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Warriors Overreactions: Harden trade, lineup adjustments

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After splitting a pair of home games with the Trail Blazers, blowing out the Kings and then splitting two games with the Clippers, the Warriors brought the longest homestand of the first half of the season to a fitting conclusion.

By staying strong in the face of a late rally to beat the rampaging Raptors and then withering under late pressure and losing to the Pacers.

It has been that kind of season for Warriors, who have yet to win or lose three consecutive games. They’re 6-5, and they look like a squad destined to hover around .500.

What to make of them after 11 games? We took to Twitter to solicit opinions for a segment we call Warriors Overreactions:

Overreaction? Absolutely.

The Warriors are among several teams that, looking at the departures of coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey, concluded the Rockets were ready for massive change and, therefore, ready to move on from Harden. The Warriors figured Harden might be receptive for change and wondered if he could adapt to their system. They even did some preliminary background work.

Their conclusion was to back away. Harden comes with considerable postseason baggage and tends to offset his assets with liabilities. That’s too big a risk for someone owed $133 million over the next three years.

I believe the Warriors did the right thing. Though the fantasy element of Harden alongside Stephen Curry in the backcourt is appealing, the reality is Harden would have been a misfit there and in numerous ways.

 

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Overreaction? No.

This is perhaps the most popular opinion Warriors fans offer when the offense is unable to find any rhythm. Go back to basketball basics.

It’s a logical reaction. Draymond Green and Curry have a history of punishing defenses with pick-and-roll action that takes advantage of Draymond’s decisive playmaking ability. Using PNR with James Wiseman and Curry is promising but clearly needs further development, nearly all of it on Wiseman’s end. He is, after all, a 19-year-old rookie.

However, Wiseman already has pick-and-pop potential. Yes, he is the best lob threat on the roster. But his midrange jumper is feathery. He lacks the playmaking ability of a David West, but defenses would rather live with Wiseman’s 2-point buckets than to allow Curry open looks beyond the arc.

The Warriors under Steve Kerr typically resort to PNR and PNP as default options. It’s not their bread-and-butter and never will be. But when the offense hits a rut, it makes sense to make more use of these options.

Overreaction? Yes, but there are some cogent points.

Would the Warriors benefit from a stretch big? Sure. Marquese Chriss was showing promise before his injury. Paschall, a mini-big, has the license to launch from deep. Looney isn’t there. Marc Gasol would’ve been nice, but he chose the Lakers. If one becomes available, he should be on the team’s radar.

A Damion Lee/Kelly Oubre Jr. role swap, that’s risky. Oubre is a long, elite defender and that element is necessary. Oubre’s shooting will climb back toward the norm, but he’s also struggling with how to play off Curry. A change is not the move. Not yet. But ... there may come a time.

About Alen Smailagic, the Warriors are bending over backwards with hope that he’ll develop into a nice stretch big. He’s 20 years old and very much a project. I’m not convinced he’ll make an impact, but the Warriors aren’t ready to see him go elsewhere and blossom, as was the case with Chris Boucher in Toronto.

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Overreaction? Naturally.

But, as your handle implies, you already know this.

Curry is in his 12th year as a Warrior and will be on the roster for as long as he likes. Like Tim Duncan, John Stockton, Dirk Nowitzki and the late Kobe Bryant, Curry is a synonymous with one team. The Warriors realize he deserves to remain so until he hangs up his sneaks.