With the league’s best winning percentage of 82.9%, the Golden State Warriors seem invincible.
Even those who haven’t had the privilege of watching any games simply need to look at the facts to see that this team is an offensive and defensive juggernaut. They rank first in points per game, first in offensive and defensive rating, first in pace, first in assists, fourth in steals, fourth in blocks and first in field goal percentage. The good overwhelmingly outweighs the bad, and their record speaks for itself.
What are some of the Golden State Warriors’ weaknesses ? And do they need to be addressed immediately?
Probably not. But if we’re going to nitpick, there’s plenty of aspects the Warriors can improve on.
Those who tune into TNT’s Inside the NBA on Thursday nights have heard Charles Barkley‘s repeated denial of the Warriors’ legitimacy due to their heavy reliance on three-point shots. Yes, the Warriors’ primary strength is their deadly three-point shooting. They rank first in three-point percentage and are only seventh in three pointers attempted, making them the most efficient three-point shooting team, averaging 39%. In addition, the Warriors actually attempt and convert more two point field goals.
Having recently escaped a terrible three-point shooting slump, it’s easy to overlook some questionable shot selection in their most recent losses. During their eight losses, the Warriors average 33% beyond the arc. They average 40.1% during victories. They are 13-6 when making less than 10 threes in a game. The only concern is if they fall into a dry spell like they did against Chicago, when the team went 0-for-13 during the entire second half. If their shots aren’t falling like they’re accustomed to, they must absolutely move the ball and refuse to settle for highly contested jumpers. The good news is that since most of their three-point shots come off assists or great looks, they probably shouldn’t stop shooting them.
The Warriors possess a suffocating defensive presence. Draymond Green shoulders much of that responsibility. However, despite his excellence, he does have a tendency of committing some poor fouls. Since he’s able to defend virtually every position, he loves to swarm opponents and close out hard on shooters, this results in some unnecessary fouls that lead to two and sometimes even three free throws. Green has a bad habit of falling for pump fakes and fouling jump shooters (most recently on Nikola Mirotic). When the postseason arrives, Green and his teammates cannot afford to give up points by making avoidable mistakes and silly fouls. One trip to the charity stripe could affect the outcome of a game or series.
The Warriors aren’t the greatest rebounding team.They rank 19th in rebounds per game and 24th in offensive rebounding. This is due to their lightning-fast pace. They hammer opponents by forcing turnovers and capitalize with usually a pull-up jumper or a quick finish at the rim. This ridiculous speed doesn’t allow for many offensive boards as the Warriors need to run back on defense. Bogut is by far the most effective rebounder the Warriors possess. The Warriors suffer, however, when they face teams with multiple big men or rebounders on the floor. There were huge rebounding issues against the Utah Jazz, who dominated the Warriors on the glass, out-rebounding them 55 to 41. The Warriors will inevitably have bad games due to the length of the season and the fatigue it brings. Even if they have an efficient offensive outing, defensive rebounds are crucial, or teams will feast on the Warriors as Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert and Tyson Chandler have in recent games.
There aren’t any weaknesses that the Warriors don’t know already. They’ve had some slow starts, silly turnovers and missed free throws as of late, but it’s hard to believe that the team is unaware of their own shortcomings. Kerr and his coaching staff are meticulously prepared for every matchup as they frequently study film and scouting reports. We already know the narrative that Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli need to be healthy for a deep playoff run. Without a true center, they can’t keep up with teams like the Grizzlies. Kerr knows this so he’s been very smart about his rotations and minutes. As long as the Warriors can maintain their defensive discipline and mantra of ball movement like they have all season, they can beat any team.