The Golden State Warriors are going to look very different this year. This team’s defensive capabilities will be it’s biggest question mark.
The NBA has undergone a seismic change in scenery. Since LeBron James began the player empowerment movement in 2010, free agency has been a never-ending cycle of madness. The 2019 NBA off season was by far the craziest one to date, with multiple star players switching teams, including Kevin Durant who left the Golden State Warriors in order to join the Brooklyn Nets.
As most teams are facing big changes this upcoming season, no franchise is preparing more than the Warriors. After going to five straight NBA Finals with (pretty much) the same core each year, the Dubs now have a very interesting season ahead of them.
The loss of Durant obviously hurts, but the additional losses of veteran players such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston only makes it worse. Throw in an ACL injury to Klay Thompson and the Dubs are going to be looking at a different team in 2020.
Offensively, the Warriors shouldn’t be too worried. They still have Stephen Curry, one of the league’s most efficient scorers of all-time. Combine this with the isolation skills of newly acquired D’Angelo Russell and the eventual return of Thompson and the Dubs shouldn’t have much trouble on the offensive end.
However, their defense is going to become very questionable. Without Thompson or Durant, the Dubs lose two guys who are extremely versatile on the defensive end. No KD or Klay means that Curry will have a more difficult time hiding himself on defense. Curry is a smart defender and does everything he can, but at the end of the day, he just doesn’t have the physical tools needed to get the job done here.
Furthermore, Willie Cauley-Stein is notoriously one of the worst shot blockers in the entire league. WCS blocked just 51 shots in 81 games last season but totaled over 200 personal fouls.
There is no doubt that this team has lost some depth defensively. Sure, Draymond Green is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate himself, but he will be constantly asked to pick up the slack of other players around him. Outside of Green, who on this roster is an above average defender?
It’s going to be interesting to watch as the Dubs enter the season as a subpar defensive team for the first time in a long time. Luckily, years of greatness has led to a solid system in place that could prove to be successful if each player buys in and does his job.