3 Players Most Responsible for the Warriors' Struggles


All was merry for the Warriors at the beginning of the 2023-2024 season, starting even from training camp. Most reports were positive, with players and coaches saying that the team camaraderie was at an all-time high, especially compared to last year. The high spirits and great team chemistry translated to wins, starting in the preseason. The Warriors went 4-1 in the preseason, and to start the actual NBA season, they were 5-1, their lone loss being the season opener against the Suns. 

Following the fantastic debut week for the Warriors, the hype was at an all-time high. NBA power rankings placed the Warriors within the top 5, among teams such as the Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, and more. The Poole trade seemed to work to perfection: while Poole is struggling in Washington, with consistent Shaqtin-a-Fool plays, Paul is effectively leading the second-unit while meshing perfectly with the play style of the Splash Brothers. Even on the road, the Warriors were doing well (something of great emphasis following the disastrous road record last season), with a 3-game road winning streak. Then, the second week of the 2023-2024 season dawned upon us. From the second week onwards, the Warriors have a record of 1-6, with games both on the road and at home. But who is to blame? Here are three players: 

1. Klay Thompson

Klay is the most obvious choice, especially after his disastrous game against the Thunder on Thursday, shooting 1-10 from the field and ending up with just 5 points. Everyone goes through a slump, but Klay has never experienced a slump for this long, making everyone believe that Father Time may have struck him. Since the start of the season, Klay has not scored over 20 points once, while averaging a poor 13.8 points per game, on just 40% from the field and, shockingly, 33% from three. For a career 42% three-point shooter, 33% is absolutely unacceptable, especially when Klay is on a contract year, seeking a supposed max extension. Klay's struggles, in my opinion, are from a mental standpoint. Perhaps it's because he knows contract talks are happening congruently with this season, or most recently, Draymond and Steph's absences, but Klay seems to force a bunch of contested high-degree-of-difficulty shots. Thus, he misses a lot of them, which causes him to miss the open, generally easy shots for Klay. Aside from his poor shooting, Klay isn't offering much either: defensively, he's lost his step, and he's only averaging roughly 3 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Maybe, Klay will step it up and regain his form, but there's also a possibility that Klay has truly fallen off due to age. 

2. Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins, who was instrumental to the Warriors' 2022 Finals run and deemed the second-best player on the Warriors last year, can't buy a shot to save his life. For a man who signed a 4 year, 109-million-dollar contract and is supposed to be in his prime, barely averaging over 10 points is unacceptable. For the season, he's averaging 10.5 points and just 1 assist, on 40% shooting and an absolutely horrendous 13.5 percent from three. Defensively, he's still Andrew Wiggins, which is a slight positive, but offensively, he's fallen off a cliff, missing floaters, hook shots, and open threes, and even free throws (50% from the field). At least he's offensively rebounding the ball well this season, a key piece as to why the Warriors are 2nd in 2nd-chance points. However, due to the fact that he is in his prime, at 28 years old, we can assume, for now, that Wiggins is merely having a serious slump that he should break out of soon. The key to helping out mentally-damaged players like Wiggins is to, first, cater to his strengths and get him so easy buckets to grow his confidence, which is what the Warriors are doing. Kerr and the staff are placing great emphasis on getting Wiggs the ball to start the game, whether it's out of inbound plays or in transition, so hopefully, he can regain his confidence, sooner rather than later. It's just a bit sad that he's only averaging one more point than Dario Saric, who is on a veteran minimum. 

3. Jonathan Kuminga

Coming into the season, JK was expected to take that 3rd-year leap. Those expectations were heightened after he led the league in PPG during the preseason. In some regards, he has taken a leap: his points are up by 3 ppg, rebounds are up by around 1 rpg, and his free throw shooting now stands at a respectable 75%. He's also drawing fouls much more, which is obviously beneficial for the team. However, his shooting percentages, like Klay and Wiggs, are atrocious: 42% from the field, and 18.5% from three. He also still seems a bit rushed and doesn't play within the system at times, leading to clumsy turnovers when he tries to isolate. Defensively, his instincts haven't improved that much as well, falling for pump fakes and being subjected to bad fouls. However, JK is just 21 years old, and with time, he should be improving. The key, though, is how long before he develops into the ideal Warriors player who plays smart and within the system but offers the team what they don't have: supreme athleticism, speed, and energy. If JK's development takes a bit too long, then maybe, the Warriors may have to ship him off for a "win-now" type of guy. However, the key with young players is patience, and he still has time to develop, unlike players like Klay and Wiggs.

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