This season, the Warriors have been trying to be defensively minded. Up until February, that had worked out perfectly for them: they had everything rolling and were well on their way to the playoffs. Now, however, they’re defense has collapsed, and every team has been hitting three point field goals against them. It really started on a road game against the Rockets, where the Warriors were crushed 140-109. Ever since then, the Warriors have tried to rely on their offense, to no success.
Sometimes, the Warriors’ defense shows flashes of brilliance, but when it does, their offense goes cold. This is why there’s a few players on the Warriors that need to be recognized as threats, so other teams can divert their defensive attention to those people. If the Warriors are playing good perimeter defense, they need a few guys to light it up so that they can actually win the ball game.
The Warriors know that after 2 disappointing losses to the Rockets and the Bucks, two games they should have had, they need to come out and play stellar defense. Unfortunately, Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton, and JR Smith are quite difficult to deal with. Nevertheless, the Warriors should rather have opponents driving to the basket than shooting three pointers.
Here are some players that really need to show their defensive presence:
1. Harrison Barnes:
Barnes isn’t the best perimeter defense, but let’s face it. With someone as athletic and fast as Barnes is, it’s not easy to be a terrible defender. The effort that Barnes chips in on the defensive end is extraordinary for a rookie: he doesn’t go for pump-fakes, and he has a good close out. Barnes, however, needs to know that he isn’t a shot blocker. Unless in a zone defense, he should be ready to jump at his man, who could shoot a three pointer, any second.
2. Klay Thompson:
When Klay Thompson learns to not foul on the defensive end, he will be one of the best defenders in the NBA. Like Tony Allen, Klay Thompson is a superb, lockdown defender, who has been given tasks such as Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony. The thing about these matchups is that he is the best equipped to guard these guys. He can’t always stop them from scoring, but half the time, he does a pretty darn good job.
Thompson’s perimeter defense is great: now he just needs to stop going for the pump fakes. The Warriors can’t afford to give up an open three.
3. Andrew Bogut:
For a 7’0″ Aussie, Bogut sure is a productive man in the middle. Right now, he’s averaging 1.6 blocks per game, and people say that he is a wall inside. Unfortunately, when other teams aren’t shooting three pointers over the Warriors, they’re getting wide open looks.
While Bogut is on a minutes restriction, he doesn’t bother every single shot on the inside. That’s what the Warriors need him to do: despite the fear of foul trouble. When healthy, he is one of the best centers in the league, but he has yet to prove his presence on the inside.
4. Jarrett Jack/Stephen Curry:
For guards, these two sure are slow, defensively. Jack and Curry need to be on this list because let’s face it, Mark Jackson cannot make a substitution for Kent Bazemore and Draymond Green every couple of seconds. The fact of the matter is that Jack and Curry need to exert some effort on the defensive end. Usually, guards are the ones shooting three pointers. This means that it is Jack and Curry’s jobs to stop them from making too many.
They haven’t really done this in the past couple of games. As a result, opponents are getting all the three point shots they could ever want.
5. David Lee:
The same goes for David Lee. Mark Jackson can’t take him out of the lineup every possession. This means he’s going to have to exert some effort on the defensive end. In a post situation, he’s typically a good defender. When it comes to help and switches, however, he’s hopeless. Being the big guy that he is, Lee needs to realize that defense wins championships.