The Golden State Warriors played their 2nd SAP Center preseason game in San Jose against the Kings on Thursday, October 6, 2016, showcasing their immensely talented roster. The team is stacked, that much is evident watching this team in the early goings. But it was not a perfect game by any means, and there is still plenty of work to be done before the regular season starts.
The first thing that pops out about this Warriors roster is the efficiency of the shooters and how lethal this team will be from a spacing and scoring standpoint. No team will be able to go toe to toe with the Warriors in a shootout. Between Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant the Warriors probably have the three most dangerous outside bombers in the NBA, each equipped with fast releases and unwavering confidence. Defenses will be stretched very thin, giving the offense and Steph plenty of room to work. At the same time, the rhythm and cohesion of the players is not quite there yet.
In the first half, there were too many turnovers and deflected or tipped passes. The timing is not there yet, but I expect it to improve over the course of the preseason. For the Warriors part they are focused on cutting down those turnovers. Postgame Steve Kerr noted that the team’s performance wasn’t where it needed to be. “Sloppy, that’s all we talked about before the game was execution. We expended a lot of energy against the Clippers the other night and this was a natural let down game. I was really trying to implore our guys before the game to take care of the ball and execute and unfortunately we didn’t do it”. Luckily they still have time to work out those kinks.
Defensively, the team struggled against the Kings, specifically against Demarcus Cousins and his size inside. He routinely beat Zaza Pachulia for easy buckets. This is the one clear weakness of the Warriors roster. Luckily for the team, the NBA has transitioned away from centers and power forwards who abuse teams inside and most likely won’t run into many teams that can exploit that part of the roster. Zaza isn’t the most fleet-footed, and defensive rotations were a step slow when he was in the game. Small ball lineups with Draymond Green and Durant playing the 5 and 4 had more disruption and success defensively. Green and Durant offer plenty of versatility defensively.
Speaking of Durant, he appears to be gelling much quicker than expected. The fact that his skill set fits in so seamlessly with the teams’ offensive and defensive schemes is what I believe will help his transition. Unlike other iterations of “super teams”, this team’s stars compliment one another on the court. Kevin doesn’t over dribble and makes decisive offensive moves. Green is a natural distributer with the ability to hit the three or drive to the bucket. Klay does much of his damage off of catch and shoot threes and rarely spends time pounding the rock. Curry helps the spacing as the premier marksman of the NBA and is a playmaker. Each can shoot and defend multiple positions.
The pieces work together so fluidly and that is more impressive to me than the raw talent assembled. And the talent assembled is incredibly impressive. Still, Durant knows this is only the beginning. He isn’t banking on talent to carry them and knows there is work to be done so everyone can be on the same page. “We are still just figuring out the offense, the lineups, what guys do and their tendencies. It’s all new and it’s all going to take some time, we just have to be patient.”
Luckily for fans, these players fit so well together that it won’t take as much time as the super teams before them. Everyone expects this team to be great, and to win championships. The players expect it as well, and are putting in the necessary work to get there. This year could be something extra special for the Warriors and their fans.