The Warriors offense has looked stagnate at times as their scoring seems down and their opponents scoring seems to be through the roof. Don Nelson’s “Nellie-Ball” was purportedly the reason for the Warriors lack of defense…or rather, where outscoring opponents was considered the ‘mode’ of defense.
With Coach Keith Smart instituting a more defensive-minded approach and half-court offense sets built upon the Flex-offense that coach Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz has perfected, the Warriors have been working on their rebounding:
“We can’t leak out because we’ve got to get that rebound,” Smart said. “…What good is it to leak out and you’re down there by yourself with a hand up waiting for the ball?”
Because of this, the Warriors fast-break points are down this year, as Marcus Thompson II reports, nearly 5 points lower than last season and less than what they give up to opponents, too. Smart (via Thompson II) says it is because Lee isn’t as athletic as previous power forwards, hence the need to slow down the offense a bit:
“When we had four small forwards and guards on the floor, everybody ran then,” said Smart, whose squad does lead the league in points off turnovers (20.3). “We’re dealing with two, technically, (centers). David Lee is still developing at playing a (power forward) position, and he’s been gone for a while (because of injury). So he has to get back into game shape. So, for right now, we still have a traditional team that’s trying to develop into a team that can play a little faster.”
And Smart is suggesting that this team is learning to play half-court sets with the aim of developing their players, which is a good thing. But how does this explain the lack of scoring when earlier in the season, they seemed like they were “Nellie-Ball with Smart Characteristics” of semi-half-court sets?
Part of the issue has been the lack of ball rotation on offense, which the Warriors seem like they’re still jacking up shots early in the shot clock — mostly 3s. And go-to outside shooter Dorell Wright has been clanking shots and forcing and-1s off pump fakes when he’s clearly not getting the veteran calls that Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade would. Part of the problem is he’s not selling the pump-fakes very well. And he seems to have forgotten he plays for the Warriors, which automatically translates into no-calls.
But gone are the pick and roll or pick and pop that was supposed to be Lee and Curry’s bread and butter together. Curry’s flip shots have been off the mark, which part of it seems to be a confidence issue this season. And little has asked about the horrendous defense.
Whatever it is, this provides some windows into the early struggles of this Warriors squad having to learn how to develop half-court skills, which Smart says was only about “hav(ing) fun and play(ing) fast,” which “this team is not that (kind of) team right now. So we’ve got to utilize what we have now and develop them to eventually start being a running team.”
Does Smart’s suggestions make you feel more confident about where they’re going and what Smart is trying to instill?