The NBA preseason has concluded for the Warriors, marking the end of their 2023 training camp. While some aspects went smoothly, there is one significant challenge that remains unfinished.
During the preseason, the Warriors exposed their defensive shortcomings, highlighting the need for repairs before they can compete for a championship.
With Game 1 of the regular season just two days away, Klay Thompson expressed confidence in the team’s ability to improve defensively, stating, “Come Tuesday night, I think you’ll see a much better defensive effort than you’ve seen these last two weeks.”
Meanwhile, Coach Steve Kerr approached the situation more cautiously, emphasizing the need for consistency and improvement. “I didn’t think our defense was great in the preseason. It’s got to improve,” said Kerr after a light scrimmage on Sunday.
The preseason serves as the foundation for building good defensive habits, but the Warriors were inconsistent in their defensive performance, reflected in their 22nd ranking among 30 teams with a defensive rating of 108.7.
The absence of Draymond Green, an eight-time All-Defensive team selection and the 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year, contributed to the team’s defensive struggles. However, even when Green returns, the team will still need to address their defensive flaws.
One area of concern is turnovers. The Warriors averaged 17.6 turnovers per game, tied for 18th in the league. Opponents capitalized on these turnovers, scoring 21 points per game off of them. Green acknowledged his and Stephen Curry’s responsibility for the turnovers but mentioned that Chris Paul’s low-turnover style of play could help mitigate this issue.
However, the half-court defensive issues from last season and the preseason persist, leading to breakdowns, fouls, and easy baskets for opponents. Green emphasized the importance of communication for the team’s success, particularly for new players still adjusting to each other’s strengths.
Green publicly called out Kevon Looney, who has become a focal point for the team, to take a more active role in communication. He compared Looney’s potential impact to what former Warrior Andrew Bogut brought to the team in terms of recognizing opposing plays and organizing traffic on the court.
Despite these concerns, the Warriors believe their defensive issues are fixable. However, the timeline for improvement remains uncertain.
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