What’s up with the Golden State Warriors?
The Warriors aren’t themselves to start the season. It’s hard to actually pinpoint a culprit for their 7-9 start.
It’s easy to point a finger at the underperforming Splash Brother, Klay Thompson. He’s averaging only 15.5 points per game, far from the regular 20-point output everyone is used to from him. What’s more troubling is his efficiency. Thompson is only shooting 36 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc.
The other obvious issue is the depth of this year’s Warriors team. Gone are the days when their bench can be relied on to hold on to or even extend leads. This season, the Warriors’ bench is a minus-384 in their 16 games so far. Last season, their bench unit was a plus-185.
The one person that can’t be blamed for their rough start is Steph Curry. He’s doing everything that he can to get wins. He’s averaging 32.2 points on 52 percent shooting. He’s had games of 40, 47, and 50 points already this season.
It’s a good sign that the Warriors looked like themselves in their win over the New York Knicks. Curry scored 24 points and dished out 10 assists. Thompson had 20 on 50 percent shooting. Jordan Poole and Jamychal Green combined for 25 points off the bench.
The bad news is that the win over the Knicks happened in San Francisco. They’re back on the road and are heading to Houston where they’re looking to break their ongoing road losing streak.
What’s up with the Houston Rockets?
It’s no secret that the Rockets are rebuilding. With a prize like Victor Wembanyama on the board, winning games isn’t exactly a priority for them. They’re the second-worst team in the league, sporting a 3-13 record.
Even though they’re losing, the team would still like to be moving forward in terms of the development of their younger players.
One positive that the team can take from this season is the growth of Jalen Green. Last year’s second pick has improved his numbers from last season, averaging 21.3 points and 3.4 assists (up from 17.3 PPG and 2.6 APG). He still needs to work on his efficiency (41.9 FG%, 3.1 TOPG) but his improvement this season is undeniable.
It’s also a good sign that this year’s rookies are ready to contribute immediately. Jabari Smith Jr. had a rough patch to start the season but has bounced back in the past few games, scoring and rebounding well. Tari Eason looks like a good plug-and-play forward that can fit into different line-ups.
The Rockets are bad. That’s by design. But make no mistake, they can surprise good teams. Two of their three wins have come against playoff contenders, the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks. While losing is a priority, helping extend the Warriors’ road woes is a good bonus to getting their fourth win.
Storyline to watch out for
This game will come down to which young core can contribute to their team.
The Rockets will definitely be relying on their rookies and sophomores for big production. If Green, Smith Jr., Alperen Sengun, and Kenyon Martin Jr. deliver big numbers then the Rockets have a chance to add another big win to their small collection.
As for the Warriors, Poole has to break out of his post-extension slump and lead the bench squad in the game. Beyond Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman will need to show something—anything really—if they want to help Golden State break their skid on the road.
This is the best chance for the Warriors to get their first road win this season after eight tries. The Rockets can pull off some surprises but not enough to pull off a shocking upset of the defending champs.
Where to watch
You can watch the Warriors try to end their road losing streak against the Rockets live on NBA League Pass at 8:00 AM.