The Golden State Warriors are an up-and-coming team that filled a lot holes during the summer. However, they still have weaknesses that other teams can exploit.
Last season was not a strong gauge of the biggest weaknesses because after the Monta Ellis trade, most of the team was shut down because of injuries.
However, even with the new and improved team, there have been some continuous problems that Golden State has yet to solve.
The biggest problem over the past several seasons has been their defense. The Warriors would light up the scoreboard, but other teams would mostly end up on top.
Another major problem is not having a healthy roster. Key players were benched for the last month of the season, whether that was to make sure they would be ready for the upcoming season or if it was to secure a better draft pick.
Let’s take a closer look at what problems still ail the Warriors, which other teams will look to exploit.
The acquisition of Andrew Bogut is a big help to the Warriors, but Bogut won’t be running full steam until probably a month into the season. His defensive attitude should enhance Mark Jackson’s vision for the team.
However, the Dubs are still a weak defensive team and will take at least a quarter of the season to fully understand Mark Jackson’s defensive strategies and even longer to successfully implement them.
Opposing teams can take advantage of this through the transition game, the pick-and-roll and basically any play with a lot of movement.
The Warriors gave up 105.7 points per game in 2010-'11, and lowered that to 101.2 PPG last season. That is a significant reduction in points, but it still ranked tied for 28th place in the NBA.
Even with Bogut, the Warriors will be lucky to rank closer to 20th place in the league this season.
Teams with quicker guards can drive past the surgically-repaired ankle of Stephen Curry and the oversized Klay Thompson for an easy hoop, or they kick it out for an easy, uncontested shot.
Another major problem is rebounding in the final minutes, as the Warriors never seem to be able to make the final stop.
Opposing teams need to work even harder at this point so as not to raise the Warriors' confidence in closing out games.
The biggest two Warriors stars, Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut, were hampered by major injuries that sat them down for the majority of last season.
They continue to rehabilitate themselves during the preseason, but they will probably be playing limited minutes to start the season.
Opposing teams need to take advantage of this scenario by pushing both players during their time on the floor in order to get into the Warriors' bench.
The Warriors have capable players on their bench, but they do not have the ability of their starters.
Since there are a lot of new players taking spots on the floor for Golden State, teams must use that to their advantage because the flow and consistency of the lineup has not yet been established.
The Warriors are known primarily as an outside shooting team. One of the goals this season is to actually start making some moves and create shots.
Opposing teams should realize that this will be a new game plan for the Warriors and remain tight on defense. With the attitude of settling for a shot, the Warriors only attempted 18.7 free-throw attempts per game last season, ranking second to last in the league.
Although the Dubs have some terrific outside shooters, the percentage of shots made is far worse from 10 feet and beyond than it is close to the rim.
The Warriors don’t look like they will be a running team this season, except for their transition game, so that sort of forces them into a corner on the offensive end.
Opposing teams will need to be continuously aggressive on the defensive end of the floor and not let the Warriors develop any confidence with their play-making abilities.
The Warriors play up to the level of their competition when playing the best teams in the NBA. Last season, they beat the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat and lost in the closing seconds to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics.
The Warriors also have a horrible habit of playing down to their competition as they were one of the seven teams to lose to the record-setting Charlotte Bobcats and their .106 winning percentage.
In games against opponents that the Warriors are expected to beat, they sometimes play haphazardly and make a lot of simple mistakes. Opposing teams need to take advantage when the Warriors are not at their best and turn those mistakes and turnovers into points.
Momentum plays a big factor in this process, too. When a team turns off the switch like the Warriors do in these types of games, it is very hard to turn it back on. While the Dubs are in a temporary or even a game-long lull, opponents can put the contest out of reach.
The Warriors have been an awful team the past several seasons when they have to travel away from home.
In the past three seasons, the Dubs have compiled records of 8-33 (’09-’10), 10-31 (’10-’11) and 11-22 (last season) when they were on the road.
Their annual trip through Texas when they play either two or all three teams usually ends with an 0-2 or an 0-3 record. Oklahoma City is another raucous house that is a very difficult place to play in.
Talent is a big factor in not getting the job done, and this team with all of its new additions, has yet to play cohesively against strong opponents in opposing houses.
Opponents must prevent the Dubs from gaining confidence, especially in the early going of the season when both Bogut and Curry won’t be going at 100 percent.
Teams need to use that to their advantage when Golden State comes to their town to play.
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