Kelly Oubre’s name came up in recent trade discussions. But the chatter didn’t disrupt his energy on the court last night against the Timberwolves. In fact, a conversation with Steve Kerr gave the 25 year old the motivation he needed to perform at his best. And most importantly, ” Go get this fucking win”
Shams Charania from the Athletic reported a discussion that took place between the Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans. The conversation included exploratory talks that would send Oubre to the big easy, but those discussions didn’t go much further than that. Steve Kerr noted that it was “unfortunate” those discussions were made public because the Pelicans sought them out for a trade. Not the other way around.
Last night, Kelly Oubre led the Warriors past the Timberwolves. He finished the game with 20 points on 7/9 shooting, while also contributing 9 rebounds, and three assists in 24 minutes of action. That’s not to mention the contagious energy he brought to the court. It was clear from the beginning that Oubre wasn’t going to let the trade talk affect his game on the court, and neither was Steve Kerr. If he could help it.
Well, it appears Steve Kerr’s words of encouragement worked.
The Warriors did get the win, and Kelly Oubre was a huge contributor. He finished 2nd on the team in scoring (20), and also finished the game with 2 steals and a blocked shot. It appears his conversation with Kerr helped him get his mind right.
It isn’t easy to perform at a high level when your name is circulating in the rumor mill, but Oubre still put together his best performance of the season. Despite his name trending all over the internet.
Oubre is no stranger to chatter around the NBA. He is used to his name being in the spotlight. So far, he has proven he can elevate his game despite the uncertainty of his future. With that being said, I fully expect the trade rumors surrounding Oubre to continue. His $14m contract is the most tradeable on the team and I would be shocked if Bob Myers didn’t entertain trade scenarios that came his way.
The Golden State Warriors will be put to the ultimate test when they face the defending NBA champion Lakers on Monday night. So far this season, the Lakers have hit the ground running with an 11-3 record, and once again, look like clear cut favorites to repeat in 2021.
Here are 3 keys to a Warriors victory against the Lakers.
Over the last three games, the Warriors have averaged 16.7 turnovers per game. Which is much more than Steve Kerr would like to see from his team. If the Warriors want to emerge victorious against the defending champs, they must take care of the ball to maximize their offensive possessions. The Lakers are a good defensive team that is anchored by Anthony Davis. In fact, the Lakers lead the entire league in defensive rating (1.011). If the Warriors want to complete the upset, they must find a way to limit Davis’s impact on that side of the floor and limit careless turnovers.
Prioritize Transition Defense
Lebron James and Anthony Davis is one of the most lethal tandems in the league. Especially in transition. The Lakers currently average 20.6 transition points per game on 56% shooting. With that being noted, the Warriors success tonight will largely depend on their ability to get back defensively. Locate the ball. And of course, stop the ball carrier. Although that task is easier said than done, I believe the Warriors can accomplish that goal through communication on defense, and understanding defensive assignments. Forcing the Lakers into their half-court offense is the best chance at victory.
Here are three observations from the Warriors 104-95 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Kelly Oubre Finally Has His Break Out Game
There’s no doubt that Kelly Oubre has struggled offensively through the first 9 games of the season. He is averaging career lows in field goal percentage (35.3%), 3PT percentage (17.2%), and player efficiency rating (7.91). But last night against the Pacers, it appears he might’ve found his niche within the offense. He wasn’t settling for step back three pointers. He wasn’t driving through double teams in the paint. But most importantly, he played within the flow of the game, and it led to his most productive game in a Warrior uniform. Oubre ended the game with 17 points on 6/11 shooting, while also converting 3/7 from beyond the arc.
Role Players Step Up Once Again
I don’t know if you noticed it or not, but Stephen Curry’s first field goal attempt didn’t come until the 4:03 mark in the first quarter. By that time, Kelly Oubre already had 7 points, Draymond Green was orchestrating the offense, and the Warriors had built a 18-9 lead. One of the biggest questions surrounding the Warriors was whether or not they could compete when Steph doesn’t have his superman cape on. In this game, Wiggins, Oubre, Wiseman, and Green proved they can collectively contribute when needed.
Don’t Enter Andrew Wiggin’s Paint
Andrew Wiggins was accumulating blocks left and right against the Pacers on Tuesday night. He ended the game with 5 blocks, and was creating a world of havoc for Malcolm Brogdon, who was on the receiving end of two of them.
As you can see above, Wiggins was very impressive on the defensive side of the ball last night. In the first clip, he locates the screen, fights through it, and uses his length and athleticism to complete the tough closeout. Wiggins has been tremendous defensively all season. He leads the team in blocks this season (1.8) and has proven he can guard the league’s toughest assignments when he puts his energy into it. If Wiggins continues to play like this defensively, he could find himself in the running for DPOY.
Steve Kerr enjoys coaching his guys despite the defensive inconsistencies the Warriors have been struggling with to begin the regular season.
After the Warriors 108-101 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night, Kerr expressed his confidence that the team is far from reaching their peak.
” I love our guys. They are great great guys. They’re competing like crazy, they’re absorbing things, they’re getting better everyday, and it’s fun to see them every morning when I come into the gym. This is a really good group and we’re going to improve quite a bit over the course of the season.
Well, he has a point. Each game the Warriors have shown improvement. Against the Clippers, it was their effort on the defensive side of the ball. The Clippers struggled to find an offensive rhythm and gave up a season high 19 turnovers. In fact, each of the Warriors starters recorded at least one steal in the game for the first time this season. It seems like the Warriors are finally learning how to utilize their size defensively. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre may not be producing much offensively, but defensively, they’re wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. Pressuring the ball, forcing tough shots, closing passing lanes, you name it.
At the beginning of the season, the Warriors goal was to become a top 10 defensive team. Not only because they have the size and length on the team to do so, but also because they have to be if they want to be competitive against contending teams. Tonight they did that. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the winning result.
The Warriors are still trying to figure out what their identity is on both sides of the ball. They know the type of team they want to be, but now it’s about figuring out how to get there with this roster. As the season goes on and chemistry is built, I completely expect the Warriors to improve as a team and learn how to close out tight games. For now, the Warriors will just have to live with the growing pains, and Steve Kerr is fully aware of it.
The Golden State Warriors will head back to the bay area 2-2 after the team’s grueling four game road trip. After starting the season 0-2, it seemed like the Warriors season was over before it even started. But after the team’s impressive 116-106 victory over the Pistons, it appears the Warriors might be hitting their stride.
Here are my 3 takeaways.
Wiggins Has Most Productive Night Since Joining GS
Andrew Wiggins played a terrific game against the Pistons. He posted 27 points while shooting 47% from the field. He led the team in rebounds (7), and exploded for 17 points and two blocks in the fourth quarter, helping the Warriors seal a much needed victory. But most importantly, he was able to carry the offense when Stephen Curry and Kelly Oubre were off the court. An element the team has been missing through the first three contests. There is no doubt that Wiggins is the Warriors #2 option in Steve Kerr’s offense, and him shooting the ball consistently is essential to the Warriors success. With that being said, this game should give Wiggins a confidence boost moving forward.
The Warriors Fail to Crash Defensive Glass
The Warriors effort on the defensive glass was awful despite their outstanding energy on the defensive side of the ball. James Wiseman picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and was forced to sit a majority of the half. And let’s just say, the Pistons took advantage of that opportunity. In fact, they had a field day on the offensive boards against Kevon looney and Eric Pashcall (16/4). In the first quarter alone, the Warriors were out-rebounded 8-1 on the offensive glass, and gave up 10 second chance points because of it. The Warriors were able to generate missed shots, but their lack of intensity rebounding the ball is what kept the Pistons in the game. Despite holding them to just 38% shooting. Becoming a top-10 defense this season was one of the team goals the Warriors highlighted this season. If they want to achieve that goal, they have to commit to crashing the glass and limiting second chance points.
The Bench Comes Up Big
The Warriors bench situation has been one of the biggest question marks surrounding the team this season. Steve Kerr made it clear last week that it would take about 20 games to figure out his rotation. Tonight he may have found the winning formula. Damion Lee, Brad Wanamaker, Eric Paschall, and Kevon Looney provided productive minutes off the bench and were able to extend the lead with the starters on the bench. They all finished close to double digit points, besides Paschall, who led the second unit with 10 points. The Warriors success will be largely impacted by the performance of the second unit. Unlike years past, the Warriors don’t have the luxury of having multiple all-stars to split up the scoring load. With that being said, I fully anticipate Kerr sticking with a similar rotation against the Portland TrailBlazers on Friday night.