The Golden State Warriors put the clamps on the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, holding one of the most explosive offenses in the league to just 105 points en route to a 17-point victory. It was a welcome sight for a Warriors team currently sporting their worst defensive rating, 109.3, since the 2010-2011 season, as they gear up to take a run at their third straight NBA title in just a few months.
Much of the Warriors defensive woes have been laid at the feet of one DeMarcus Cousins, who opposing teams have taken to targeting in the pick and roll to take advantage of the big man’s slow feet and sometimes lackadaisical effort on that end of the floor. Throw in the fact that Cousins is still playing himself back into game shape after tearing his Achilles last season, and there’s enough evidence to compile that points to Cousins hurting the Warriors defensively.
But the stats don’t back that notion up. The Warriors have a 108.3 defensive rating in the 456 minutes Cousins has been on the floor. When Cousins sits? That rating actually gets slightly worse, to 108.8. The Warriors have just been below average as a collective on defense for most of the season, something that Draymond Green emphasized after the Warriors downed the Nuggets.