If Alfonzo McKinnie, Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks and Jacob Evans woke up Wednesday looking for any motivation, they certainly received it.
John Hollinger of The Athletic -- who spent the last seven seasons in the Memphis Grizzlies' front office -- released his Pacific Division preview.
To say he doesn't believe in those four Warriors players would be quite the understatement:
Just finding a fifth starter is a challenge. “Warriors small forward” is the worst position group of any team in the league. Alec Burks dribbles too much and doesn’t defend enough, but he may end up starting simply by virtue of him not being Alfonzo McKinnie or Glenn Robinson. Behind them, Jacob Evans was the eighth-best player on his G-League team. If first-round pick Jordan Poole flashes any ability at all, he may end up finishing games in three-guard fronts with Russell and Curry.
The Warriors compounded their depth issues with a bizarre decision to trade Shabazz Napier’s and Treveon Graham’s minimum contracts by paying $3 million to Minnesota to take them. Golden State could have just paid somebody the same amount to take the since-waived Shaun Livingston and his $2 million cap hit instead.
Alternatively, the Warriors could have retained Napier and Graham and not signed Burks or Robinson. Napier was decent in Brooklyn last year and would have helped on a minimum deal, while Graham is a low-ceiling grinder but certainly not any worse than McKinnie or Robinson.
Just to be clear -- Hollinger isn't just saying the Dubs have the worst group of small forwards in the NBA. He's saying it's the single worst group regardless of position.
At this point, nobody knows whose name the Warriors' PA announcer will say when the starting lineups are introduced before the season opener against the Clippers on Oct. 24.
“We’re just really teaching so much and trying to put things in place right now that I haven’t had a chance to really assess who is where in that race, for who is going to start and who is going to play,” coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday. “They’re all competing.”
This is how the candidates performed in the preseason opener last Saturday against the Lakers:
-McKinnie: seven points, six rebounds, two assists, one block in 21 minutes (he started).
-Robinson: four points, three rebounds, two assists, one block in 17 minutes
-Burks: DNP (sprained ankle)
-Evans: nine points, one rebound in 19 minutes
It seems unlikely that Kerr would go with the rookie Poole, but he definitely flashed ability -- 17 points (5-for-11 overall, 4-for-9 3s) in 23 minutes.
Watch how much space Jordan Poole creates on the stepback 3. This is big time pic.twitter.com/tu0A0ARxTa— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) October 7, 2019
Fellow rookie Eric Paschall is an under-the-radar option, and he certainly held his own despite falling victim to an aggressive LeBron James on multiple occasions.
Kerr and the coaching staff hope that somebody separates from the pack and makes the decision easy. But it's possible it ends up being a game-by-game situation.
When you lose Kevin Durant and find yourself in a "hard-capped" state, stuff like this happens.