Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) Draymond Green is right, the Warriors do f****** suck right now. There is no other way to put this, no sugar-coating for this reality: Golden State Warriors have looked flat-out terrible through two games.
How bad are the Warriors?
Give up 70 points and be down by 33 at halftime bad. Had the lead zero seconds so far this season bad. Get outscored by 51 points in your first two games bad. Give up at least 35 points in seven straight quarters bad. Have the worst defense in the NBA bad. Have the worst net rating in the NBA bad. Shoot 5-of-33 from three bad.
Draymond Green put it bluntly after a 120-92 loss to Oklahoma City on Sunday night:
“The reality is, we f****** suck right now. Hopefully, we’ll get better. We’ll continue to work at trying to get better, but we’re just not that good right now.”
Golden State’s issues start on defense. While Stephen Curry bombing from three and the beautiful game Golden State played on offense has drawn the spotlight, the Warriors dynasty has been built on a stifling, switching defense. That is the end of the floor where they have been the worst this season, with a net rating of 124.3 for two games (for comparison, the Cavaliers had the worst defense in the NBA last season at a net rating of 116.8). Oklahoma City essentially got whatever shot they wanted all game long.
On offense, the Warriors just can’t hit shots. They are shooting 26.7 percent from three this season, have the worst eFG percentage in the league, the third-worst true shooting percentage (48.9 percent, when the league average is a little above 55 percent), and they have a bottom 10 offensive rating.
Green is right in his postgame interview, those shooting and offensive woes start because the Warriors are not getting easy points in transition, a staple of the offense during their dynasty. Through two games, just 11.5 percent off their offense has been generated in transition, a number that was at 20.3 percent the last time they won a title. (Stat via Cleaning The Glass.)
Before the season, the Warriors were given “institutional credit” — we knew that Kevin Durant was gone, as were key role players such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, and we knew Klay Thompson was injured, and we knew the roster had major changeover and the talent level was down. But these were the Warriors, five straight Finals appearances, they still had Stephen Curry and Green and they added an All-Star in D’Angelo Russell. Much like the Spurs or the past couple of decades, we just assumed they would win.
No. Not even close.
It’s just two games into the marathon 82 game NBA season, it’s too early to shovel dirt on the Warriors dynasty. They have time to turn things around this season, and next season when fully healthy the Warriors could be a serious threat again.
But right now? They f****** suck.
2) Ja Morant would like to throw his name in the hat for Rookie of the Year after dropping 30 on Nets. On a podcast before the season, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports and myself debated this question: How many games will Zion Williamson have to play to still win Rookie of the Year? That question assumed two things. First, that Zion would return around Christmas and almost immediately look like the guy who was a dominant force in the preseason.
Second, that other rookies wouldn’t just step up and take charge of the award before Zion even got on the court.
Meet Ja Morant, the No. 2 pick in the draft. He dropped 30 on the Nets Sunday night and was putting up highlights.
But Morant was not all sizzle and no steak; when the game was on the line he blocked a Kyrie Irving jumper to force overtime.
In overtime, it was Morant with the assist to Jae Crowder for the Memphis win.
Morant isn’t the only rookie putting up early numbers, RJ Barrett has impressed in New York, Tyler Herro has looked good in Miami, and the list goes on. Whenever Zion gets back on the court, he is going to have a lot of catching up to do with the rest of his class. Morant in particular.
3) Tacko Fall made his NBA debut and the crowd went wild. It happened on Saturday in the Celtics blowout win over the Knicks, but we had to bring it to you: Tacko Fall made his NBA debut.
“The lead was 11, then 13, 15 … it got up to 20 and I was like, ‘it’s time,’” Fall told NBC Sports Boston.
Fall racked up impressive per-minute numbers with four points and three rebounds in 3:38 of playing time at the end of the game.
Fall — obviously a fan favorite, the Garden went wild with his every play — is on a two-way contract and will spend most of the season with the Maine Red Claws of the G-League. As he should, this Tacko needs a lot more seasoning.
But the 7’6” big man out of Senegal and Central Florida has his first NBA bucket, and nobody is taking that away from him.