The Warriors’ start to the 2022-23 season has been rougher than expected. Golden State even had an 0-5 road trip to prove that notion.
So what’s going on? One explanation is the Warriors’ young players have not been there to support the starting five, which still plays with elite efficiency.
But could part of that be because Draymond Green punched the Warriors’ brightest young star, guard Jordan Poole, in the face in the preseason, and the video was leaked for all to see? When I watch the team play, it seems there’s no cohesion on the roster, or it’s sorely lacking at the very least. I’ve thought that perhaps feelings from Greens’ punch still linger and affect the team.
Warriors legend Tim Hardaway says he thinks the Warriors haven’t gotten over the punch, providing support for my theory. He even says that if he was Poole, Green would have to “watch his back,” around him. Here are details on what Hardaway said in an exclusive interview with Sports Lens.
“That’s tough. That’s a tough one, to me if you get hit, even if afterward you see the video, they say, it was even worse than I thought. Well, getting hit is getting hit, no matter what it is. So no matter how you get hit, you got stole-on. I think that they will get through it. Steve Kerr said that this is the most that they have been through in his career there and they have to get beside it. I think they are getting beside it.
“But as a basketball player, it’d be hard if that happened to me. I will say though he should be looking over his shoulder every day I come into the locker room, that’s what I would say. He should be watching over his shoulder every time I see him. No matter where it’s at, whether it’s at a function, you’re walking to your car, in the locker room, wherever. Just watch your back. That’s the way I grew up, I think it’s hard to get over it.
“I don’t think they really truly have gotten over it, they are trying to. But I don’t think they really truly have.”Sports Lens
These comments are vintage Hardaway. As he said, he grew up old school and took no smoke.
Poole has had a slow start himself, and the Warriors need him to play as he did last season if they are to repeat as NBA champions. It’s impossible to know what is going on inside the Warriors locker room — or the heads of Poole and other players — but it’s no stretch to think these feelings have lingered.
There could be other reasons for the Warriors’ slow start, but until their young players start to live up to their potential, I’ll be suspicious that Poole, the leader of Golden State’s young crew, still doesn’t feel right about the situation, and that feeling is shared with other young players. Either way, the team has to start playing better, and I expect they will, led by superstar guard Stephen Curry’s brilliance.