We can only hope that Santa is nice to the entire Golden State Warriors squad on Christmas Morning because things aren’t going to be very merry by the time tip-off comes around at 2:30 p.m. ET. The Dubs face the Milwaukee Bucks coming off a loss in their season opener. To say the Warriors lost in their season opener would be an understatement. They got their teeth kicked in. So you’ve got Giannis Antetokounmpo having missed a game-tying free throw against the Boston Celtics, on the big stage on Christmas Day, going up against a Warriors team without Draymond Green.
Khris Middleton ($12,900) — This should be Giannis’ stage but Middleton had a very strong season opener against the Celtics. He finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists. Middleton was the main facilitator for the Bucks, not Jrue Holiday or Donte DiVincenzo. If this is the case, Middleton should have more games in similar fashion. This was also while having to deal with Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart. The Warriors don’t have those type of defenders. Middleton’s price gives us some salary relief and leverage off of the Giannis Captain lineups.
Brook Lopez ($10,200) — This feels a lot like a spot where Lopez can thrive. The Warriors have a very weak front court led by rookie James Wiseman. If he’s the one tasked with going outside and guarding Lopez, I can see the veteran getting a handful of open looks from outside. Lopez’s upside is generated from his ability to stretch the floor. He didn’t do much of that in the opener, finishing with 7 points and 3 rebounds. This is a much more appealing matchup and Lopez gives us even more leverage at Captain.
Donte DiVincenzo ($5,600) — The Villanova product started in the back court in the opener and played 27 minutes, scoring 15 points with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. The Bucks aren’t running a very deep rotation and as long as DJ Augustin remains sidelined, DiVincenzo should see around 25-30 minutes. DiVincenzo may be a popular play in Showdown but that’s for a reason.
Juan Toscano-Anderson ($2,200) — This may have been more of an anomaly, but Toscano-Anderson got a decent amount of run off the bench in the blowout loss to the Nets in the opener. Eric Paschall chalk night blew up in everybody’s faces and the Dubs went deep into the bench. Steve Kerr might lean toward this again if things get out of hand and JTA really doesn’t need to do a whole lot to return value at this price tag.
Andrew Wiggins ($7,800) — At some point, Wiggins is going to make us pay. I don’t think that time will come against the Bucks on Christmas Day. Wiggins was a trendy play on opening night until everyone realized he’s still Andrew Wiggins. At this price tag, Wiggins is either going to have to shoot the lights out or poison the Bucks starting lineup in order to return value. Maybe if he did more than just score I’d reconsider the fade, but for now, I don’t want anything to do with Wiggins.
This game is going to be ugly. After what we saw from the Warriors and knowing that Draymond is out again, the Bucks should beat the hell out of Golden State coming off a tough loss. I’m not going to get into this too much.
Final score: Milwaukee 121, Golden State 105