The Golden State Warriors magically got their first win of the 2020-21 season on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Down two points with five seconds left in regulation, Warriors guard Damion Lee channeled his inner Stephen Curry by hitting a game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds left to give Golden State the 129-128 win.
Lee, who is married to Curry’s sister, finished the game with 12 points while shooting 80.0% from beyond the arc. Even though Curry led the Warriors with 36 points, Lee hit the biggest shot of the game for Golden State.
The Warriors are now 1-2 on the season and have a good shot at improving to 2-2 on Tuesday since they’ll face the lowly Detroit Pistons. While the mood in Golden State is certainly high after Lee’s stellar shot, one player on the Warriors is off to a historically bad start in his first season with the team, and it’s a big reason why the Dubs have struggled out of the gates.
Warriors acquired Kelly Oubre Jr. after Klay Thompson’s injury
The Phoenix Suns traded Kelly Oubre Jr. to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the blockbuster Chris Paul deal this past offseason. However, Oubre Jr. didn’t play a single game with OKC, as the Thunder traded the talented swingman to the Warriors for draft picks.
Golden State had to acquire Oubre Jr. since All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson was lost for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon. Thompson, who missed the entire 2019-20 season rehabbing from his left ACL tear, is irreplaceable for the Warriors, but Golden State felt like Oubre Jr. would be a solid pick up for them since he’s a prototypical 3-and-D wing.
With the Suns last season, Oubre Jr. averaged 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 45.2% from the field and 35.2% from beyond the 3-point line. He signed a two-year, $30 million contract during the summer of 2019 with the Suns.
The Warriors were excited about adding Oubre Jr. since he’s a versatile offensive and defensive weapon. However, through the first three games of the 2020-21 season, the former Kansas Jayhawk has been awful for the Dubs.
Kelly Oubre Jr. can’t buy a jump shot
Kelly Oubre Jr. is a career 32.4% shooter from beyond the arc. However, you wouldn’t know that after watching him play this season, as the forward is 0-of-17 from deep.
Against the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Bulls, Oubre Jr. is shooting 17.5% from the field. He’s 0-for-31 on non-dunk attempts so far this season. For whatever reason, Oubre Jr. can’t buy a jump shot, and the Warriors have to be concerned about his play.
After losing Klay Thompson for a second straight season, the Warriors knew it would be tough to compete for a championship. However, general manager Bob Myers was expecting the addition of Oubre Jr. to pay off in a big way since the lefty is 6-foot-7, can guard multiple positions, and stretch the floor with his shooting skills.
Thus far, though, Oubre Jr. has really struggled for the Warriors, and some fans of the club have already jumped off the “Wave Papi” bandwagon.
Warriors are paying Kelly Oubre Jr. $14.4 million this season
Kelly Oubre Jr. is making $14.4 million this season from the Warriors, whose historic tax bill increased even more after acquiring the veteran. It’s only three games, but the Oubre Jr. trade isn’t looking so good at the moment for the Dubs.
Some pundits believe the Warriors will miss the playoffs this season since Stephen Curry is the only high-level player on the team and the Western Conference is rugged from top to bottom. While Oubre Jr. will likely shoot the ball better moving forward, it appears Golden State will have a tough time competing against teams in the West.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.