Golden State Warriors’ biggest defensive issue exposed against Kings

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 13: Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings is guarded by Donte DiVincenzo #0 of the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter at Golden 1 Center on November 13, 2022 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 13: Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings is guarded by Donte DiVincenzo #0 of the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter at Golden 1 Center on November 13, 2022 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

After a couple of improved outings that led to back-to-back wins, the Golden State Warriors defense was again exposed as they suffered a 122-115 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.

Mike Brown’s men shot 51.6% from the field and 43.2% (16-for-37) from three-point range, also totalling 72 points across the second and third periods. Although the Warriors had their opportunities down the stretch only to struggle offensively, it was the defensive aspect that got them in a hole initially.

The Golden State Warriors’ lack of perimeter defenders leads to a scheme that’s easy to game plan for and orchestrate against.

The Warriors’ defense was good early, holding the Kings to 26 first-quarter points as they held a 13-point lead. But from there, many of the same issues arose as we’ve seen too frequently through their 13 games to date.

With the loss of Gary Payton II, the Warriors have little capacity to be able to stay in front of perimeter players. The first result is simple — defenders get beaten off the dribble, the offensive player drives and either gets a shot at the rim, or draws help before feeding a cutter or kicking it out to an open three-point shooter.

But that wasn’t the only thing occurring against the Kings. To combat their lack of perimeter defense, Steve Kerr implemented a switching scheme throughout the course of the game. On the outside it’s manageable — Draymond Green is as versatile defender as there is in the league, while Kevon Looney is much more competent on the perimeter than most NBA big men.

The issue is that it creates a mismatch on the inside that any skilful center can exploit. Domantas Sabonis finished with 26 points and 22 rebounds to prove the difference in the game. When the Warriors helped on that mismatch and dug down, Sabonis found the open man to record an equal team-high eight assists.

As a result, Keegan Murray sees open looks and drains five of his nine three-point attempts. Back to the origins of the scheme — if the Warriors don’t make that initial switch, then there guards aren’t adept at fighting through the screen and contesting what becomes an open look.

As per the clip above, Klay Thompson had a devil of a time chasing Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter on the perimeter — Huerter had a couple of threes from dribble handoffs where the Warriors failed to switch.

Donte DiVincenzo was the only Warrior who consistently held the mentality to fight over a screen and get back to the ball-handler, while also having the physical attributes to effectively do that. If the Warriors guards as a collective aren’t even going to try, then a switching scheme creates mismatches and ultimately becomes predictable.

Next. Golden State Warriors rookie goes toe-to-toe with projected number two overall pick. dark

One man — Green — can only make up for so much on that end of the floor. DiVincenzo played a season-high 24 minutes against the Kings, and don’t be surprised if that increases as the Warriors try to improve from their current position as the league’s 24th ranked team in defensive rating.