Inside the Scope: Golden State Warriors x San Antonio Spurs
- Tip Off: 5:30 PM PST
- Television: CSNBayHD
San Antonio Spurs Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 100.8 (12th in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 95.8 (6th in NBA)
Scope the Opposition: 48 Minutes of Hell.
Preview: The Golden State Warriors (4-1) will be in Texas tonight as they continue their four-game road trip. Their third stop is against the San Antonio Spurs (4-1). This will be the first time the Dubs play against the Spurs since being eliminated by Gregg Popovich’s group in the 2013 playoffs.
The Spurs have the same core, but they did add Marco Bellinelli in the offseason. The fake Sly Stallone is a good shooter that rarely if ever gets rattled. He is a good fit in San Antonio because he will spend the entirety of 2013-14 getting open looks.
Indeed, there might not be a more fun team to watch in terms of creating high-percentage looks. The Spurs are always in movement and that keeps defenses honest.
Even a typical post-up play for either Tim Duncan or Boris Diaw comes with a series of actions on the other side of the floor. It makes double teams difficult and also, the off-ball movement prevents teams from simply shading guys towards the man with the ball.
This explains why San Antonio can use Tony Parker almost like a college point guard. NBA schemes rarely rely on their point guards to give up the ball and then get it back in scoring position within the flow of the offense.
Traditionally, the floor general either always has the ball in his hands or if he lacks the talent to do so, he gets the team into its plays and then gets out of the way. Parker is the rare exception at the professional level of a point guard that plays both on and off the ball.
He will run pick-and-rolls or straight isolations and break down defenders off he bounce for scores at the rim. His floater is perhaps the best in the business and his mid-range jumper is as lethal as they come.
Thus, using him off the ball is also in the best interest of the Spurs. Popovich will have him run pin downs, curl screens and the like, plays that are usually utilized for shooting guards. Because Parker is such a good passer, he can dissect defenses on the catch after his man runs into an off-ball screen. Indeed, some teams like to trap Parker in these situations and he is quick to find the open option and feed it.
In the event his man is caught trailing him or simply properly screened, the Frenchman gets an open look that he converts more often than not. Keep in mind, San Antonio does not simply run plays.
Instead they rely on consistent movement and triggers that get players behaving in concert with one another. Hence, slowing down Parker is not a one-man operation. It takes incredible discipline and a five-man unit in tune with the defensive game plan to limit him, and even that might not be sufficient.
The Spurs are built to conquer the best defenses in the league. The court is usually balanced with shooters, ball-handlers and good passers at all times. This cannot be stressed enough, this happens over the course of 48 minutes.
In addition, they feature a great post-up option in Tim Duncan that further exacerbates issues for opponents. Golden State will face their toughest defensive challenge of the young season and that’s a good thing.
The Dubs need a little adversity and San Antonio is the team to give it to them. The Warriors offense has been lights out to start the season but that will not always be the case. A top-shelf defense helps protect against bad shooting nights.
San Antonio will test Golden State’s defensive chemistry as well as its rotations. The Warriors’ path to postseason success starts in the regular season, and there is no better way to prepare than facing off against the team that ended their playoff run in last spring.
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