If the Warriors want to turn their season around they need better play from their wings. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. must improve dramatically.
The Warriors didn’t necessarily expect to play like NBA title contenders in 2020-21 without the services of Klay Thompson. They also didn’t expect to start the season with consecutive blowout losses. Christmas Day’s 39-point loss at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks served as a stern reminder to Golden State on just how far they are away from being an elite team.
If Steve Kerr and his coaching staff are going to successfully turn this squad around, they need much better play from their starters on the wing. Both Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. entered the season with big expectations. The Warriors believed both could flourish as above-average NBA starters playing alongside Stephen Curry in the team’s starting five.
How bad have Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins been?
To say that hasn’t worked out through two games would be a massive understatement. Wiggins and Oubre have been among the worst players in the entire NBA to start the year. The high-priced duo is 14 of 58 from the floor in the team’s two ugly losses. Both players need their shooting percentages to rise dramatically if they’re going to help the Warriors climb back into the playoff picture.
It’s not as if either player is giving Golden State tremendous defense to compensate for their lack of scoring punch. Wiggins, in particular, has really struggled to check anyone on the perimeter to start the year. James Wiseman’s better than expected rim protection has masked those deficiencies to a degree, but Wiggins’ defense still looks like a massive disappointment for a player with such a high level of athleticism.
The good news for the Warriors is that it’s hard to imagine Wiggins and Oubre continuing to play this poorly. They may not blossom into All-Stars anytime soon, but their field goal percentage should start to progress to the mean as the regular-season rolls along. That improvement will be a welcome boost for an offense that needs to give Curry more support both on and off the ball.
The question Golden State needs to answer is just how much they can reasonably expect from Wiggins and Oubre moving forward. If those two players can’t provide the team above-average production at the two-guard and small forward spot then Curry will need to play at an MVP level to keep this team close to .500.