The NBA preseason has only just begun, and the Golden State Warriors are already embarrassing opponents.
The Warriors, of course, coming off an NBA record 73-9 season, with the league’s best offence by a mile, added Kevin Durant this summer.
On paper, it was easy to imagine the Warriors offence being unstoppable — how can a team possibly cover a four-man attack featuring Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Durant? However, as we’ve seen with super-teams, there’s always an adjustment period, and on-paper talent doesn’t always translate to on-court chemistry.
It looks like the Warriors are doing just fine, so far. In blowing out the Los Angeles Clippers 120-75 Tuesday night, the Warriors offered a glimpse at what their offence will look like, and stopping it may be hopeless.
In the first quarter, less than 90 seconds into the game, the Warriors got out on the run. Durant found Curry on the wing, seemingly open for a three. When the Clippers launched two defenders to prevent the open three-pointer (overreacting, as defences are wont to do against Curry), he drove the lane and found Durant for an open three.
After the game, Curry described the play, explaining why he passed up a shot he normally takes (via ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss):
“That shot may be one I take down the road depending on how you feel. But you see two guys running at you, pump fake, and get around them, the flood gates open with options. K.D. and Klay were open for a second on that weak side. Just try to read where that defender was and make the right play. That’s a part of who we’re going to be.”
This is the new reality for opposing defences. Trying to monitor Curry, Thompson, and Green in the open floor was difficult enough (to say nothing of also-deadly transition players, former Warrior Harrison Barnes and current Warrior Andre Iguodala). Now, defences must also track Durant. All four can bring the ball up the floor, all four can attack the basket, hit the transition three, and move the ball.
Look at Curry’s options as he blows past Blake Griffin and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute:
When he dishes it off to Durant, JJ Redick is already rotating to Thompson, anticipating the swing pass for the corner three. A not unwise decision, though he ceded the open three to Durant. Had he ran to cover Durant, Durant would have just passed to Thompson or Green at the top of the key.
This isn’t good transition defence from the Clippers, but the Warriors will face much worse defences through the season.
Though the Warriors insist there’s still work to do and they will need to develop that chemistry, their raw talent, particularly in transition, is going to wreak havoc on opponents.
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