It’s no secret that the Golden State Warriors have faults, just like any team other than a championship-caliber one.
If they want to be in the talks to win the Finals, however, they have to address some glaring needs. First of all, they completely rely on Stephen Curry to deliver, and he doesn’t always do that. When he’s not scoring, the Warriors have some serious problems and they can’t really find someone else to fill the gap. Jordan Crawford comes off the bench and scores in bunches, but he’s the type of player that makes both coaches nervous.
In the competitive Western Conference, the Warriors are going to crumble if they don’t address some of these glaring needs.
Being completely reliant on Curry, the Warriors need to find someone else to bear some of the scoring load. As it is generally believed, a championship-caliber team is one that is well-rounded and finds other ways to function when their best options are being taken away. As deep as they are, the Warriors don’t have other players that have stepped up to take on this scoring role.
For example, in the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs learned how to defend Curry from the 3-point line. Once they stifled him into turnovers and bad shots, the Warriors’ entire offensive game became stagnant and they were forced to run isolations with little success. The Spurs exposed this gaping hole and have played well against the Warriors since then. Against the Spurs this season, Curry has averaged a respectable 20 points per game in games that he played, but shooting just 39% from the field.
In those games, the Warriors could not find another player to chip in offensively. Now that they may have lose their second star in David Lee for the playoffs (According to CBS Sports), they need that scorer now more than ever.
I know what you’re thinking: It’s gotta be Klay Thompson! Unfortunately for the Warriors, when Curry has an off-night, Thompson seems to struggle as well. Part of what makes Curry such a terrific all-around player is his passing ability. If defenses are able to suffocate him into bad shots, they’ll usually be able to take away his ability to make good passes as well.
In a loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, Curry led the team with 17 points while Thompson scored just 12. In a loss to the Chicago Bulls, Curry notched 5 points, while Thompson rained in 8. (ESPN.com). When Curry has worse games than this but the Warriors win, it’s because he is doing enough to get his teammates involved, and their offense starts coming to them naturally.
The most likely player to ease the Warriors’ on and off scoring problem is Andre Iguodala. Now coming back to full health, he needs to be the slasher that he once was when he played with the Philadelphia 76ers, leading them to an upset over the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. He’s taken a bit more of a reserved role, showing some glimpses of flashiness, but he needs to attack the basket more like he used to in his glory days. This is the only way that the Warriors could revive offense when Curry is having a bad night.
This final stretch of the season is going to be huge for the Warriors as they battle for the 6th seed. If they are paired with the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round in a seven-game series, Doc Rivers, being an excellent coach, is going to find a way to stop Curry. Chris Paul will then attempt to lead his team out of the first round. If Iquodala and the Warriors can find a way to counter this tactic, they have a good shot to win the series.