Bears Insider

Warriors hope Draymond's presence offers spark after latest loss

Bears Insider
Draymond Green

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- After blowing a 21-point lead at home to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, the expectation was that the Warriors would arrive in Minnesota to start a brutal four-game road trip with a statement.

But there was no statement from the punchless Warriors on Tuesday night at Target Center. They lacked effort, energy, and spirit in a 129-114 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

There was no championship grit and little fight. Golden State offered minimal resistance on defense, was sloppy on offense, and now is hoping the mere presence of Draymond Green will spark them.

"Yes," head coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday night when asked if he wanted Green around the team more.

Green, who has been out since Jan. 9 with a back injury, will meet the team in Dallas on Wednesday before the Warriors face the Mavericks on Thursday.

The Warriors have missed everything Green brings to them on the court. But they have missed his fire, passion, and leadership on and off the court just as much.

After a lifeless performance against the Timberwolves, a Warriors team that is searching for answers will look to their heartbeat for an off-day jolt to help stop the backsliding.

“It’s huge," Steph Curry said Tuesday of the impact not having Green around has on the team. "Like I said, we’re all built, in terms of that trust and chemistry and knowing each other and having a guy like him who is very vocal, high IQ, has a certain approach of leadership, all that stuff, it matters. So that’s why just trying to stay patient in terms of where we are in the season and where we want to be in a month-and-a-half.”

These Warriors were constructed differently than last year's version.

The 2020-21 Warriors surrounded Curry and Green with a host of two-way players, unproven young pros and budget-bin journeymen, relying on Curry to carry them until he could no longer shoulder the burden.

This version was crafted as a collective. The return of Klay Thompson and the reunion with Andre Iguodala gave the Warriors five players who had been through championship battles and know what it takes to return to the top.

With Curry, Green, Iguodala and Looney healthy to start the season, the Warriors had a team with great veteran depth and exciting young talent that got to learn from the pillars of a dynasty. Thompson returned, and it looked like the Warriors were about to morph back into an unstoppable force.

But slowly, injuries have melted that away. Green hasn't played since the beginning of January. Iguodala has missed more games than he has played this season. Even Thompson has missed the past two games with an illness. The star shooting guard will rejoin the team in Texas as well, but his status for Thursday's game is unknown.

All that has left Curry with only one teammate who has been through the fires with him in Looney.

On Tuesday night, the 2021-22 Warriors looked more like last year's iteration -- one that struggles to put up a fight against any team with a playoff pulse -- than one with legitimate title chances.

“Myself, Draymond, Andre, Klay, Loon, we have all been around playoff series, championship runs, so we all know the level you have to be at every night," Curry said after the loss to the Wolves. "So you have another guy who can share that perspective, I’ll say. But it’s also like what [Green] brings on the court is another level of confidence. It’s also, Klay has been in and out of the lineup, Andre has been out of the lineup, and we have had just a lot of shuffling going on.

"It’s not an excuse because of how we are playing, but it’s also the balance of developing our young guys and understanding the opportunity that they have to see that night-in and night-out, it worked in the first half of the season, and it hasn’t been there as consistently with our guys out. Again, not an excuse for how we are playing, but we are built as a full team. Until we get that, I don’t know if we will see our full ceiling, but we have to do the little things in the meantime to keep building and keep building confidence. Right now, we’re not doing that.”

RELATED: Kerr sends clear message to Poole amid Warriors' skid

No, they aren't.

The Warriors now are 14-12 since an early January road trip that started their current slump. They have been, by very definition, mediocre since the calendar flipped to January.

Aggressive Andrew Wiggins is gone. Electric Jordan Poole is MIA. Their defense is frayed. The offense disjointed.

So, with their problems mounting and leaks springing faster than Kerr can patch, the Warriors will ask Green to light a fire under a team desperately searching for the heart and soul it showed early on.

Green has been known to give stirring speeches and vicious tongue-lashings. Perhaps those will give the Warriors life. No matter how brief the high is, the Warriors need it. They need energy and confidence. They need to find their fight and their grit.

Even if Green can't give them everything they need, the hope is that he can at least show these lost Warriors the way.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast