SAN FRANCISCO — Steph Curry’s absence will deny the Warriors an opportunity to synchronize en route to the playoffs. The return of Draymond Green draws at least one silver lining in Curry’s absence.
Golden State can use the remaining 12 regular season games to become a top defensive team again.
“With Draymond back there’s no reason why we can’t rediscover our defensive identity with Steph out and we have to do that anyway so that’s going to be the focus for the last 12 games,” said head coach Steve Kerr.
Restoring their defensive identity is no side project; The Warriors’ title chances depend on it. Her defense set her far apart from other competitors during her most successful stretch earlier this season and hampered her when that defense fell apart.
In the Western Conference with plenty of firepower to keep up with the Warriors, getting back on the #1 defensive line is imperative. And starts with green.
With Green on the field in 1,060 minutes this season, the Warriors have a 102 defensive rating, beating the Boston Celtics’ current NBA-leading defensive rating of 105.5. They have a 107 defense rating with Green being off the field in 2310 minutes.
While the Warriors’ collective 106 defensive rating ranks third in the league behind Boston and Phoenix, their 110.4 defensive rating ranks eighth between Jan. 9 — when Green injured his back — and his March 14 return place in the league.
Statistically, the Warriors’ defense is slipping but still performing above the league average. In practice, the glitches that contribute to this slide are a cause for concern. Blurs, defenders cut back slightly, missed turns and switches
“There were times when we made small mistakes,” said Andrew Wiggins. “I’m also guilty of just falling asleep sometimes. It happens to everyone. But as the games pick up steam and we get closer to the playoffs, we have to rule out the little things because that can make a difference.”
Green is the head of this snake. A master of communication, capable of forcing turnovers in big moments while also putting his teammates in the right position. He encourages his teammate to defend aggressively, making sure he’s behind them as a helping defender and rim protector.
When Gary Payton II returns – missing the last seven games with knee pain – he will be adding plenty and stealing threats as one of the league’s best one-on-one defenders. Along with Andrew Wiggins, Looney and Klay Thompson, the Warriors will have all the pieces on the ground to climb back to the top.
Perfect cohesion and continuity heading into the playoffs may not be on the cards with Curry — something Green said he’s “100 percent” concerned about. The Warriors have an offensive challenge underway; Jordan Poole, Thompson and Wiggins have to make up for Curry’s loss at the end of the points. But coaches hope to control what they can control.
“Offensively, other guys will step in and try to fill in Steph’s footsteps,” Kerr said. “We can score a lot with the guys we have, the focus has to be on defense and if we can focus on that end I have no doubt we can go on the run.”
https://www.thereporter.com/2022/03/19/warriors-set-sights-on-becoming-the-nbas-top-defense-again/ The Warriors aim to be the best defense in the NBA again