Warriors

What we learned as Warriors beat Kings to improve to 3-0

Warriors
Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes

The Warriors might need to bring back their "Strength in Numbers" slogan for this season. 

Though it has been just three games, the Warriors' depth has been what has allowed them to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2015, including their 119-107 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night at Golden 1 Center. 

Steph Curry -- who became the first player in franchise history to dish out 5,000 career assists -- led the team through most of the night, finishing with 27 points, 10 assists and three steals. 

But five other Warriors also finished in double-figure scoring. Jordan Poole scored 20 points, while Andrew Wiggins added 15, Draymond Green had 14, Damion Lee finished with 11 and Gary Payton II scored 10.

In the non-Curry minutes in the fourth quarter, the second unit took the lead in a back-and-forth game and built on it. By the time Curry checked back in, he just needed to be the closer. 

Here are three takeaways from Sunday's win:

Draymond does a bit of everything

Draymond Green's performance against the Kings was the perfect example of what the Warriors need from him on a night-to-night basis. 

He was a swiss army knife and did a little bit of everything, finishing the night with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, seven assists and six rebounds.

There's been debate over whether or not Green should look to score. The simple fact is that the Warriors are just better when he does, but that doesn't mean he needs to chuck shots up. It just means that if he's in position to score, he takes the shot. If Green can put up 10 to 15 points each game, the Warriors' deep scoring arsenal will be that much deeper. It will also force opponents to defend him, opening up other players to shoot.

 

But if he isn't scoring, Green has to keep doing all of the small things, which were all on display in Sacramento. In addition to his assists that showed up on the stat sheet, Green set several screens that led to buckets, and as always, his defensive tenacity was there. 

As the Warriors rely on smaller lineups throughout the season, they need Green to take his job as the team's swiss army knife seriously and keep doing it all. 

Jordan Poole bounces back

After his first rough game of the season, Jordan Poole regained his footing in Sacramento. 

He finished with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block. He also helped lead the second unit in the fourth quarter to survive the Curry-less minutes. 

Seeing Poole bounce back as he did is a big positive sign for the Warriors. As defenses pay him more attention, Poole will have to learn to adjust his game to work around them -- something he hasn't had to do yet in his career. 

After his cold game against the Clippers, some were asking if his shooting should be cause for concern, or if coach Steve Kerr would take back the green light he gave Poole to shoot wherever and whenever. Poole's game against the Kings gave a quick answer: His confidence is still there, and so is his shooting. 

Gary Payton II gets meaningful minutes

With Andre Iguodala out with left hip soreness, Gary Payton II played significant minutes in Sacramento on Sunday night -- 17 total minutes, to be exact. 

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And in his first meaningful game, he backed up the Warriors' decision to give him the 15th roster spot. As expected, he was sharp on defense, making the matchup against the Kings rookie Davion Mitchell -- another defense-first player -- even more intriguing. 

But Payton also showed he's more than just a good defender. Payton scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range, both of which opened up the fourth quarter. He also finished off a perfectly executed alley-oop dunk tossed up by Curry.

It's unclear what Payton's spot in the rotation will be when Iguodala returns, but his performance against Sacramento was as good of an argument as any to suggest that he can have a good impact on the team.

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