Golden State Warriors fans had high hopes for this season. No, Golden State doesn’t have Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant, but Stephen Curry is back, and they have added multiple big-time players within the last year in Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr., and James Wiseman. They haven’t gotten off to a great start in 2020-21, though, and their tough start just got worse thanks to the brutal news they recently received about big man Marquese Chriss.
The Golden State Warriors have had a slow start to the season
After making five consecutive NBA Finals appearances and winning three championships during those five seasons, the Warriors no longer had Kevin Durant in 2019-20. They also didn’t have Klay Thompson due to injury, and Stephen Curry only played in five games. This led to them going 15-50 last season.
Fans were hopeful heading into this season, though. No, the Warriors still don’t have Thompson, but Curry is back. They also traded for former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins last season and then traded for Kelly Oubre Jr. in the offseason. This is in addition to the team selecting James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft.
However, the team has gotten off to a slow start so far. The Warriors got blown out in their first game against the Brooklyn Nets, 125-99, before losing big again to the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas, 138-99. They, however, won in their third game, but only barely over a bad Chicago Bulls team, 129-128.
Curry is averaging 25 points per game and 7.3 assists so far, but he has been awful shooting-wise. He is only shooting 38.1% from the field and 25.7% from 3-point range. The rest of the team hasn’t been great, either, though. Wiggins — who averages just under 20 points per game for his career — is only averaging 14.7 points per game and is only shooting 32.7% from the field. Kelly Oubre Jr., who scored 18.7 points per game with the Phoenix Suns last year, is only averaging 5.7 points per game and is shooting an abysmal 17.5% from the field. Draymond Green has yet to play, too.
Marquese Chriss has become a solid role player for the Warriors
Marquese Chriss had a slow start to his career after becoming the No. 8 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. He averaged 9.2 points per game and 4.2 rebounds in his rookie season with the Phoenix Suns, but only averaged 7.7 points per game in 2017-18. Then, in 2018-19, he only scored 4.2 points per game with the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Chriss proved to still have excellent potential with the Warriors in 2019-20, though. He averaged 9.3 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, and a career-high 1.1 blocks. Chriss also shot a career-best 54.5% from the field during that season.
While he wasn’t expected to be one of the Warriors’ top big men in 2020-21, many expected him to be a nice role player. He proved to be just that so far this season, too. In 12:26 of playing time in his first game this season, Chriss scored nine points and had eight rebounds. Again, that was in less than 13 minutes, too.
However, it appears that his season is potentially over.
Marquese Chriss is reportedly out for the season
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Marquese Chriss broke his right fibula. He will miss the rest of the season.
While losing Chriss is not like losing a starter, this is still a tough blow for the Warriors as he just had a nice season last year. It also affects their depth. Behind Green and Wiseman down low is Eric Paschall, who has played decent this year. However, Kevon Looney is who they will have to rely on more now.
Looney doesn’t give the Warriors as much of a scoring punch. He has never scored over 6.3 points per game in a season. Chriss also recorded over six rebounds per game for the Warriors last season. Looney, on the other hand, has never averaged over 5.2 rebounds in a season.
The Golden State Warriors still have enough talent to have a successful season. They’re only three games into the new year. However, they will have to figure out a way to replace Chriss, as his injury is a tough blow to a team that has already struggled out the gates.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference