First, the positives: both Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry made it through the Golden State Warriors’ season opener unscathed. Bogut even hit the deck once or twice, but picked himself up none the worse for wear.
Of course, that leads us right into one of the many negatives from the Dubs’ first contest. That play had a good result (except for Bogut going down in a heap), but shouldn’t have happened. It, like so many other offensive possessions for the Warriors, happened because the offense had broken down.
In a maddeningly predictable and unimaginative display of poor offensive strategy, Mark Jackson had the Warriors’ wings popping up off of down screens on virtually every possession. The Suns caught on to this almost immediately, and shut it down by overplaying the pass from the point guard. That should have caused Jackson to adjust, by setting back screens, mandating the wings start cutting backdoor or allowing the point guard to attack his man since there wasn’t going to be any help available in the middle of the floor.
Instead, Jackson stuck to the script and were it not for the Suns’ lottery-bound ineptitude, the Warriors would have lost this game. As it was, they managed to score only 87 points. Jackson needs to be more willing (or able) to adjust, especially when the right moves are so obvious.
On the boards, the Warriors had a plus-five margin over Phoenix. After last year’s NBA-worst rebound rate, any win on the boards is cause for celebration. But Jackson’s small-ball lineup, which he went to repeatedly in the second half, also nearly cost the Warriors the game. Defenders of Jackson will point out that Carl Landry was the Warriors’ most reliable scoring option down the stretch, and they’d be right. But he was also part of the undersized frontcourt combo (along with David Lee) that got trounced on the offensive boards late in the game. That beating on the glass gave the Suns a ton of extra possessions, which nearly resulted in disaster.
The Warriors have centers now. Jackson needs to play them. It’s that simple.
Using a conventional lineup will probably mean that either David Lee or Carl Landry will have to ride the pine down the stretch, but there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, there’s a lot right with that.
The Memphis Grizzlies are up next, and the Warriors are going to get blown out if Jackson shows the same reluctance to recognize the obvious need to make adjustments to his offense and lineup construction.
Everybody can enjoy a 1-0 start, but the Warriors’ inaugural victory probably gave more reason for concern than excitement. Step it up, Coach.