The Warriors’ two biggest flaws of the 2022-23 NBA season were on full display in Tuesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder: Defense and road games.
While both continue to be factors in Golden State’s precarious season, FOX Sports’ Skip Bayless believes the Warriors’ issues stem from a deeper-rooted problem that occurred prior to the start of the season.
“Before the season started, Draymond [Green] lost his cool and his mind for just a moment and he punched Jordan Poole right in the jaw and somehow it got leaked,” Bayless recalled on “Undisputed” on Wednesday morning.
“Speaking of clouds hanging over a team, I believe that cloud still hangs over this team because they had the best culture in all of basketball, and now they have a very questionable culture.”
That culture was put in jeopardy when a leaked video showed Green punching Poole during Warriors practice back in early October, something Bayless said was "out of bounds" and "unacceptable."
Things were tense at first, but Green took full accountability for his actions and the two appeared to have hashed things out since. Or maybe not.
A new video circulating on social media Tuesday showed Green seemingly upset with Poole for not passing him the ball. Green proceeded to give up on the play and walk toward the Warriors' bench.
It’s not like Green to just give up mid-game, leading fans to speculate something bigger might be going on within the Warriors' locker room. Of course, that's all speculation and it could've just been Green getting caught up in a frustrated moment.
“They’re not hanging together under fire on the road and this was Exhibit A right here,” Bayless said. “The engine of this train, Draymond, he coughed and he sputtered when Jordan Poole didn’t pass him the basketball, and as the ball went the other way, he walked toward the bench.
“He didn’t quit on the game but he quit on the play. He came back in the second half because I think he got a stern talking to, probably from his head coach, and they’ve had a bunch of clashes in halftime locker rooms.”
And if the guy who anchors the defense can't get back to doing what he does best -- leading -- the Warriors might be in trouble.
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Golden State fell to 7-25 on the road and into the No. 6 seed in the West, with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers right on their tail. The Warriors have nine road games -- including a five-game road trip -- and seven home games left.
“They don’t play any defense anymore," Bayless continued. "They used to be the best defense and now they’re like in the 20s. That’s all you need to know. And that’s why they’re 7-25 on the road. How many times back in the dynastic day when you saw Steph coming into your building and you were like, 'Oh god we’re in for it tonight.’
"That team was actually even better on the road because, especially Steph, he loved to shut down a road crowd and he was doing his darndest last night to shut the crowd down with 40 points, but it didn’t matter because you weren’t really in the game because you don’t play defense."
If this team doesn't figure out a way to play better on the road soon, they could potentially find themselves in the play-in tournament.