This season the Golden State Warriors will be able to use a specific game plan to match up against specific opponents and situations.
Could you ever have imagined that would happen in Oakland?
No longer are the Warriors just going to run up and down the court hoping and praying that they can score enough points to overcome their putrid defensive play.
They finally figured it out.
They traded Monta Ellis and their small ball ways to acquire oft-injured Andrew Bogut to help field a traditional basketball team.
With their new and seemingly healthy roster, the Warriors are actually going to play defense. Well, they are going to attempt it, anyway. Bogut allows the Warriors to have a defensive game plan and he alone can make the Warriors an average defensive team.
With Bogut now patrolling the middle, the Warriors defensive game plan should be to funnel everyone in the middle. The Warriors aren't loaded with one-on-one defensive talent. But they do have quickness. They have players who can disrupt the passing lanes to generate steals.
If they come up short attempting a steal and their opponent finds an open lane to the rim, Bogut will be there standing between them and the basket. The Warriors must like those odds.
On offense, the Warriors starting five is loaded with speed and shooters, all of whom can pass the ball. First and foremost the Warriors should be looking to fast break. Remember, just because they are going to play defense this year doesn't mean that they are not going to look to push the ball. They are still loaded with guys that can get up and down the floor and Bogut isn't exactly a stiff.
When the Warriors aren't looking to push the ball up the floor, their best offensive game plan for the half court is to run any combination of a pick and roll.
With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee and Bogut it will be.
Curry can simply wait for a ball screen where he has the option to shoot, pass to either Thompson or Barnes if/when their man comes and provides help defensively or drive it to the hoop. He can also give it to Bogut or Lee, who can either take it to the rim or use their elite (for a big man) passing skills to hit any open cutter or shooter.
If Lee gets the ball in the high post the Warriors should trust him shooting the 15-footer all night. Ideally, Bogut would be getting the ball in the low post where he can slam one home.
This will be a beautiful thing.
With that base the Warriors can use their incredible depth to make in-game adjustments depending on their matchups.
Now the Warriors will be able to play whatever the situation calls for.
For the first time in what seems like eternity, the Warriors can feature a big lineup when facing tougher and slower lineups.
With Klay Thompson's ability to handle the rock and his high basketball I.Q., Mark Jackson can and should allow him to play point guard at times. Add in Brandon Rush as a shooting guard and the Warriors can feature one of the biggest backcourts in the NBA.
Here comes the fun part.
With Bogut on the floor, the Warriors can get away with having Lee and Carl Landry at both forward spots to feature a dangerous low post scoring tandem. Both are premiere offensive talents and Bogut will make up for the defensive inefficiencies on the floor.
This is a big offensive lineup, and if the Warriors choose to go defensive, simply input Festus Ezeli. This defensive lineup will come in handy when Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol come to visit.
Can you even imagine last year's opening day roster if they had to play the Los Angles Lakers this year? It's best not to.
The Warriors can also go small and quick. They can go back to playing small ball if the situation calls for it. Think of playing against the Miami Heat with their ability to run.
OK, so they are not going to match up equally with the Heat, but who does? They can, however, boast a lineup that can compete playing a similar style.
With Curry and Thompson in the backcourt, Rush and Draymond Green at forwards, and Lee at center, the Warriors will be able to run with any team in the NBA.
This will allow the Warriors to get easy layups, and it will allow them to shoot open threes in transition. With the shooters they have, any time they have an open look they should take it.
The Warriors are going to play defense this year, which is great, but the best thing about this new roster is that they are equipped to play limitless styles. They will run, have halfcourt sets featuring the pick and roll, and shoot with anyone in the entire NBA.
Most importantly, they will be balanced.
The Warriors have the talent to win this year, now it's up to Coach Jackson to put forth the best game plan every night. Then he can start game planning for a seven-game series.
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