After a long offseason, the Golden State Warriors will finally tip off a new NBA regular season against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the franchise and fans, they’ll do so without veteran forward Draymond Green.
The 33-year-old was officially ruled out of the season opener on Monday, with Green having been recovering from an ankle sprain sustained last month. It leaves the Warriors short-handed, particularly defensively as they await the task of battling what many will regard as the most dynamic offensive trio in the league.
Draymond Green’s absence could spell trouble for the Golden State Warriors as they prepare to face Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal in the season opener.
This will be the first time the trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal suit up together in a regular season game, but fears of their offensive potency among rivals was apparent as soon as the Suns made a move for Beal early in the offseason.
Of course, that deal opened up the the Warriors chances of acquiring Chris Paul in a blockbuster trade shortly after. The fact the 38-year-old is facing his former team in his Golden State debut isn’t lost on anyone, and nor is the fact the game signifies Durant’s first return to Chase Center in front of fans — over four years since his departure from the Bay.
Expected Starting Lineups
Warriors: Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney
Suns: Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Josh Okogie, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkic
While Green is a confirmed out for Golden State, Booker (toe) and Beal (back) are both listed as questionable for Phoenix. Former Warrior and 2022 NBA champion Damion Lee is also out as he recovery from knee surgery.
With Green’s absence the Warriors are likely to go with the same lineup Steve Kerr utilized in Friday’s last preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs. However, given the strong form of Jonathan Kuminga in preseason, there’s a theoretical chance he could replace Paul to create a bigger starting five. That would ultimately be a bold choice from Kerr though given the added dynamic of Paul facing his former team.
For the Suns, the biggest question mark surrounds who takes the fifth starting spot next to Booker, Beal, Durant and Jusuf Nurkic. Grayson Allen has had a strong preseason following his recent arrival via trade, but Josh Okogie has the experience of playing alongside Booker and Durant previously.
What to expect
A high-scoring game. Without Green the Warriors appear ill-equipped to handle the firepower of Durant, Booker and Beal. Despite their impressive 4-1 record, Golden State’s defensive issues remained evident in preseason where they ranked 21st in defensive rating.
In saying that, the Suns also have their own defensive question marks that could be exploited by the greatest shooting backcourt of all-time, and an offensive maestro in Paul who can pick apart defenses at will.
Phoenix may be slight favorites in the wake of the Green news, but either way both teams will likely need to put up 120+ points if they’re to start their season in a positive direction.