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Where the Warriors Can Improve Reviewed by Momizat on . Sometimes you can watch basketball games and see that a specific lineup is completely out of sync. The five-man unit might struggle to adapt and complement each Sometimes you can watch basketball games and see that a specific lineup is completely out of sync. The five-man unit might struggle to adapt and complement each Rating:
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Where the Warriors Can Improve

Sometimes you can watch basketball games and see that a specific lineup is completely out of sync. The five-man unit might struggle to adapt and complement each other offensively and also fail to pick each other up defensively; which in turn makes it a mediocre lineup.

That is the case of the Golden State Warriors starters.

To be fair, it’s not that they are necessarily a bad combination, but their lack of reps together has been widely evident in the first two regular season games.

For instance, against the Phoenix Suns, the Warriors starters tried to run their offense but it often bogged down when they had to get to their second and third options as players were unsure of where to go with the ball. It resulted in low percentage shots against the shot clock and even on occasion some turnovers.

Against Memphis last night, it seems as though Mark Jackson tried to simplify things against an aggressive ball hawking Grizzlies defense by running perimeter players off of screens from either Lee or Bogut and then feeding the post immediately.

This can be a good strategy to use against Memphis provided that once the ball goes into the post, there is still movement from the perimeter players to create some uncertainty and also get the defense shifting. The Warriors failed to do so, and consequently the big men were often swarmed with nowhere to go with the ball. This either resulted in a turnover, a kick out to a player that was well defended or a low percentage shot.

The second unit on the other hand has had an opportunity to practice and play together during the preseason, which in turn has made them quite formidable in comparison to the starters. Keep in mind, the bench players aren’t better than the starters, they just have better chemistry for the time being given that Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut missed some time during the preseason.

Consider this nugget: although it’s an incredibly small sample, the Golden State Warriors have outscored their opponents in the second and fourth quarters of both games. Have a look at the minute distribution in both quarters against the Phoenix Suns:

Player

2nd Quarter mins.

4th Quarter mins.



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Stephen Curry

5:38

11:00

Jarrett Jack

9:08

10:08

Klay Thompson

5:10

8:51

David Lee

10:38

11:54

Carl Landry

3:47

11:52

Andrew Bogut

8:13

0:01

As we can see, Jarrett Jack — who happened to start for the Warriors when Curry was out during the preseason — played the bulk of his minutes in these two quarters while Bogut has essentially been grounded. Let’s do the same exercise for the game against Memphis from last night:

Player

2nd Quarter mins.

4th Quarter mins.

Stephen Curry

12:00

9:10

Jarrett Jack

12:00

7:35

Klay Thompson

9:12

6:44

David Lee

8:28

9:24

Carl Landry

7:30

7:37

Andrew Bogut

0:00

7:49

Once again, Bogut was benched for an entire quarter while Jack saw a lot of time in both the second and fourth quarter because of the continuity he gives the offense.

If we dig deeper, NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us that the Warriors’ starting unit has played 23 minutes together this season and if we project their time over 48 minutes (the length of an NBA game), they would boast minus-27.1 rating. In layman’s terms, they would get blown out.

The offense has often looked stagnant and quite frankly lifeless with the starters playing and this may very well be because Andrew Bogut is shaking off the rust. In 36 total minutes of court time, the team turns it over at far more frequent rate and shoots the ball far worse — 34.9 percent field goal shooting — than when he is on the bench per NBA.com.

When the Australian center hits the bench, the Dubs are a better passing team and they shoot 45.6 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from 3-point range and sport an impressive plus-12.1 scoring differential.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that perhaps Bogut is a complete nuisance to the team for the time being and that maybe the Warriors should keep him sidelined until he can play without a cap on his minutes and at full strength. Mind you, that could lead to him being out of shape by the time he is ready, and then this whole process would start all over again. Thus it may better for the team to take its lumps now.

But there is another side to this as well.

The Golden State Warriors have looked fantastic with Jarrett Jack in the lineup whether he is flanked alongside Curry or not. Indeed, as seen in the graphic for minutes above, he has played in stretches with the all-world sharpshooter, but that hasn’t changed his ability to push the pace, get into the lane for shot attempts or feeding teammates. The stats reflect this as well, and it’s not shocking at all.

NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us that if project Jack’s 39 minutes of bench time over 48 minutes, the Warriors are minus-20.8. But if we do the same for his 57 minutes on the court, Mark Jackson’s unit is a solid plus-7.6.

So far, Jack and Bogut have only played 10 minutes together and it’s impossible to tell for the time being whether the pairing is good or bad given that it’s a very small sample and they seem to break even.

But perhaps the answer to the team’s current struggles on the court comes in the form of an Andrew Bogut and Jarrett Jack tandem.

Can’t hurt to try right?

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at JM.Poulard@Warriorsworld.net.

About The Author

JM.Poulard

J.M. Poulard is the Warriors World editor. He is also a contributor to ESPN TrueHoop sites Forum Blue and Gold (Los Angeles Lakers), Piston Powered (Detroit Pistons) and Raptors Republic (Toronto Raptors). He has a particular fondness for watching Eastern Conference ball games and enjoys the history of the sport. Feel free to reach out to him on Twitter (@ShyneIV).

Number of Entries : 537
  • FeatherRiverDan

    and please dump Mark Jackson as he can’t make anyone better…..he’s just a rah rah guy…

  • FeatherRiverDan

    Jack runs the team so much better then Curry and they should resign him and trade curry to the bobcats for a first round pick and get a big point guard that can play defense and make everyone better which curry can’t…..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407002309 Nengah

      Your blog is the best NBA blog out there! No Joke man. I love reading your hirulioas commentary. I agree with you about pretty much everything. 07 Warriors all the way bro! Keep up the good work and don’t get discouraged. I would consider doing some advertising in for your blog in some bball magazines like SLAM or HOOPS if you can afford it. Readers of those magazines would really enjoy your blog!

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