They lost to Charlotte Monday night, which is not a good thing, not even at the end of an 8-city, 8-game Warriors journey.

They gave up 115 points to the Bobcats/Hornets, who average 90.8 points, and that's a horrible, horrible, awful thing, not too far off from some of the uglier things that have been cropping up of late for the GSWs.

But it's not desperation time for the Warriors, not at all. If they take care of their home games as they should, the GSWs should be in the 6-7 slot in the West by late-January/early-February, in time to try to make a run into the 4/5 slots.

It's NOT time to re-think who they are, at 12-10, having played so many road games (14, the most in the league; their six road victories ties the GSWs for sixth-most) and with so many juicy home games left.

Golden State Warriors’ David Lee, center, loses the ball as Charlotte Bobcats’ Josh McRoberts, left, and Al Jefferson, right, defend during the
Golden State Warriors' David Lee, center, loses the ball as Charlotte Bobcats' Josh McRoberts, left, and Al Jefferson, right, defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Dec. 9, 2013. ((AP Photo/Chuck Burton))

But it's getting deep enough into this season and the Warriors have lost enough recently (4-7 over the last 3 weeks after their 8-3 start) to take some of the initial concerns fairly seriously, to start looking at some some solutions...

And maybe to bat away some of the frillier worries.

Once again, I'm sorry, I can't get too deep into the stat-stuff with this item because I have some connectivity issues and won't have my laptop for most of today.

This is a surface look. You can pull up the deep-dive numbers. I'll do that at some other time. But just generally...


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  • The Warriors' bench isn't cutting it. There are some mitigating factors of course—the Andre Iguodala injury forced Harrison Barnes into the starting unit, and that pretty much took away the bench's only explosive scorer and messed up the off-season plan... and Toney Douglas has missed a bunch of games and is just back.

    Also, Draymond Green consistently provides essential minutes and Jermaine O'Neal has turned in a handful of high-production games and usually offers decent rim-protection.

    But even if all these guys were healthy, there's a depth problem for the Warriors, mainly focusing on Marreese Speight's deserved fall from grace—he only got 1 minute of PT last night—and the absence of anything at all from the Bazemore/Nedovic combination.

    If the 2nd unit isn't going to score much, or if it has to be blended with the starters, which elongates the minute-toll on Curry/Thompson/Lee... that unit has to be a huge defensive plus.

    And so far, I don't see "plus" defensive players in that unit except Green. (We shall see about Douglas and O'Neal.) Even Bazemore, who is supposed to be a defensive specialist, has been way off on defense... maybe thrown off because he can't seem to make a shot or dribble it up against pressure.

    So the Warriors could really use another bench scorer/play-maker, even when Iguodala gets back.

    Warriors GM Bob Myers said last week that the team would be rash to contemplate any significant move until the GSWs see how it flows with Iguodala back, but it's not hard to see there's a lack of bench power.

    At some point, the Warriors are going to start looking to see what's out there, if they haven't already.

    But the Warriors' payroll currently is at $67.4M, within $3M of the luxury-tax line of $70.3M, and that will limit a lot of things.

    Though Joe Lacob has always said he'd be willing to go into the luxury tax if it was for a difference-maker, it's a big leap to make. I think the Warriors want to save the luxury-tax card for the next few seasons, when they might really swing for the fences... and they at least want to hold back that option now (to avoid the possibility of repeater penalties in the future).

    Also, I don't see a true difference-maker. Some of the names thrown around...

  • Toronto's Kyle Lowry, who is making $6.2M this year, as an expiring deal.

    I like Lowry, I know the Warriors generally think he's a good, tough player, but at that salary, the Warriors would have to off-load some of their own salary, and I don't see Toronto being involved in taking back $$ for a valuable piece.

  • Charlotte's Ramon Sessions, who is making $5M this year, as an expiring deal. Possible, but again, you sure don't want to go into the tax for a guy who plays as little D as Sessions and who'll be an unrestricted F/A after this season.

    By the way: Who would the Warriors give up? They don't have a 1st-round pick to trade, so you'd have to be talking about dealing Douglas or Nedovic, probably, and that's problematic: Douglas is important if he's healthy and Nedovic is somebody the GSWs should keep.

    There's no way the Warriors would or should think about moving Green, by the way.

  • Denver's Andre Miller, who is making $5M this year, with a non-guaranteed $4.6M next season. Don't know that Denver would deal him to the Warriors and, again, what would the Warriors have to entice the deal if Denver would think about it?

    I think Miller would be a very nice complement to Curry/Thompson/Iguodala and we know Miller has already played with Iguodala. But he'd take the GSWs into luxury tax unless they off-loaded somebody and what's Denver's motivation for taking back off-load money?

    I think a deal like one of these is possible. But it will be complicated.

  • Draymond Green role's needs to get larger and larger.

    He hurt his ankle late in the game yesterday, so we'll never know if Jackson would've found ways to get Green in there to close this one, but there's little doubt that Green has been a key defensive cog for the Warriors with the 1st or 2nd units, especially when they're facing an outside-shooting PF.

    And should play more and more.

    Last night, Green went out of the game with it tied 88-88.

    The Warriors had some problems from there, the same problems they'd have most of the night, except for a few period when mainly it was Green actually playing hard-edged D and the Bobcats weren't getting every shot they wanted.

    Green can play some SF... mainly, though, I think he fits best as a stretch-4 who can guard other stretch-4s or rotate to defend tough perimeter SFs and even PGs.

    But who does Jackson take out to keep Green in, down the stretch? Bogut or Lee?

    Which leads to the thing most Warriors fans, owners and coaches can't stand hearing...

  • David Lee's role is up in the air, if he's going to shoot like he has so far this season.

    I'm not saying—and I've never said—he's a bad player, I'm just saying if Lee's going to shoot under 50%, he isn't much of a "plus" player because his defense hurts the Warriors vs. good post players and vs. stretch 4s and vs. everybody, really.

    Ask Josh McRoberts how fun it was to play offense against Lee last night.

    Lee's defense is never good, but the GSWs have largely been able to count on his offense giving them a boost, particularly his pick-and-roll play with Stephen Curry.

    But the Curry P/R with Lee is not sparking much life this season and Lee is shooting 48.5% for the season (according to NBA.com and pro-basketball-reference.com; espn.com has it at 48.3%; I'm not sure which is right so I'll go with the higher number).

  • Which would be the lowest FG% of Lee's career... which has dwindled from his very efficient time with the Knicks, but always remained in the 50-51% range with the GSWs.

  • By the way, he's shooting just 41.3% over the Warriors' last six games.

    Lee's career FG: 53.3%.

    I don't have the stats on the P/R this season, but I can tell you that the Warriors just aren't getting the same efficiency—or any efficiency—out of the Curry/Lee two-man game that they got for much of last season.

    Why? Curry has been turnover-prone, but mostly, and the Warriors don't use the action as much because they have Bogut and, when he's healthy, Iguodala, and they can do different things with those two.

    Also, defenses really seem to be playing the Curry-Lee P/R more aggressively, almost baiting Curry to throw the pass to Lee and then jumping the lane or daring Lee to hit the mid-range shot, which he has largely clanked or avoided this season.

    So... just by FG% alone, Lee has been trending mostly at the bottom edge of his not-too-great career performance cycle for most of this season.

    Some of that is adjusting or non-adjusting to life with Bogut, clearly. But the final conclusion might not be too fun for Lee fans, of whom there are many in the Warriors' hierarchy and coaching staff...

  • If you consider Bogut a pillar for this team, and he is, Lee might not be the best guy to pair with him.

    As a two-man front line they have strengths, especially with their passing skills. They also can be a very good rebounding tandem, though they do occasionally battle each other for those cheapies.

    And Bogut's rim-protection really helps cover up some of Lee's deficiencies.

    But they also overlap in some areas that aren't too good for the Warriors' big-picture hopes.

  • Neither is very good at moving up and down the court in transition (so they get run by mobile bigs);

  • Neither is adept at challenging stretch 4s and 5s, so when they have to do it, they leave themselves vulnerable to everything else;

  • Sometimes Bogut is concentrating so intently on being there in case Lee's guy gets past him, he leaves his own guy; Lee almost never doubles back to help on Bogut's guy, or if he does, it doesn't matter much;

  • And when Bogut is the one having to challenge up top, there's usually nobody behind him to protect the rim, and by nobody, I mean, yes, David Lee.

    I don't know the how Warriors fix that—I mean, there is a solution, and it's to play Draymond Green with Bogut and maybe some small-ball with Harrison Barnes at the 4.

    But the Warriors probably won't do that to Lee.

    Unless Jackson is giving Lee all the minutes and all the support now and then if he has to go another way in a month or so, he can tell Lee: I gave you every shot, and sometimes it didn't work, now I'm going to have to scale back your role, especially at the close of games.

    The next few weeks of this could be a little interesting.