On Friday night, the Nuggets took on the Warriors without Jamal Murray or Monte Morris. It didn’t help matters when Will Barton strained his hamstring 59 seconds into the contest. The injury report for the Warriors pre-game included James Wiseman, Kent Bazemore, and Damion Lee. With the absence of Bazemore and Lee, Oubre (32 min.) and Poole (25 min.) were granted a larger amount of time on the court. They both took advantage of their minutes and I noticed something in particular that I wanted to explain in this article.
When players carry out their role, and their role only, the Warriors can be successful as they were on Friday. When Oubre has his stroke, but is mostly conducting off-ball cuts, he is producing in the way that Steve Kerr wants him to. Jordan Poole is a confident young man with plenty of talent. Poole doesn’t care if he’s missed his past three shots, he still has the confidence to keep shooting. As a young player developing in the NBA, this is a trait that you want to have, and as a coach, you want to have players with this quality on your team. His field goal percentages and three-point percentages haven’t been the greatest, and many Warrior fans are not fond of him. I’ve noticed that Poole has a fantastic array of moves, but his strength (physically and specifically wrist strength) has prevented him from remaining consistent.
Another factor I wanted to cover was Mychal Mulder. Mulder was allowed to start this game and was an electrifying boost for Golden State. He is recognized as a three-point shooter, but Mulder showed his athleticism and finishing ability in the paint with a thunderous dunk and a couple of nice lay-ins.
The Warriors racked up an impressive 40 assists to the Nugget’s 26. The Warriors gathered 52 rebounds to the Nugget’s 36. Nuggets players were down after Barton exited the game, which is understandable. What isn’t acceptable is giving minimal effort on the defensive end and the glass. The Warriors scored 20 more points in the paint (50/20) and outscored the Nuggets 29 to 12 in fast break points. I don’t like to question coaches, but I’m curious as to why JaVale McGee didn’t see a single minute of court time on Friday. What did the Nuggets need? Energy, defense, and paint points. What does McGee bring to the table? All of those. If the Nuggets continue to mope around and begrudge upon their past, they won’t get anywhere, but if they can get past the injuries that have riddled their season, I see them as a second-round playoff team.