May 19, 2024

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Young Guns Falling Short: The Challenge of Leading an Older Team

The Golden State Warriors have struggled through their first 17 games. The Warriors are 10th in the West standings at 8-9, with just two wins over their last nine games.

Hall of Famer Paul Pierce explained why the franchise, which has won four titles and made six NBA Finals appearances from 2015-2022, is dealing with a rough start.

“You got to be worried,” Pierce told Kevin Garnett on their podcast, “Ticket and The Truth,” via Showtime. “Young guys ain’t stepping up, and you are an older team. They are getting older. I think the window is finally closing on them. They are getting a little bit older.

“Steph (Curry) is still having to do a lot. Which he is capable of. Guys like Klay (Thompson), he hasn’t found his rhythm yet. These guys got miles. They had so many years of long postseasons, and it’s a matter of time before the decline comes.

“And I think this is what we are starting to see with Golden State. These guys are not the same players they were years ago, and that’s all the way down the line, Chris Paul to Klay Thompson to Draymond Green. A lot of teams have gotten better, have caught up to them, and have passed them. I think that’s what we are seeing.

“We are seeing a shift in the guard. They have been good for a long time. We expect them to be great all the time because they have been good so long and Steph is still great. But if you are not getting a high-level Klay Thompson, it is different.”

Steve Kerr explains why Gary Payton II is an X factor for the Warriors

Gary Payton II has been playing decent basketball for the Warriors and has been one of their best options coming off the bench. He is averaging 5.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in 13 games, and coach Steve Kerr explained why he is Golden State’s X factor.

“One of the benefits of playing him is he knows how to play with Steph,” Kerr said via Clutchpoints. “It’s not just his defense, which is excellent, but when he’s on the floor with Steph, that’s where some of the off-ball stuff just happens because Gary recognizes it as well as anybody.

“There’s definitely a lot of value in playing Gary with Steph, and we’re trying to do that more.”

The Warriors will try to build some momentum on Tuesday when visit the Sacramento Kings (9-6).