After a disappointing second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers, a re-tooled Golden State Warriors are aiming to bounceback to their championship best in 2023-24.
Last season was odd for the Warriors in a multitude of facets. Off the floor they had highly-publicised issues, and on it they were never quite the same team from 12 months prior despite moments of optimism.
The Golden State Warriors need to address three key areas in the hope of renewing their championship credentials next season.
There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding Golden State right now, most notably with the addition of 12-time All-Star Chris Paul. Fortunately, there are very evident ways in which to improve, almost all of which Paul can help turn around.
Let’s look at three key areas the franchise needs to tackle and get right in 2023-24.
1. Road record
Undoubtedly the biggest element the Warriors need to get right next season. Their road form was nothing short of horrific in 2022-23, culminating in an 11-30 record that had them inches from featuring in the dreaded Play-In Tournament.
That road record was the fourth-worst in the league, sitting only above the lottery bound Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. They were 28th in defensive rating away from Chase Center and 23rd in net rating overall. It was a far cry from Golden State’s best which saw them rack up a cumulative 110-54 road record across their four championship seasons in the last nine years.
Was last season an anomaly the Warriors will respond from, or will the issue carry on and plague another campaign?
With an offense predicated on high ball and player movement, Golden State will always be more prone to an increased number of both assists and turnovers. Yet that’s not to say that committing the most turnovers (16.3) in the league, and ranking second-last in turnover percentage (15.8%) is in anyway acceptable.
Although it’s been a longstanding issue, next season provides the Warriors with the best chance of getting it right. They ranked 29th in pick-and-rolls ran last season, a facet that will assuredly get a boost by the added presence of one of the best offensive facilitators of all-time. As a result, with a more versatile and somewhat traditional offensive scheme, Golden State should see a heavy reduction in their turnover issues.
3. Defensive activity
As the old adage goes, ‘defense leads to offense’. Throughout their four championship years, the Warriors have ranked first, fourth, fourth and eighth in steals per game. They were 17th last season, a clear marker of a defense that never found it’s optimal intensity for consistent periods.
With the length of Andrew Wiggins and the defensive tenacity of Gary Payton II back in the mix for a full season, Golden State should have the means in which to return to a top ten team in steals per game. Although Paul may no longer be the player that’s made him a nine-time All-Defensive Team selection, he too should help in that regard compared to the outgoing Jordan Poole.