote Damion Lee to the 15-man roster. They still have an open roster spot but, because of the hard cap, would have to trade another salary in order to promote Ky Bowman as well.

Bowman is on a two-way contract, which limits him to 45 days in the NBA while the rest of his season must be spent in the G League. Bowman figures to be Golden State's backup point guard next season and, though they can sign him this summer, they could be motivated to bring him up sooner.


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