The superteam Golden State Warriors should pick up their first win of the season tonight in New Orleans.
The Pelicans have Anthony Davis and just about nothing else to speak of in the starting lineup.
Sure, the former No. 1 overall pick logged 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals and four blocks in his first game of the season against Denver. And on paper, the Dubs don’t have anyone who can check someone with such a dynamic skill set to complement a 7-foot frame.
“You ever seen a pickup game where there’s a high school kid playing and everyone else is 12?” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said, explaining Davis’ game. “The 12-year olds are good. But the high school kid is just physically posting up, knocking people around, shooting jumpers, doing whatever he wants. That’s Anthony.”
But that wasn’t Davis last year when Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut combined to limit him to 18-for-57 shooting over three games.
Green frustrated Davis by limiting his face-up game by not letting him dribble comfortably. AD also wasn’t able to capitalize of his height advantage in the post, either.
Placing Zaza Pachulia on the one-game MVP would be a mistake for the Warriors, but even if Davis repeats his performance, the Dubs should have enough firepower to win the game. Because Davis is an imposing force, but the second option on his team is Tim Frazier, the 2015 D-League MVP.
Kerr has been stressing patience for the last few weeks about this early stretch of the games. He’s talked about tinkering with rotations, combinations, defensive and offensive schemes and that meaning his team may have to take a few lumps along the way.
Well, this is one game they should be able to tweak and experiment with impunity. And that’ll extend to Sunday, when they play a young Phoenix team.
But frankly, while it didn’t look good against the Gregg Popovich-coached San Antonio Spurs, I don’t have any real concerns about this team’s defense, despite a miserable 144.9 defensive rating through one night.
That small-sample-size nightmare was attributable to a “combination of some miscommunication, still figuring out where we’re supposed to be. I thought we came out pretty soft,” according to Kerr.
“We’re finding where everybody fits, what we can run from last year, maybe some new things we need to add,” Kerr explained. “What’s our defense going to look like, our defensive schemes, do they have to change with the new personnel?”
Maybe the team will require more patience than originally thought, which shouldn’t be surprising as there’s a precedent for slow starting villainous superteams in the NBA. The Miami Heat racked up eight losses by the end of November in their first season after LeBron James jetted Cleveland.
And if you remember, that team had too much talent on the perimeter and not enough length and big men willing to fight in the paint. It also went on to win a pair of titles.
There’s really no reason to feel anything even remotely resembling panic about this team until well after the new year.
But if you’re desperate to see the team that everyone hyped during the preseason — the group that promises to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing teams in NBA history — tonight should be a good night to tune in.