Golden State Warriors

Warriors rookie G Nico Mannion has career night on offense, gets cooked on defense in loss to Kings

In the Warriors’ blowout loss to the Kings on Thursday night, sans superstar guard Stephen Curry and forward Draymond Green, each team got off to a blistering start on offense.

One team kept piling on the points for 48 minutes however, and that was Sacramento. In total, they scored an astounding 141 points to the Warriors’ 119.

Warriors rookie guard Nico Mannion played 30 minutes in Curry’s absence, and he had a large impact on the game. First, the good: he had a career-high 19 points and hit 5-of-8 3-pointers.

But now, the bad. While Mannion hit a lot of shots from distance, he opened the floodgates for Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, who had a career-high 44 points of his own. Fox had 20 points in the decisive second quarter, and he really got cooking when Mannion guarded him.

I mean, look at this. Sure rookie James Wiseman got beat too and Fox can score with the best of them, but Mannion looks like a lost pup on this second-quarter play.

And if you can stomach it, here’s more footage of the carnage. (Second tweet below. Two of the first three plays.)

I certainly don’t want to pile on Mannion here. Fox is a stone-cold killer and cooked the entire team. But he really got going after he saw Mannion in front of him.

Plus, I thought Mannion was too aggressive on offense in that second quarter. It’s when the game fell apart, and he somehow felt the need to take shots outside the construct of the offense. He called his own number multiple times in that frame without passing the ball at all.

Okay, I didn’t want to pile on, but I for real thought his floor game — despite the career scoring night — cost the Warriors dearly against the Kings. It swung momentum and depleted any chance Golden State had for a win.

In total, Mannion hit 5-of-12 shots and had three assists. As a rookie playmaker that is a liability on defense, I’d rather see him assist more and shoot fewer times so his teammates get more involved.

But the Warriors were shorthanded, and that’s the real No. 1 factor in the loss. Mannion looks great as a second-round pick, and his jumper is much better than advertised. I’d just rather he cinch his game up and not try and do too much.

(Photo credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)

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