Nov. 17, 2016
Are the Golden State Warriors a Bad Defensive Team This Season
Following the shakeups that the Golden State Warriors' roster did during the offseason, where they acquired Kevin Durant, the Warriors may have upgraded on the offensive side of the ball, but, they have taken a hit defensively.
The Warriors are 8-2 as of this writing, and even though the Warriors were No. 5 in my power rankings this week, they have been unconvincing on defense. Golden State may have outscored their opponents, but they are allowing 108.2 points per game on average. Compare that to last season where they allowed 104.1 points per game. It might not seem like a big deal, but giving up four points over an 82 game season is a significant margin.
A big part of the downfall of the Warriors on defense has been a change of personnel. Losing Andrew Bogut has left this gap in the middle of their front court. Bogut was their rim protector and defensive paint specialist. Last year, Bogut averaged two blocks per game.
Also, the Warriors lost Harrison Barnes, who was an underrated defensive player for the Dubs. When Barnes was with the team; the Dubs were able to switch easily when they guarded multiple players.
So far in this NBA season, the Warriors gave up 129 points to the Spurs, 114 and 106 points to the Pelicans, 100 and 120 points to the Suns, 104 points to the Trail Blazers, 117 points to the Lakers, and 101 points to the Nuggets.
In those games, their defeats were bad. In their first game against the Spurs, they were blown out and humiliated against the Lakers. That is not a good sign for the Warriors, as they hope to stop players like LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul when the postseason rolls around.
Another concern that I have is Stephen Curry, who led the NBA in steals last season, but is not even ranked in the top-20 in that same category. The Warriors are also without players that are ranked in the top-20 in steals and block percentage.
After ranking fourth in the NBA in defensive efficiency last season, the Warriors are ranked 14th place, and they are behind teams that are a threat to them in the postseason.
I know it's early in the season, but they're signs that the Warriors are worse on defense this season. The theory that every NBA team is scared of them has come and gone, and now those teams threaten the Warriors, knowing that they can score a lot of points. With less depth, the Warriors' starters are forced to play on offense and defense at a high clip. The Warriors have great talent on offense and can outscore their opponents on most nights, but when the postseason rolls along, the Warriors have to step it up on offense. As the old saying goes "defense wins championships."