One of the reasons why the Golden State Warriors campaign was so successful this year is that they were an incredibly well-rounded team. The Warriors’ starting five players all had their positions locked in due to the solid quality of their play. They could score in a plethora of ways, including attacking the rim or by barraging their opponents with threes. The starting five would then be supported by strong play coming from the bench. Opposing defenses almost had to face a constant assault.
The Warriors defense was also mightily improved, jumping up from one the league’s worst to becoming one that could hold its own, especially with the insertion of Andrew Bogut into the starting lineup. Head coach Mark Jackson had installed a system that was meant to shut down the interior and force opponents to beat the Dubs from the outside, and it worked.
Although the Warriors were solid on both ends, they still have room for improvement. Both the offense and the defense had their share of issues, issues that could be solved by either bringing in more talent or implementing a different strategy.
The most disconcerting issue I have with the Warriors defense is their complete inability to defend opposing point guards. That inability was amplified during the playoffs as both Ty Lawson and Tony Parker torched the Warriors defense every night in the playoffs. Stephen Curry really needs to step up his defense to prevent becoming a liability. Jarrett Jack is a stronger defender but he can’t keep up with the quicker point guards that have become more prevalent in today’s NBA.
Jackson tried sticking different players on both Lawson and Parker, but no one on the Dubs’ roster had the foot-speed to keep up with them. This problem needs to be addressed by either developing the talent on the team (I really think Kent Bazemore can remedy this, but he has to improve his offense in order to stay on the floor) or by bringing in another player who can defend the point guard position.
The Warriors have built their name on the offensive end with their fast pace and outside shooting. But things often went badly for the Warriors when the outside shots weren’t falling. The offense would stall badly for minutes on end and instead of trying to build momentum by driving to the hoop for lay-ups and drawing fouls, the Warriors would often force themselves to take bad shots from the outside out of frustration.
Klay Thompson was the biggest culprit in this, and it showed early in the season. Thompson visibly seemed to have last confidence in his jump shot and it resulted in a bad shooting year for him, where he shot 42% from the field. The blame isn’t all his, but the young squad needs to adapt to different philosophies when the jump shots aren’t falling. Live by the jumper, die by the jumper.
This is still a growing squad. They’re a tight-knit team, and the players trust each other completely. They’ve bought into Mark Jackson’s system and ideologies and the players have put the team before themselves. Sure some names might not return next year (Jack and Carl Landry) but they’ll still be competitive as they work out the kinks to their system. The playoff experience will only help them down the road and it’s not hard to see them as contenders for the Western Conference Championship in the coming years.