Saturday, November 1, 2014

Golden States Offensive Limitation

The narrative coming into this season about the Warriors offense is that Mark Jackson sucked, and Steve Kerr will be better.  That is putting it bluntly, but sums up quite a few (optimistic) articles about GSW (One example: "Instead, a steady diet of isolations under Jackson . . . led to an unsettling number of stagnant and ineffective possessions").

What we may find to be closer to the truth is that Jackson was working with limited players and actually was getting the most out of them as a unit.  The most obvious flaw as a team is that their FT rate was awful last year- 29th in the league*. 

Free Throws are still, even with the explosion in three point shooting, the most efficient shots in the league.  An average FT shooter (last season 75.6%) at the line for 2 equates to a 3 pt shooter hitting a hair over 50% of his attempts, in other words one of the best 3 pt shooting seasons of all time.  Without including some of the ancillary benefits (getting opposing players in foul trouble, or getting into the bonus and grabbing more valuable shots later) FTs are clearly incredibly important shots for a team's efficiency. 

 Their lack of FTs is tied to their lack of dribble penetration.  Curry, for all his brilliance outside the arc, gets to and finishes at the rim at below average rates for a starting PG.  Klay Thompson has been awful at these skills, and Andre Igoudala has seen his USG and FTr decline almost every year for the last 5 seasons, almost setting career lows in both last year (his rookie USG "saving" him).  At 30+ he is unlikely to have a sudden
 resurgence after a long and steady decline.  

The simple fact seems to be that the Dubs do not have the shot creating necessary to power a top offense, and that as a practical matter the lack of versatility of the individual players is what has hampered this unit, not a lack of creative plays. 

*The Spurs were 30th indicating that this may not be a fatal flaw- but of note is that the Spurs best FT generators played substantially more mins in the playoffs, and that as a team in the regular season they were 7th in efficiency, which is good but not the dominant forced they seemed to be in the playoffs.  Also they are the freaking Spurs. 

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the reasons I think it was crazy for them not to trade for Kevin Love if indeed they had the opportunity. Both Thompson and Love are fantastic 3-point shooters, but Love also gets to the foul line at a ridiculous rate. I'm glad about how it worked out of course, but K-Love would have been a perfect fit there.