How to Fix Golden State Warriors' Recent Struggles
The Golden State Warriors started the season by surprising the entire NBA, but they finished the first half limping to the gate with five straight losses. The Warriors needed the break probably more than any team as they weren’t even in contention for four of the five losses. They didn’t have any jump starting off the second half, losing in another blowout to the Utah Jazz.
In their past six losses, the Warriors have been out-rebounded three times, have been down by huge first-half margins four times and have committed more turnovers in every game.
The Warriors began such a great run at the start of the season because they were hungry and wanted to prove to the rest of the league that they had a legitimate team that could make the playoffs. The team finished 28th in rebounding last season, but during this season, they have improved to third in the league.
Rebounding is part of the defense, and lately it seems like the Warriors aren't fighting for positioning or picking the correct spots to grab the rebound when it's coming off the board. The team has to get back into that Warrior mindset and outwork the opponent. All-Star David Lee needs to lead by example.
Andrew Bogut has returned from injury, but the inconsistency of his game and his health has really affected the Warriors. He is known for his defense, and his comments reflected in Tim Kawakami’s tweet show what the Warriors haven’t been doing lately.
Andrew Bogut after the Warriors’ 5th straight loss: “At the end of the day, you’ve got to stop your man”: Andrew... bit.ly/12wnyeb— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 13, 2013
The biggest problem with Bogut’s return is that players aren't doing the fundamentals that made the Warriors such a strong team. They went from making sure each player was doing the little things to an “I got it, you take it” approach. As a result, there were a lot of missed defensive assignments.
Players would expect Bogut to be back near the basket saving mostly everything that got behind a player with a shot block or a defensive stop on the nights he took the floor.
Fatigue may be one reason for the recent decline in performance, but it doesn’t account for the sloppy and lazy play as of late. This style of play led the Warriors into giving up way too many points and having huge first-half deficits that were insurmountable.
The Dubs have been giving up way too many open looks and uncontested shots, as shown by the first loss to the Houston Rockets. The Rockets had their way with the Warriors and sank an NBA record-tying 23 three-pointers.
As you can see from the video, most of the three-pointers were taken with nobody in one of the Rockets’ faces, or a Warrior was late running to the shooter. It was an embarrassment for the Warriors, who stated they would get their revenge in Oakland, but let that game get away too.
The Memphis Grizzlies, who are not a notoriously offensive team, scored 63 first-half points and shot 52.3 percent from the field.
The Dallas Mavericks came out swinging just like the Grizzlies and ran the Warriors out of their arena in the first half by scoring 62 points and only giving up 36. The game was never close, and it felt like the Dubs just wanted to mail this one in.
The Warriors need to be focused right from the get-go and man up against the opponents. Being the aggressor sets the tone for the rest of the game. The Warriors are settling too much on the easy pull-up jumpers and not setting up the half-court offense to run set plays.
As you can see from the video, Lee and Bogut know how to make defenses work inside.
The result of the hard work is that if forces defenses to spend their energy trying to stop the Warriors from scoring instead of getting an easy rebound and pushing it up the court for an uncontested layup.
Bogut hasn’t been the offensive force that most Warriors fans have expected, but since he is almost back to full health, he should be able to provide more of an offensive presence in the second half.
The Warriors also need to keep a better eye on the ball and stop committing turnovers. Careless turnovers are generating easy fast-break points for opponents. The combination of the easy rebounds and careless turnovers leads to the evaporation of advantages or shortfalls, turning in insurmountable deficits in a hurry.
In the February 19 game against the Jazz, 14 turnovers cost the Warriors 21 points. Coach Jackson can no longer tolerate his players just blowing off turnovers like it won’t happen again. Lately it's been happening over and over...and over.
Finally, the biggest thing the Warriors need is a true team leader to snap them out of their funk. Stephen Curry has been anointed that person, but he really needs to show his teammates that he is that player. He started that trend with one of the only solid performances in the game against the Utah Jazz.
As you can see from the highlight, Steph uses the screen from Carl Landry, makes the behind the back dribble and finishes against the Jazz on December 26, 2012. When the Dubs are down on their luck in a game or in a losing streak, Curry needs to be the one to stem the tide.
Curry is the face of a franchise that is still trying to keep its head above water after decades of failure. Backup point guard and playoff-proven veteran Jarrett Jack, in an article posted by Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News, stated that it is time to have a talk with Curry just to let him know how important his role in the final 30 games of the season truly is.
The fix-it plan is now laid out for the Warriors. It is their turn to turn things around and show everyone that they are true playoff contenders; otherwise the losing culture will be a hard trend to buck.
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