Warriors are a “Jump Shooting” Team, and That’s Awesome
The Warriors aren’t the best at getting to the rim, or drawing fouls. Yet, this is a good offense. Above all, it’s a fun offense. While I would prefer that GSW drew more fouls for practical purposes, it would probably make the experience less enjoyable to behold. Pragmatism aside, there’s a certain aesthetic joy to good off-ball movement and on-point shooting.
Charles Barkley expressed concerns that Golden State’s “a jump shooting team,” and he’s right. Stephen Curry isn’t going to knife towards the hoop on iso after iso when the going gets tough. But I believe we should differentiate between kinds of jump shooting, though.
There’s the Rudy Gay kind, where teams vomit up long shots out of isolations–as opposed to driving and drawing fouls. And then there’s the Spurs-imitating GSW kind. Not only do the Warriors have two of the best three-point shooters in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but they boast the ability to pressure defenses with Curry and Thompson off the ball, simultaneously.
In my conversations with Beckley Mason on the topic, he’s called this what an offense might look like with “two Ray Allens.” Especially when Jarrett Jack’s in the game, Curry and Thompson crisscross the court in an attempt to fracture defenses. For instance:
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both receive screens from respective bigs David Lee and Carl Landry. Then Curry loops around and gets a screen from Landry, roughly when Klay gets a screen from Lee. David Lee takes advantage of the confusion, slipping the screen and rolling for a layup.
Unimportant note: I enjoy when the Warriors do this because it traces a bowtie pattern in the air. More important note: The Warriors ran a similar action to spring Draymond Green against the Heat.
Are the Warriors a jump shooting team? Yes. But what other choice do they have? The roster begs for this strategy, and Golden State has the near-unique threat of Curry and Klay simultaneously pulling a Ray Allen in opposite directions.
GSW’s the most accurate three-point shooting team in the league, in part because Curry and Klay are so good at shooting the long ball, and in part because David Lee can find them with exterior passes.
If I were to have labeled one hole in Lee’s passing game, it would have been a reluctance to dish out to corner 3’s. Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson would often come free in the corner as David Lee drove to the bucket. Lee’s preference would be for the layup try, not the pass. That’s changing, though.
On this play, David Lee gets Michael Beasley to bite (no surprise there) on a pass fake. As Lee dribbles, Jared Dudley sags off his man (Klay Thompson) to cut off the drive. It’s then that Lee makes a slick, flicked pass to the corner. It sets up a Thompson pass for a Curry trey. Lee’s offering the corner dish with increasing frequency, and it’s helping the Warriors.
Here’s Lee explaining how he’s been hitting this pass more often (with an assist from my oh-so-leading question at the 25 second mark):
Between David Lee and the newly returned Andrew Bogut, the Warriors have a lot of exterior passing talent down low. In Lee’s case, he’s especially adept at passing to guards while dribble-driving.
There’s a boring, haphazard way to be a jump shooting team, and a way that actually optimizes your team’s talent. I’m happy to say that the Warriors are in the latter category for once.