Unparalleled scrutiny lays ahead for the Golden State Warriors. The Bay Area superteam won’t be graded by their win totals, but by the quality of their wins. That’s the nature of the beast when a 73-win team simmers in the review mirror. The Kevin Durant era will provide little margin for error on a team that has maintained a high level of continuity for the better part of three season. Their overwhelming talent will push Golden State past 60 wins by sheer force, but Steve Kerr knows their roster construction isn’t perfect. He spoke to CSN Bay Area on a new area of focus for the Warriors.
“The thing that’s different will be a lack of rim protection,” Kerr told CSNBayArea.com. “We had great rim protection from Bogut and Ezeli, and both those guys are gone. Zaza’s a very good defender, but he’s more of a positional guy than a shot blocker.
“So there’s definitely adjustments we’ll have to make, even schematically. We’ll have some growing pains, especially on defense, as we try to make sure we get everything right and comfortable.”
Outside of Steph Curry’s supernatural talent, the key ingredient to the Warriors’ success lays in their defense. Playing Draymond Green beside Andrew Bogut or Festus Ezeli allowed Draymond to roam free and create havoc with his preternatural instinct in defensive rotations. Zaza Pachulia and David West won’t allow Draymond to have quite the same freedom. The new Warriors big men are smart, tough positional defenders, but neither have the ability to make plays above the rim to erase defensive mistakes.
Steve Kerr can look over to the Charlotte Hornets for a little schematic inspiration in building an elite defense around average rim protectors. Hornets coach Steve Clifford managed to build a top-10 defense around Al Jefferson by leveraging the length and defensive prowess of his wing defenders to create enough noise in the paint to deter penetrating guards. Replacing Harrison Barnes with Durant gives Kerr another long weapon on the defensive end to thwart guards around the rim. Durant and Draymond can provide enough rim protection with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala stifling ball handlers in front of them.
The Warriors are not perfect; Kerr knows that. Constructing a new defense will be one of the many interesting challenges Kerr will face this season.
(Via CSN Bay Area)