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I would love to come up with a low/medium/high projection for Wiseman. Not at all sure where to begin, but I know it would be fun.

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Not sure you where to set the high projection for this kid without feeling like it might be too low. We’ll see how his passing and defense develops, but he sounds like a serious student of the game and a willing learner and he has energy. It boggles the mind imagining what he COULD be.

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Dec 31, 2020Liked by punk basketball

The play that gave me the most hope for the season was when Oubre drove into the paint, hesitated as if he was remembering something, and kicked to Steph. I don’t even remember if Steph made the shot but I all but jumped up and cheered.

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I don't think Steph knocked it down, but I totally felt the same way lol

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I remember this and definitely yelled FINALLY! Hopefully he can bring this newfound knowledge back to the bay with him

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The on-ball defense looks pretty vigorous, and even flashy (Oubre's bullying).

The glaring issues on defense are

(1) bad rotations on the perimeter, leading to open 3s

(2) bad help on layups, mainly Wiseman learning rotations plus Dray and Chriss being out

(3) getting burned for offensive rebounds

Hope for the future:

(1) will improve with communication over time.

(2) Wiseman will figure this out, Dray will help a lot

(3) related to (2) but also can improve with gang rebounding by smalls

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(3) is why Lee is such a plus player so far, I suspect

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Dec 31, 2020Liked by punk basketball

The real question is what does the return of a motivated rested perennial top defensive player of the year do to patch the issues you pointed out?

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Dray will be yelling at duds to get in position and physically grabbing them and pushing them where they need to be.

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Maybe accelerate the learning in (1)-(2)? And maybe erase some mistakes with good rotations at the rim?

But a good offense may be able to exploit the weak links of a D with a couple of extra passes. I don’t see Dray as fixing things soon.

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Dec 31, 2020Liked by punk basketball

On the other hand, is anyone an upgrade from YourGuyJTA(tm) ?

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

https://mobile.twitter.com/__adel22/status/1344392883097509888

Bazemore should be getting some run according to Draymond. It's cool though. One thing I've really enjoyed about Poole since last year is when he passes up a wide open shot and repositions himself to take a more difficult shot. But cool, Bazemore "something something...tunnel vision". I'm sure Poole's defense over Bazemore's is what's keeping him on the floor right now.

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Maybe Draymond meant if he’d been playing better he’d be on the court and be more useful?

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

I'm fine with the benching. Bazemore was doing way too much. While poole may have all those issues, he still plays within his role which is probably what kerr is asking for. You can't have players like Baze out there playing hero ball.

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I agree. I've no problem benching Baze. He looks like his better days are behind him.

Speaking of hero ball, this is my chief complaint about Curry. So many of his 'dumb' shots and TO's are due to this. As I've said before, this comes with the territory as Curry has not improved in this area one bit.

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Baze was fouling like crazy, and not doing much to help the offense.... and that's before we even get to Lee earning himself extra minutes.

He's ok though, Baze will get minutes for sure.

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Dec 31, 2020Liked by punk basketball

Based on a couple of games though in which pretty much everyone looked horrid though? The man got less than 12 and less than 4 min the first two games respectively.

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Agreed. Hopefully Baze will learn from this and play with more purpose and focus.

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Dec 31, 2020Liked by punk basketball

At least he's not sulking on the bench. Best part of him is his attitude

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

Wiseman is tough. Gonna be a problem!

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

JTA leading the NBA in effective FG% and true shooting percentage :)

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

Low-volume, high-efficiency offense is precious for competitive teams when it comes with smart team defense like JTA plays. He would've been a good fit for some of the Warrior teams of the past in the Casspi/M.Barnes/etc. role as well as playing a Draymond-like role. I expect JTA's minutes will decrease with Dray back, but it'll be good for the team to have one or the other on the court for most of the game.

This season's team also still needs someone besides Curry who can contribute an actually large number of points. Normally, that's Klay.

Oubre was kind of supposed to, but it's not looking like it at the moment. So, instead, our candidates are W&W or Bench Mob. 🤞

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How this guy is playing so much better in the regular season than in the preseason is a mystery to me.

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Imo he was better in preseason than people were giving him credit for, although he admittedly was passing up open threes.

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My opinion: JTA is one of those guys like Draymond where he's much more valuable when his team knows wtf they're doing. He understands spacing, when/how to set screens, where to look for the open guy, when to cut, defensive rotations, etc. Doing all those things correctly is less impactful for a disjointed team and playing with unfamiliar lineups, etc.

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Maybe he was just not a great matchup for Sacramento?

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Me too

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

Despite Wiggins having a down game statistically . . . I still liked his performance just because of watching his skillset (jumper + height/touch on the block) makes me think he'll be quite productive offensively. His ability to shoot the three goes extremely well with Draymonds lack of shooting. Goddammit, how beautiful would a team of Curry/Klay/Wiggins/Draymond/Wiseman be.

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You lost me at “Wiggins having a down game statistically.” 27 points on 9-19 (5 of 8 on 3’s) 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal is a down game? I think you might want to adjust your expectations.

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I meant Wiseman, not Wiggins.

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Wiggins is that type of player where the less you need from him, it seems like the more you get.

Both him and Oubre felt like they were pressing *way* too hard to make an impact rather than just playing the game. I'm hoping that some of those early season jitters are gone now

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Curry/Klay/Wiggins/Draymond/Wiseman and two stud rookie wings, plus Oubre, Looney, Wannamaker, Paschall, Chriss and Lee off the bench is pretty damn promising. Not sure under the circumstances where Poole fits, but apparently he does.

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They are not giving up on Poole with exercising his option. Poole seems like a slow learner to me. He's got tools and he never sulks. His energy never wavers. He's not afraid to take his shot and he just might turn out to be a nice complimentary player. Mulder is the biggest question mark for me at the moment. Other than his 3 pointer, I don't see much in his tool box. He is underwhelming. How is he going to get minutes with Lee, JTA, Baze, Poole, and Wanamaker? He will have to rise up somehow.

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The goal of the team is not to “get minutes for player X.” Player minutes are zero-sum; you only get 240 of them a game, which you want to distribute optimally among your best players, within reasonable requirements for R&R.

If Player X is outplaying than Player Y in the same position/role. he’ll get more minutes. That’s the way NBA rosters work. If you think Mulder is “underwhelming” (I think he’s perfectly whelming, but for the sake of argument) why would you want to steal minutes from Lee, JTA, Bazemore, Poole, or Wanamaker to give to him?

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I don't want to steal minutes from those players. But if Poole is shooting decently, you don't overlook that. Mulder hasn't done anything to really cement his place on the team, yet. Earning minutes is the way.

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Right, and to date Mulder has not seen many minutes — just 11.5 minutes per game, less than anyone on the 13-man depth chart except Bazemore. So what’s the issue?

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Assuming you meant Wiseman, I agree. It will be fun to see what sort of three-man games they can run with Dray, Curry and Wiseman. From a scrub’s-eye-view, it seems like there will be plenty different looks there that could create some high percentage offense.

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Agreed. I think by the end of this season, if Wiseman has continued to grow offensively, he could easily be a poor man's KD. Next year's team could be unstoppable in that case.

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That is hard to imagine. KD has nothing awkward about his game, great BBIQ, a toolbox that is fully loaded, and one of the best shooters of all time! Wiseman doesn't even know how to play in the paint, yet. He's big, yes. He will block shots. He's learned to shoot from the perimeter but little else about being a basketball player. No experience. Just plain raw. If you can turn that into a KD, you should be coaching the Warriors!

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The actual coach of the Warriors compared him to Giannis.

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lol. Not in the way you are thinking.

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Relax. I made it conditional, and used the words “poor man’s”

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Giannis wishes he had W's jumper

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And size.

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Wiseman?

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I really feel like this team, when engaged, can be a top 5 defensive squad. We've seen definite flashes of it against the Nuggets/Pistons, and if they can continue this trend with the addition of Draymond then some of these games against playoff teams might actually be fun.

Curry, Wiggins, Oubre, Wanna, Juan, Looney have all been great defenders so far. Damion Lee/Bazemore/Paschall have been average depending on the matchup, but they are versatile and switchable. Wiseman isn't a liability on the perimter + he's been a competent rim protector so thats always a positive. Really, our main weakness defensively have been Poole/Mulder and they provide us some much needed offensive punch so thats understandable.

It really seems like for this season, we’ll likely be performing very well defensively and offensively we’ll live or die by Wiggins/Oubre + Wiseman/Paschall’s development. Which honestly, is not what I expected entering the season but what can you do :shrug:

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The Warriors have always given up too many points. They had an offense that could out score everyone. Who needs a lockdown defense when you have two or three of the best shooters all time? Green is a good defender. Klay is okay, too, but the rest of the team is average at best. It will take JW some years to learn his position. It takes tremendous physical exertion to play lockdown defense. Most teams cannot do this because of the toll it takes to play a full game like this. You can hope for this at crucial times during a game, but to call the Warriors a great defensive team is a joke to me.

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They did not “always” give up too many points. In 2014-15 they had the #1 defense in the NBA. In 2015-16, they were #5. In 2016-17, #2.

After that they started to slip a bit, likely dude to some combo of age and complacency.

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2018-19 gave up 111.2 ppg

2017-18 gave up 107.5ppg

2016-17 gave up 104.3

2015-16 gave up 104.1

2014-15 gave up 99.1

You are correct about the first championship season. But we weren't even close to giving up the least ppg. 5 other teams in our conference had fewer ppg!

Warriors always allowed other teams to score because of their offensive proficiency. It was what Don Nelson called 'the best defense is a good offense'. Please check out the standings and you will see the Warriors were never a team to give up few points. Now, it would be the kiss of death to allow teams to score at will on us. We don't have the firepower to withstand it.

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You posted a bunch of random numbers. Yay. Your claim that the team “always gave up too many points” remains false. That was my one and only point.

Fwiw: “PPG allowed” is an incorrect way to measure team defense, since it ignores pace. Defense and offense are measured per possession (or per 100 possessions). Pounding the ball on offense to minimize the number of possessions in a game does not make you a better defense.

“Now it would be the kiss of death to allow teams to score at will on us” is the kind of skull-crushingly obvious strawman you post on this board far too often, imo. No one is forcing you to post stuff if you actually have nothing to say.

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The whole point of Defense is to prevent the other team from scoring. Some teams do that better than others and the Warriors did it adequately for their championship run. Preventing the other team scoring, shows up in Points Allowed. The Warriors have never been #1 in this but had a powerhouse offense to compensate for the points allowed. Points Allowed is the result of all the components of Defense, including Pace, Efficiency, etc. Analysis still winds up being represented by Points Allowed. But Points Allowed doesn't tell the whole story because it does not take Offense into account. The main reason the Warriors were great was their offense. If you don't have the adequate offense, you will struggle to win games and winning is the most important stat even if your PPG are low as we've seen with SA and Utah in the past. Great defensive teams but just didn't have enough offensive power to over come teams like the Warriors.

In the present tense, this team must be able to stop their opponents from scoring because relying on Curry and his legacy will only go so far. Draymond should help, but the rest of the team must step up with their offensive game or we will never see the Finals. I will still enjoy watching the team but I will not hope to achieve those glory days.

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Because you disagree, you don't need to be snarky. It's your attitude that is more of a challenge than the facts. The Warriors need to stop teams from scoring. If they don't, they will struggle to win games with this roster unless they bring their A-game each night which is a very tall order for a team like this. When you lose Klay and KD, you lose an awful lot of points that the Warriors had to blow teams away. Those are facts, not judgements. Do you think this team is a good defensive one? I'm not living in the past. I use my eyes to watch the game.

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In 2013-14 — Before Kerr arrived and transformed the moribund offense —they were the #4 defense and #12 offense.

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Mark Jackson planted the defensive seeds in the team, not Kerr. They still couldn't win in the playoffs. It wasn't their defense that got them their rings. I'll never buy it.

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The numbers are staring you right in the face, champ. Best defensive team in the NBA in their first championship year. They also held LeBron to a career-low .487 true shooting in the finals that year.

And I didn’t opine on the degree to which Jackson or Kerr or Michael Malone or Darren Erman or Bogut or Iguodala “planted the seeds” for them becoming the best defense in the league. I was just noting that your claim that the Warriors “have always given up too many points” is false. Just the facts, ma’am! :-)

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If it wasn't before, I think it's now confirmed Basketbum watches the games with his/her eyes closed, cuz I'm not sure what it is he/she thinks they're seeing

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Top 5 is asking a lot. I would be happy with league average by the halfway point

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you mean in aggregate though, right? IOW, that they would be much better than league average by that point, but that the early season weakness would make their average stats around the median. Call me an unreconstructed homer, but I'm hoping for more than average from these guys defensively this year. Because this is not a great offensive team without Klay.

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

My view isn't quite as rosy.

First, let's not forget, the Bulls and Pistons are baaaaaaad teams. Any defense is going to look better against them. I think the games against Portland and Sac should be far more indicative of where our defense is.

Second, Paschall's on-ball defense is one thing but he constantly sags too far off shooters and gives up open threes, or communicates poorly on switches; his defensive stats are far, far worse than Poole's, for example. Until he improves on this, he's a major liability. That's part of why he looks better at center than any other position, since he doesn't need to guard the perimeter as much. He seems to work better in a zone than on man D for similar reasons.

Wiseman has had a couple highlight blocks and he's getting better about not jumping at pump fakes (honestly, the speed he's learning these things is scary) but he's no Gobert yet.

And Wiggins has two games this season of being an absolute turnstile followed by two games of being a plus defender, so let's see which of those materializes more often.

But top-ten defense does look achievable, at least.

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I agree that top 5 is unrealistic.

But Draymond coming back not only introduces arguably the best defender in the game back on the team, it also allows Oubre to move to the second unit. If you do that and also bench Poole for Bazemore (or JTA or Lee), you could have something like Wanamaker/Bazemore/Oubre/Wiggins/Paschall. Lacking in rim protection/rebounding, but could be an athletic, swarming, and hopefully turnover-inducing defense against the opposing second unit. Plus, it should mean less Paschall at PF, where he has been a major liability to the defense like you said.

Most of it probably depends on Wiseman learning how to play defense though, like you mentioned.

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Imo, top 5 defense comes down to Wiseman looking like he did in that second half on a consistent basis and good health (aka Draymond coming back with no COVID complications and the entire starting 5 plus Wanamaker and Bazemore staying healthy).

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

I wish one of the LGW writers who is better at analyzing defense would write up these games as though defense was as important as offense.

Tom talks about Wiggins and Steph's offense and the teams lack of rebounding but like most people writing about the NBA, he barely mentioned defense outside of a few plays by Wiseman.

The big improvements over the last 2 games is on defense. Steve Kerr talked about putting Wiggins on D Rose to slow him down in the fourth quarter.

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I'll put a section in, but it's awfully early to use some of the more complicated metrics.

I mean, maybe it's the defense that got better, or maybe it just looks like better because we aren't playing the Nets and Bucks.

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BTW, an example of somewhat writing about defense in the NBA... the exception that proves the rule: https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/how-the-blazers-exploited-montrezl-harrell-defensively-and-reminded-the-lakers-of-their-true-identity/

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

I don't think complicated metrics is the way to tell this story. Think of it as a creative writing exercise. The POV for almost every NBA story is the team/player with the ball. If no one tells the story from the defensive perspective, how is the fan supposed to embrace it?

Isn't every kids black top fantasy to blow up the play by fighting over the screen and forcing the pass to the corner so the trap can be sprung which leads to a shot clock violation?

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Lol I'll meet you halfway and say that blocks are one of my favorite plays in basketball!!

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I am partial to stealing the inbounds pass for a 3 point shot. Nothing deflates a team like that!

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Especially if it's Curry launching from about 35 feet out...

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Though, maybe the big improvement on defense was getting to face the Bulls and Pistons instead of the Nets and Bucks...

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Definitely playing Chicago and Detroit helps. Griffin getting a concussion probably made some difference as well but today's NBA proves the adage about "on any given night" someone can get hot from 3 and blow the other team out.

I chose to believe in the positive, the opponent helps but the Warriors definitely improved switches, communication, contests, etc.

Meanwhile, 2-2 is 20% of the way to 10-10. If we can stay around 500 for the first half of the season I think we can be top 6 in the West and avoid the play in tournament. 2 games against Portland will be a good measuring stick.

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Watching the video, I'm really impressed -- yeah yeah I'm a broken record -- how much MyGuyJuan™ takes charge on court. On offense he organizes and moves players around. He resets possessions into the Kerr offense. He seems to be the one who consistently finds Steph on the perimeter. On D I suspect he's a talker too. Not every two-way contract player would be such a leader on court.

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I love your "explain one play". Ever consider doing the equivalent for defense? "Explain one boxout"?

How about for your glue guys. Everyone talks about intangibles but aren't they actually very tangible instances of being in the right place or making the right play which doesn't include the ball immediately going in the basket?

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author

I'll add one thing: the subscription model we are trying definitely loosens up what I feel like I can write/video about. Here I could actually make a video called "Wiseman improves at boxing out" or (as I really did) "Juan Toscano-Anderson improvises a Hammer screen". In most of the internet, that would get very few clicks, which is bad for business. Here, I can try to talk about what I really want to. We'll see if subscribers will keep supporting that.

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by Eric Apricot, punk basketball

I gave Rich a bunch of feedback on Discord which doesn't belong in the comments...short version is I "subscribed" early and didn't even know you had premium content. Your response/link made me fork over the $50.

I will share my suggestion for a weekly LGW "Film Session" where someone breaks down the game the way the coaches do for the players.

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author

We appreciate all the loving feedback, even when we are slow to respond

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author

hello, thanks for the kind words. The last E1P broke down lots of defense v Bulls, another is completed breaking down more defense, though might not be released for a while. The one I'm planning for the DET game prob won't cover D.

However, don't be deceived by my sexy looks. In the past, I have covered a *lot* of D in E1P.

You can see that many of the top E1Ps have been about defense... in fact defense was the focus of 2019 #1, #6. 2018 #10, https://www.letsgowarriors.com/?sort=search&search=top%20explain

and my coverage of the 2017 Finals was almost entirely about defense, 4 articles! https://www.letsgowarriors.com/p/the-new-way-stephen-curry-defends

So there is a lot there if you look.

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thanks for pointing those out. I will go take a look.

Even as a die hard fan, I rarely see the action off the ball unless I rewatch the game and while I sometimes notice good defensive PLAYS, I rarely notice good defensives games, especially by wings.

For example, I vividly remember watching Kevin Love trying to back down Klay from the elbow and ending up with a 19 foot turn around jumper with a hand in his face or Draymond getting 10 steals for a triple double but I only have a vague impression that GR3 played solid defense for us last year.

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I think is true for everyone. For D, I really need to see a replay except for the most obvious mistakes, because almost everyone's D movements depend on where everyone else is. The guy who gets dunked on is often hustling to rotate to cover someone. Who made the first mistake? I usually have to check the tape...

And poor GR3. Guy hustled hard on-ball D, but I think stats show he had a poor effect on our D. So D is subtle.

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Like you said, the guy who gets dunked on is often scrambling to cover after someone else screwed up or got beat.

RAPTOR's defensive reading is based on who's defending whom when the shot is taken, so GR3 might be a victim of his own hussle. If you're the nearest/last guy to the ball after a defensive breakdown, it dings you for trying, but it's still better for the team that you did something.

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BTW, I viewed the E1P of Looney versus the Bulls and while it was great showing Kevon's impact, I don't see anything about defense..

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author

If you have something specific you'd love covered about D, I can try to get to that this season

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The first 0:40 is about defense... does that not count for you? I actually cut a longer part following the successful switching on D.

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Dec 30, 2020Liked by punk basketball

Spot-on, Tom. Agree with everything you wrote. Wiggins played to his potential and the role with Steph out; great game. Total team effort. Wiseman will be OK, as will Oubre. Gonna be up and down for about 20 games, I figure. Sure would be great in the interior if we had JaVale...

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No Paschal at the 5 for you, Dino?

Here you go. Enjoy

https://mobile.twitter.com/outsidethenba/status/1344339672215019520

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I like Paschal...a lot. I saw him, initially, in the rotation as a Dray sub, but, with a shortfall of bigs due to injury, he is definitely in the small ball rotation either at 4, or, 5, as, of course, is Dray. Would depend a lot on the matchups and injuries. We need to keep letting Wiseman grow/get him the minutes...he is everything you would want at the 5, and, like Paschal + mid-range, spaces out the floor. Heck, even chris showed a shot before he got hurt...All in all, encouraging, if we get by the first 20 games without going 2-18...lol

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