Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has a lot to prove this upcoming season.
Despite having no previous coaching experience, Kerr was hired after Warriors’ management decided to make the controversial move of firing Mark Jackson. Kerr has to prove that he can coach at the NBA level, that he can gain the trust and respect of the players, and that he can lead the Warriors on a deep postseason run
Recently, we started a series of articles called “Dubs by the Digits.” These articles give fans a quick statistical breakdown on members of the Golden State Warriors.
The first article of this series was about Warriors backup point guard, Shaun Livingston, the second article of this series was about Warriors shooting guard/small forward, Brandon Rush, the third article in this series was about Warriors small forward/power forward, Draymond Green.
The fourth article in this series was about Warriors shooting guard/small forward Andre Iguodala, the fifth article in this series was about Warriors center Andrew Bogut, and the most recent article in this series was about Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa.
The next Warriors player we’ll take a look at is Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr might make a fairly significant change to the starting lineup this upcoming season. Although Kerr said that Andre Iguodala will “probably start,” he said that there’s a possibility that another small forward such as Harrison Barnes or even Draymond Green could potentially start instead of Iguodala, according to Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.
Harrison Barnes was quite the conundrum for the Golden State Warriors last season. After an impressive display of talent and confidence in the 2013 NBA Playoffs, Barnes had a disappointing season in 2014. Barnes is just 22, but his sophomore slump has led to an influx of harsh critiques and trade rumors.
In his rookie season in 2012-2013, Barnes was the starting small forward for the Warriors. Entering his sophomore season in 2013-2014, Barnes’ starting spot was given to Andre Iguodala. For the first time since his freshman year of high school, Barnes had to come off the bench. This proved to be a significant adjustment for Barnes.
Read the full story at Golden Gate Sports.
This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
The Golden State Warriors’ first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers has been an emotional roller coaster, on and off the court. The Warriors have had to overcome a serious injury to their defensive anchor, Andrew Bogut, and the Clippers have had to overcome a horrible scandal involving their owner, Donald Sterling.
On the court, the series has been extremely competitive, physical, and entertaining. The Warriors won Game 1 and Game 4, and the Clippers won Game 2, 3, and 5.
Besides Game 4, the Warriors haven’t played great basketball during the series, so the fact that they’re down just 3-2, with their center out, is extremely impressive. The Warriors face a must-win situation in Game 6, so what do the Warriors have to do to force a Game 7?
There are a lot of things they need to improve on or fix from Game 5. First of all, Stephen Curry is going to have to show a little more of the Steph Curry from the 2013 playoffs in Game 6. Throughout this series, the Clippers have done a great job, except in Game 4, containing Curry, limiting his shot attempts, and forcing him into tough shots.
The Clippers have forced Curry to be a distributor, which sometimes works for the Warriors. However, Curry committed eight turnovers in Game 5 and only made five field goals. Curry has to become more of a scorer than a distributor and limit his turnovers in Game 6, if they want to get to Game 7.
This isn’t just on Curry though. The Warriors could do a better job getting Curry some better looks. Mark Jackson could continue to run the high pick-and-roll, but they have to run it higher up and not so close to the free throw line. This will drive DeAndre Jordan further away from the basket and could potentially create more opportunities for Curry to dribble to the three-point line for a shot or drive to the basket for a shot or a trip to the free throw line.
Also, if Curry is ever guarded by Darren Collison, like he was at times during Game 5, and not Chris Paul, he needs to exploit that matchup. He had success against Collison in Game 5, and those will be his best opportunities to score.
Second, the Warriors need to stay out of foul trouble, which is hard to do against a team that is known for their flopping and dramatic style of play. In Game 5, the Warriors clearly struggled when the Clippers went at the Blake Griffin-Draymond Green matchup early, because it led Green into foul trouble.
The Clippers shot 41 free throws in Game 5, which is a lot, but it’s even worse because the Warriors shot only 19 free throws and made just 13 of them. The Warriors need to knock down their free throws, especially when they’re given so few opportunities.
The Warriors are bound to be called for more fouls than the Clippers because of the Clippers’ flopping the Warriors’ use of the hack-a-Jordan strategy, but they need to find a way to stay out of foul trouble, especially Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Green.
Third, speaking of small ball, the Warriors need to continue to run the small ball lineup of Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Green, and David Lee. It’s their only chance to be successful against the hefty frontcourt of the Clippers.
With that being said, they need to utilize the strengths of their small ball lineup more. The Warriors need to push the ball more and get into fast breaks. This limits Jordan’s impact on the defensive end and gives the Warriors some easier scoring opportunities.
This cannot be the case in Game 6. The Warriors need to get into transition, and they need to limit the Clippers’ fast break opportunities, especially early on in the game when the Clippers are establishing their rhythm.
Fourth, the Warriors’ bench needs to step up. Steve Blake and Jordan Crawford have done close to nothing in this playoff series, and they’re seeing less playing time because of it. Harrison Barnes was great in Game 4, and they will need him to be efficient and effective if they want to advance to Game 7. Barnes should post up less and look for easier scoring opportunities in transition and on open threes.
In Game 4, the Warriors got 29 points from their bench, and in Game 5 they got just 19. The Clippers have a deeper bench and more players who can create their own shots, so they will most likely win the bench battle on a game-to-game basis. However, the Warriors’ bench still needs to step up, in limited minutes, in Game 6.
In Game 6, the Warriors need to contain Paul and Griffin, even if that means giving Hilton Armstrong or Ognjen Kuzmic a chance to guard Griffin. They also need to play lockdown defense as a team and focus on that end of the court. If they focus on defense, it can lead to more fast break opportunities, which will take pressure off their offense.
On offense, they need to run their small lineup effectively, run high pick-and-rolls, get Curry more shots, and drive to the basket and stay aggressive if their threes aren’t falling.
Hopefully in Game 6 the Warriors and Clippers can move past all the off-the-court distractions. The Warriors need to play Game 6 as if it’s their last game of the season, because it easily could be. If the Warriors can go back to playing their brand of basketball, they will win Game 6.
This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
It’s official. The Golden State Warriors, the sixth seed in the Western Conference, and the Los Angeles Clippers, the third seed, will face each other in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
To start out the preview of this matchup, let’s just say that the Warriors and the Clippers do not like each other, on and off the court. It seems like almost every time they play each other, there’s some type of scuffle and usually several technical fouls given out.
In addition, much of this tension has carried over to their relationships off the court. Most teams attend chapel with their opponent before each game, but the Warriors and Clippers refuse to attend chapel together.
Although their dislike for each other started just a couple seasons ago, there is certainly a rivalry between these two teams. This is why this first round matchup will be so entertaining.
It’s almost like it was meant to be. Both these teams have risen from pretenders to contenders in the past few seasons, and they both believe that they’re better than the other team. They also both play exciting brands of basketball, and whenever they play each other, the games are incredibly competitive, physical, and entertaining.
The Warriors and the Clippers faced each other four times during the regular season. Their first two contests were fairly close, and the next two contests were blowouts. They split the games 2-2.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that could decide which team wins this playoff series.
One of the key factors to this series is that the Warriors will be without Andrew Bogut, who is out indefinitely with a fractured rib. The Warriors will struggle without Bogut for several reasons.
First of all, Bogut is the Warriors’ defensive anchor and rim protector. He doesn’t just block shots, he changes shots, changes how offenses attack the rim, and he defends the weak side extremely well. He also sets great screens on offense. These simple explanations don’t fully explain how important he is to the Warriors, offensively and defensively, as a whole.
Second, without Bogut, the Warriors will have trouble containing the Clippers’ size. Blake Griffin is a beast and is having an MVP-type of year. DeAndre Jordan isn’t a huge offensive threat, but his athleticism can really hurt the Warriors’ frontcourt.
It will be difficult for the Warriors to win the frontcourt matchup with the Clippers, but they could win the backcourt matchup.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson make up one of the best backcourts in the NBA. The Clippers will most likely send multiple defenders at Curry to try to force him into turnovers and bad shots.
Chris Paul defends Curry well and forces him to turn the ball over a lot, so this could be a tough matchup for Curry. They have played against each other so much during the NBA season and they work out together in the offseason, but these two often bring out the best in each other.
Curry has been playing at a whole other superstar level recently though, and it seems like no one will be able to stop him.
In terms of defense, the Warriors’ perimeter defense is one of their strengths. Andre Iguodala, Thompson, and even Curry at times, to a lesser extent though, are all great defenders and can lock down or contain whoever they’re guarding.
The Warriors could have difficulty with defense in the frontcourt though. Even if they decide to start Draymond Green at power forward, to guard Griffin, or Jermaine O’Neal at center, to guard Jordan, they will still face some trouble defensively, given the Clippers’ size and athleticism.
In order to limit the Clippers’ frontcourt offensively, the Warriors might want to employ the hack-a-Jordan philosophy. Jordan is shooting 42.8 percent on free throws, and the Clippers, as a team, shoot 73 percent on free throws, which is 26th in the NBA.
Griffin has improved as a free throw shooter, but in the right situation, the Warriors might want to foul him too. They need to be careful though, because Griffin does a lot of “flopping,” and the Warriors, especially Green, can’t afford to get into foul trouble.
The Warriors also need to be active on the boards. The Clippers give up 43.7 rebounds per game, which is 25th in the NBA, so the Warriors need to take advantage of that.
On offense though, the Warriors could benefit greatly from going small and playing Green at power forward and Lee at center. Warriors fans are well aware of Lee’s defensive deficiencies, but offensively, he could succeed in a smaller lineup.
As a center, Lee thrives because he’s able to utilize his quickness against slower, bigger centers. Also, as a center, he doesn’t have to fight for space in the paint, which he often has to do with whoever is playing center for the Warriors.
Lee needs space to work in the paint and in post-ups in order to be effective. This is why he plays so well alongside Curry and Thompson. The Splash Brothers space the floor, and the Lee is able to work inside the paint and around the rim.
The Warriors will certainly face some tough matchups in the starting lineup, but the Clippers might also have an edge in terms of their bench and coaching. The Clippers have Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison, Danny Granger, Matt Barnes, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, and others all coming off the bench. That is an extremely deep bench with lots of different players who could hurt the Warriors.
The Warriors have had a fairly inconsistent bench this season. Steve Blake, Jordan Crawford, Harrison Barnes, and Marreesse Speights will be called upon for significant contributions off the bench, and they will have to step up big if the Warriors want to pull off the upset.
In terms of coaching, the Clippers might win the coaching category too. Although Mark Jackson led the Warriors to the Western Conference semifinals, Doc Rivers has won a championship. He has more experience, and he’s a defensive mastermind.
Jackson knows how to motivate his team and could out-coach Rivers in that sense, but it’s yet another challenge the Warriors will have to face.
With all this being said, the Warriors have more heart than possibly any team in the NBA. They will not give up, they will give their best, and they will put up a fight. They won’t go down easy, so don’t expect this series to be over quickly.
Prediction: Clippers win in 7