The Warriors were expecting to be reliant on Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins this season, both for offensive production on the wing and the ability to defend the opponent's top players night in and night out.
But Oubre in particular has struggled mightily through his first nine games in a Warriors uniform, most notably sporting a 13.3 percent mark shooting from 3-point range (6-for-45). Warriors coach Steve Kerr remains unconcerned about the slump and believes Oubre still is getting comfortable working with Golden State's starting lineup.
"Obviously this slow start for Kelly is more just about a lack of flow with our starting group, and that's something we're trying to address," Kerr told reporters Saturday. "It's always tough to go to a new team and find your role, find your rhythm, and I think that's what's happened with Kelly. He's handled it beautifully, brings a positive approach and a smile to practice every day, but I know this is eating him up inside."
Kerr didn't give much detail Saturday for how he plans to rectify that lack of flow with the starting five, but he said after Friday night's win over the Los Angeles Clippers that he doesn't see himself relegating Oubre to a bench role at this time.
“I don’t anticipate it,” Kerr said. “It’s so early in the season. I want Kelly to gain some rhythm and some confidence. He’s a proven player. He’s been doing this for years. He’ll get going.”
Oubre is averaging 10.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game on 33.3 percent shooting overall. After playing a season-high 32 minutes in the win over the Portland Trail Blazers last week that featured Steph Curry's 62-point explosion, his minutes have steadily declined over the past three games.
But Kerr continues to emphasize the importance of having Oubre and Wiggins in the lineup, especially on the defensive end.
"His defense has been great for us," Kerr told reporters Saturday. "We need him badly, we need Andrew badly, and it's such a relief for me as a coach after last year, not having the horses to deal with the Paul Georges and Kawhi Leonards of the world, what a relief knowing I've got Kelly and Andrew to defend on the wings. What I love about both guys is they have embraced the challenge of guarding the best guys and doing the job."
Wiggins has been much more impactful on offense, averaging 17.6 points per game on 43.6 percent shooting from the field, but has made 3-pointers at a 40.5 percent clip.
There always are overreactions through the first few weeks of the season, and Oubre's toils have been the most notable.
A 72-game sample size will be a much more accurate characterization of Oubre's season than a nine-game one, but at least his teammates and coaches are behind him and determined to help him turn things around.