Ranking Warriors' Biggest Weaknesses Through 2 Months

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 16, 2021

Ranking Warriors' Biggest Weaknesses Through 2 Months

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    The Golden State Warriors are one of the best teams in the NBA this season. There is no debating that.

    Where there could be some conversations, though, is the team's ultimate place in the hoops world's hierarchy.

    It's somewhere near the top, obviously, but is it really as high as the club's scorching 18-2 start suggested? Or has the more recent 4-3 stretch (entering Tuesday night) revealed that this may not be the juggernaut it initially seemed?

    Time holds those answers. For now, we'll spotlight and rank the three biggest issues holding this team back.

3. Turnovers

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    When someone pens the definitive story of this era's Warriors, turnovers will be one of the key characters.

    They're almost unavoidable in coach Steve Kerr's system, which requires players to stay as loose as possible. The good version of this offense and the head-scratching one don't look dissimilar during the process, it's just the result that changes.

    The Warriors can be wrecking balls and reckless in the same night, so it's never hard to tell how much to knock them for their turnover troubles. Even with the giveaways, they came into Tuesday night's tilt ranked fourth overall in offensive efficiency, so they aren't exactly behind held back.

    Still, only the Houston Rockets cough up more than Golden State's 16.1 turnovers per game. When the Rockets are healthy, they are co-quarterbacked by 21-year-old Kevin Porter Jr. and 19-year-old Jalen Green. Even when attributing some of Golden State's numbers to the system, an offense led by Stephen Curry and Draymond Green shouldn't be this careless.

2. Non-Steph Scoring

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    When opponents sketch out their defensive game plan against the Dubs, they might go several paragraphs deep without mentioning anyone other than Curry.

    That's mostly a testament to the talents of the MVP candidate, but it's also a reflection of the fact that no one else really scares opponents. Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole can erupt, but their shot totals and scoring outputs are less predictable than most second options'.

    Their season averages seem fine—Wiggins is at 18.4 points, Poole is right behind with 17.8—but they rarely string a bunch of similar box scores together. It might be 30 points one night and 10 the next. Ideally, at least one would be more consistent to help Curry handle the scoring load.

    Now, this issue could be erased by the return of Klay Thompson, if he steps right back into his old role. But considering the 31-year-old hasn't suited up since the 2019 Finals, it seems optimistic (at best) to imagine he'll slide right into the No. 2 scoring spot.

1. Size Concerns

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    The Warriors haven't looked vulnerable very often this season—their average game is an 11.7-point victory—but when they have, it has almost always tied back to their lack of size.

    When the Warriors stumbled against the Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee combined for 32 points and 13 rebounds. When they fell to the Philadelphia 76ers, it was Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond totaling 35 points and 18 boards. When Golden State sweated out Monday's two-point win over the Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis encountered no resistance en route to 30 points and 11 rebounds.

    Kevon Looney admirably competes, but he can't stretch out his 6'9" frame. Same goes for the 6'6" Green, although his play will fool you into thinking he's bigger than he is. Until James Wiseman returns, the only other big is 6'10" shooting specialist Nemanja Bjelica.

    In a perfect world, the return of Wiseman will solve this issue. But if he hasn't dramatically improved from his rocky rookie season, this problem could hang over their heads all year.