Yes, I am a 20 year old bio major that is taking the “click” bait like I’m the Dan Quinn of basketball (ignore what the Falcons have done these past few weeks). I am not saying that this is how you beat the Warriors; you still have to get past their defense, which is sixth in the league in shooting percentage, and fourth in rebounding difference. However, slowing down their offense will at least give you a chance. Luckily, solving this Curry mystery only requires these three excruciating steps.
- Randomly employ the “havoc” defense
- Let whoever is guarding curry get fed to the wolves
- Force your big men to drift far from the comfort of the paint
Using a college defensive scheme? Leaving your point guard out to get slaughtered? Getting bigs out of the paint? I know this all sounds stupid, but stay patient, this will all make sense. Now, hold on to your beer and let me explain!
The overarching theme of this defensive plan is to press on the fact that their second best strength is also their greatest weakness. The only thing that the Warriors like to do more than shoot threes is to pass the ball to their three point shooters. Unfortunately for them, this leads to a lot of turnovers. Some are forced and some are unforced. Want proof? The Warriors lead the league in assists but have the seventh most turnovers. Even with these high turnover numbers, they still would rather pass because 69% of their field goals come from assists. In short, the whole plan is to defend the thing that leads to the shot instead of the shot itself.
- Randomly Employ the “havoc” defense: The havoc defense is a type of full-court press championed by Shaka Smart when he was the coach of VCU Rams. The crux of this press is to cause two-man traps in such a way that the remaining three defenders essentially become free safeties and create a zone defense against the pass. Now Kerr and Curry are smart enough that they could probably come up with a counter to the traps so teams must be random in when they implement it. Also, it should never be used when Stephen Curry, Kaly Thompson, and Draymon Greene are on the floor at the same time. Even though the defense is designed to be effective in space, the athleticism of Greene and Thompson, the shooting of the Splash Brothers, and the passing ability of Greene and Curry could be too much to handle. However, whenever Livingston, Barbosa, or Rush are in the lineup, they’ll lack either the shooting or passing ability to counter the Havoc (bonus points if Speights or Bogut is playing at the 5). Remember, the Warriors are not afraid of transition ball and frantic pace (a full court press can stimulate that); they are seventh in the NBA in points off turnovers. Teams have to remain smart to make sure that the havoc they create doesn’t cause the chaos the Warriors desire.
- Let whoever is guarding Curry get fed to the wolves: Yes, that means no more double teaming Curry, no more help defense, no more cheating to Curry, and definitely no more ball watching. As if Curry doesn’t do it already, those defending him will just have to be left bleeding and naked on the streets. Curry averages almost 4 turnovers per game and has a lower assist/turnover ratio than any of the starting PGs in the next five best teams by record in the NBA. A true commitment to stopping the pass would probably mean that Curry’s point totals would go up. But it would also mean that his turnovers would rise because let’s face it, Curry can be a bit careless at times, especially when he passes. Also, this would affect the warriors like Irving’s injury affected the Cavs in the Finals. However, instead of a lack of talent keeping the role players from finding a way to contribute, it would be more like a hard working defense keeping the role players out of rhythm.
- Force your big men to drift far from the comfort of the paint: For all intents and purposes, Green is Golden State’s largest perimeter player. Every big knows that they have to travel wherever he goes. The issue is in off the ball screens when Bogut and Speights (and to a lesser extent, Green, but bigs really stay at home on the other two) are setting the pick. Bigs need to contain on those picks just like they would on a high ball screen. But they have to be very quick to rotate back to their man after their fellow defender catches up to the cutter. The Warriors will also do this a fair amount on the ball. As a matter of fact, these plays are the only cases where you break rule 2. Bigs need to “flash” containment on Curry or Thompson because they’re too good at shooting not to. Even on those clunky looking double screens the third defender needs to flash in order to help his fellow guards. Remember, this is all for stopping the pass. If curry shoots anyways, you just got to live with it.
Now all of this would require a ton of additional energy and effort from opponents. But that’s the point. This is a 23-0 team; it will take a ton of hard work to beat them. This is why I’m curious what will happen when they finally play the Spurs. A guy like Kawhi Leonard could probably keep up with Thompson or Curry one on one. Also, a team like San Antonio who relies of the pass for 64% of their field goals might also understand the importance of stopping the pass themselves.
tl;dr Find a cure for teamwork to give yourself a fighting chance.
By Thomas Potts