While Andrew Bogut was healthy, the Warriors filled in their starting five with David Lee, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry. Although this team has offense written all over it, their defense was always been present and impressive. In the 2013-14 season, the Warriors held their opposition to less than a 100 points a game and forced the opposition to shoot 43.6% — good enough for third place in the league. With the bench improving with new additions of Shaun Livingston and Brandon Rush, their defensive mindset does not look to let up.
While trading for Kevin Love and Kevin Martin to replace David Lee and Klay Thompson would look rather attractive, its beauty would only be seen on the offensive side. The front office is aware their defense will suffer since Love and Martin aren’t the type of players to land on the NBA All-Defensive team anytime soon. The Warriors continue to be reluctant to include Thompson and according to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, defense has a lot to do with it:
Their recent refusal to include guard and Timberwolves target Klay Thompson in the deal is rooted in this reality, as losing Thompson would not only leave Curry overexposed defensively in the backcourt but is compounded by the fact that Love — much like incumbent power forward David Lee, who would head to Minnesota if this deal got done — isn’t exactly known as a two-way player.
The front office continues to mull its decision over the value of Love. It doesn’t help with Cavs continuing to make it tough on the Warriors, especially if they are willing to part with first pick overall Andrew Wiggins. At this point it surely seems like the Wolves still want Thompson as part of the deal, he’s already proven himself in the NBA, while Wiggins still has a lot of maturing and learning to do. Although Martin’s statistics look quite similar to Thompson’s, there’s no question that Thompson is much better on the defensive end.
Thompson has done a great job as a combo defender in the previous season guarding the opposition’s point and shooting guard. In the postseason series against the Clippers, Thompson’s task was to contain Chris Paul and did a decent job in a few games. The Warriors almost had the Clippers, but fell in seven games without Bogut’s defensive presence against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Warriors have great scoring ability, but their defense makes up their identity. Even with Mark Jackson’s departure, Coach Kerr won’t expect anything less defensively. The five time champion and first time head coach absolutely understands the cliché “Defense wins championships.”