Draymond Green has no answer to solve Warriors’ starting unit struggles

Draymond has no answer for Warriors’ first unit struggles originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

No one has an answer for the struggles the Warriors’ starting squad has endured as of late.

Not even Draymond Green, as much as he would like to.

Lethargic play and a lack of chemistry on the court have been recent trends for the Warriors’ first unit, and Saturday night was no exception. The Utah Jazz surged to a whopping 19-2 lead over the Warriors in the first quarter and never looked back, soundly defeating Golden State 127-108 at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Green, an integral member of the starting lineup, was asked after the game why the starting group has yet to come together.

“I don’t know,” Green said. “If I had an answer, I’d give it to our squad. I don’t know. We just got to figure it out.”

The Warriors’ first quarter woes have been alarming to say the least. Golden State has been outscored by at least nine points in the first quarter in all five of their last games.

Last five Warriors first quarters: Jazz outscored them 39-30Knicks outscored them 40-31Warriors led Spurs, 36-24Lakers outscored them 34-22Nuggets outscored them 37-24

— Kerith Burke (@KerithBurke) January 24, 2021

Head coach Steve Kerr has preached patience, saying he will need at least 20 games to configure his young squad. However, the Warriors (8-8) are 16 games into the season and the same questions remain. 

Part of that might be because the Warriors lack an identity. Their dynasty days are in the rearview mirror and one of their most prominent leaders, Klay Thompson, will miss the season for the second straight year. Green and Steph Curry have had to redefine their roles. Kelly Oubre Jr. has been inconsistent at best, and while No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman packs plenty of raw talent and potential, he’s just 19-years-old and will endure his fair share of growing pains. 

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On the bright side, Andrew Wiggins has played well lately, and seems to be more comfortable each game he’s on the floor. But the starting squad just isn’t gelling, and that’s a problem.

“We need to find our identity as a team,” Green said. “Sometimes we move the ball, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we defend, sometimes we don’t. We need to establish an identity. What kind of team are we going to be? Are we going to be a ball-moving team or an iso team?”

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Such is the pattern for the Warriors. Sometimes, they show flashes of excellence, like earlier in the week when they shocked the Los Angeles Lakers and soundly beat the San Antonio Spurs. Other times, like Saturday night, they’re a flat, lackluster ballclub. 

Lineup changes could be on the horizon, with Kerr saying after the game that “everything” is up for assessment. That’s a notable difference from his tone pregame, when he said he didn’t see himself tweaking the starting lineup “any time soon.”

So far, the Warriors are playing exactly like what they’re projected to be — a .500 team. But their status down the stretch of the season could swing either way depending on what changes are made — if any at all. 

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