The Golden State Warriors have played 5 games since the new season started. And besides the humiliating beat-down received from the San Antonio Spurs, they have won 4 games in a row. Their fans, however did not seem to be pleased by their performance. And many critics also expressed their doubt towards this new Warriors. Here are some problems I thought needed to be fixed for them to get back to the top again.
1. Post Players
If you ever watched GSW’s game, you would realize that they have one of the worst post line in the league. Zaza Pachulia, despite his success in Dallas, cannot hold up either the defense or the offense side of the paint. First of all, he is 6’11”, which is relatively short among centers; second of all, he does not possess the athletic ability to make up for his disadvantage. Because of this, he was having a difficult time getting rebounds and protecting the Warriors’ rim. During last season, players often drove to attack the rim and failing, because Andrew Bogut was there. My suggestion would be playing JaVale McGee and Kevon Looney more often, and see what would happen since they both have the size and explosiveness that Pachulia does not have. On the offensive side, it is safe to say that none of the Warriors’ big man can directly contribute much to the offense. The warriors had an average of 49.2 points per game in the game so far this season, which is not bad at all, but most of them are coming from players other than the post players (although here I do not count Draymond Green as a typical post player). Without the big men, Warriors can still manage to score 115.4 points per game, so the offensive side is less of a concern here.
Not only in the paint, Warriors’ defense became sloppy on both the inside and outside. The opposite team can score 17.4 points off their turnover, which is the 6th highest in the league. They also lost 14.6 points to their opponents for losing defensive rebounds, which is the 7th highest. Most importantly, they lost 17 points per game due to fast break, which is the 3rd highest in the league, and a good example of their sloppiness on the defensive side. Rock-solid defense is one of the most significant reasons that the Warriors won 72 games last year. Without it, the Warriors may have a hard time remain last year’s status.
3. Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson had an average of 17 points in the first five games, which is not bad. But he struggled a lot at the three-point line. After 5 games, he shot only 19.4% from the three-point line, and scoring only 4.2 points off threes he made. This is Klay Thompson we are talking about, he is the second best shooter in the entire league last season. Nobody can be sure what causes his sudden change. Someone said it’s because the new formation of team gives Klay less opportunity at 3-point shot, but the fact is that Klay missed a couple of completely open shots with no one defending him. Anyhow, Klay Thomson is one of the deadliest weapon on the Warriors’ roster. So no matter what happened, the team should find a way soon to bring the old Klay back.
The Warriors used to have a terrifying bench roster. And that bench last season had won them some important games. Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli, Marreese Speights, and Brandon Rush all had their shining moments and contributed to the team in more than one way. Except for Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, all other main bench warriors mentioned above were being traded this season. And the outcome is not delightful. The Warriors’ bench became weaker and lost the dominance they used to have. Despite the fact that former all-star David West joined the bench and there is one more started players who can lead the bench, the fire power and defensive ability are clearly diminished. It may take a little bit more time for the bench to warm up to help the starting line-up alleviate pressure.
5. KD reliance
In spite of the fact that the Warriors has four superstars in each of their own position, it appeared to me that Steve Kerr intentionally focused their offense on Kevin Durant. KD scored an average of 30.6 per game in the first 5 games, while second place goes to the scoring champion last season, Stephen Curry, with an average score of 25.2 points. KD took 18.4 shots per game, which was also the highest on the team. So far, the balance between the three super-scorer (KD, Curry and Thompson) has not yet been broken, although KD may appear to have a better data. But if this kept going, the Warriors may soon become Durant’s team, and that is not what you want. If KD takes over more games like last night’s game, the Warriors may grow reliance on him. So what they need to do is to find a way, their old way, of offense so that KD would not be a deciding factor of whether or not they could win a game.
Anyway, it has only been 5 games, the Warriors has a lot of time to resolve these problems. And their “superpowered” players like KD and Curry, can certainly hold the line until they all get fixed.