The Golden State Warriors feel like they might have just broken basketball… again. Their new three-guard lineup is wreaking havoc and proving to be virtually unstoppable for an undermanned Denver Nuggets squad.
The question: what will happen when the Warriors face a team that is equipped to respond to the death lineup? Does such a team even exist?
Can the Golden State Warriors’ new death lineup hold up against the likes of Phoneix, Milwaukee, Memphis, Miami, Boston or Philadelphia?
The biggest challenge for this Dubs’ lineup is their lack of size. Draymond Green has served as the great equalizer, managing to slow down the league’s MVP center with his defensive skill set. Yet, questions remain about how Green will fair against more physically daunting opponents.
Draymond can go toe-to-toe with a strategic scorer like Jokic — but can he bottle up 250+ pound freight trains like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid? Will Deandre Ayton’s brute strength at the rim and ariel dynamics be too much for the Warriors’ undersized lineup?
I think it’s fair to question how long the 6’6″ Draymond Green can play above his weight class. However, Green will never be asked to defend the paint for 48 minutes a night. The three-guard lineup has been used sparsely and will likely remain a weapon the Dubs utilize in spurts rather than prolonged stretches.
Though he is not featured in the death lineup, Kevon Looney will actually be key to ensuring the new rotation works. Golden State will need Looney to blunt opposing frontcourts as much as possible. At the least, Looney needs to hold his own until the death lineup can emerge.
Okay, so the Warriors can likely use this group against oversized opponents like Giannis, Embiid and Ayton — but will the three guards be able to keep up with other elite backcourts?
The Phoenix Suns have a dynamic duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker ready to pounce while the Memphis Grizzlies are loaded with guards in Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton and Tyus Jones.
More dangerous, the Suns and Grizzlies have enough wing defenders to properly cover the ultra-spaced floor the Warriors lineup offers. The same goes for Philly, Milwaukee and Miami in a potential NBA Finals meeting.
The Dubs are picking the Nuggets’ defense apart due to their personnel. Will this be possible against more competent defensive teams?
Truthfully, if it were anyone else besides Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, I’d be concerned. But, I think we have enough history to safely assume no NBA defense will be able to stop them. Jordan Poole is a bit more of a wildcard but having him as your third option is a luxury, to say the least.
Assuming all goes well, the Warriors will continue to advance through the NBA Playoffs while rising to the occasion against each new challenger. The death lineup 3.0 will be at the core of their success.