The Golden State Warriors are going to struggle to block shots this season.
Defense truly does win championships. The Golden State Warriors have made defense a priority throughout the years as they have won three titles in five seasons. However, things will be different in the 2019-20 season.
Golden State began its dominance with four very solid defenders. The 2015 title team contained blossoming versions of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, while Andre Iguodala won the Finals MVP for his gritty defense that shifted momentum in the series.
Then, there was Andrew Bogut. Perhaps the best rim protector the Warriors have had this decade, Bogut played a pivotal role in keeping the Warriors an elite defensive team. Bogut averaged 1.7 blocks per game in his four seasons with the Dubs.
With the departure of Bogut came the additions of JaVale McGee and Kevin Durant. Though KD had never been seen as a lockdown defender, it didn’t take long for his humongous wingspan to make an impact on the Warriors defense.
As for McGee, he did enough to keep the Warriors strong on the inside. Despite never averaging more than a block with the Dubs, there is no doubt his presence in the paint had a positive effect on their defense.
Fast forward to the 2018-19 NBA season. The Dubs had lost McGee in free agency and were expected to struggle on the interior until DeMarcus Cousins recovered from injury. In shocking fashion, the Dubs surprised everyone and led the league in blocks.
Even so, the Warriors were vulnerable in the paint. A majority of their blocked shots came on the perimeter with KD leading the team in this department.
Neither Looney or WCS are known for their rim-protecting abilities. While Looney is likely the better defender of the two, it is WCS who has the ideal physical attributes to become a shot blocker.
Cauley-Stein has not averaged above 1 block per game since his rookie season and Looney has never even had such season. This is going to put the Warriors in jeopardy as opposing teams will find it easy to score in the paint.
The Warriors will be looking for one of these two bigs to make an impact as the team has no other options. If they fail to see results, the Warrior’s interior defense will struggle.