Pistons expose Warriors soft defense; Dubs dip under .500
Is it time to bring back the architect of Golden State's defensive identity?
The Golden State Warriors officially having a losing record now, dropping under .500 with a 128-114 loss to the Detroit Pistons. This came despite Stephen Curry going for 32 points and Jordan Poole adding 30 points of his own off the bench.
Those Splash Bro & Splash Son pyrotechnics paled in comparison to the scoring output from the Pistons, who had four starters score at least 20 points last night:
Saddiq Bey - 28 points
Isaiah Stewart - 24 points
Cade Cunningham - 23 points
Bojan Bogdanovic - 21 points
So either those four dudes are the Four Horsemen and are going to destroy the league, or Golden State’s defense is in shambles. The Warriors are ranked 23rd in defensive rating right now, a true throwback to the old-school Golden State days where each night was a shootout that often times didn’t go Dub Nation’s way.
Remember when the Dubs traded offensive dynamo Monta Ellis for defensive anchor Andrew Bogut and Coach Mark Jackson was preaching defense like there was no tomorrow? Those were integral keys to creating the defensive identity that current Coach Steve Kerr said was the foundation for Golden State’s dynastic success.
Where is Pastor Mark when we need him?? These Warriors are putting up little defensive resistance, and hold a 3-4 record through seven games because of it.
Some say the lack of D is because they are playing unproven youth and hamstringing the team; others say it’s because the starters have a championship hangover.
Draymond Green, one of the greatest defenders in NBA history, had this to say after the loss last night:
Here’s some examples of the suspect defense GSW has been playing recently. In this first clip, Hamidou Diallo draws three defenders with Golden State defenders forcing him to swing the pass back out to the perimeter. In a perfect world all the Warriors would switch, rotate, and recover crisply to shut down the Pistons windows for good shots…
In this case the Dubs completely abandon Diallo under the rim for an easy jam.
This next clip is the kind of thing that makes high school coaches run their players on suicide drills.
So we ain’t guarding nobody huh?!
In this next clip, we see the crafty Cade Cunningham creep carefully through multiple defenders at the arc before exploding with vigor through James Wiseman. Wiseman seemed like he was doing his damndest to not foul here by keeping his arms straight up; but Cunningham has enough finishing skills to scoop the shot in around Wiseman like he’s a scarecrow.
The perimeter defense was clearly not a deterrent, and Wiseman didn’t intimidate Cunningham on this finish.
If you have the stomach, go check out the condensed footage of the game and see for yourself just how weak the defense is right now. Thankfully, the season is young and there will be many opportunities for the Dubs to get their chemistry up.
Are the Dubs likely going to improve their defense over the course of the season. Yes.
Are the younger guys likely to improve generally as they learn the system over the course of the season. Yes.
Is Klay likely to revert at least offensively back to his former self. Yes (he didn't play all summer so I think so).
Are the Warriors likely to have enough wins to make the playoffs. Yes.
Will the game breaks between playoff games likely allow the older crew to rest more between games mitigating fatigue caused by old age. Yes.
Is it likely that Steph can still go full Super Saiyan God when needed in the playoffs. Best believe it.
Happy Halloween everyone!
Per Jason Timpf:
Warriors starting lineup (Steph/Klay/Wiggins/Draymond/Looney): 127 ORTG, 100 DRTG (+27 NetRTG)
Meanwhile, 6 out of the remaining 8 most played lineups all have negative NetRTG (and some lineups double digit negative).
EDIT: Some more numbers: Warriors are -48 in 102 minutes when Wiseman is on the floor. The most played lineup involving Wiseman is Poole/DDV/Kuminga/Green/JW. That lineup has a 59 ORTG and 111 DRTG (-52 NetRTG, which in case anyone was wondering... is not good).