Everyone knows the storyline, the Warriors added one of the NBA’s best in Kevin Durant this off season to create, arguably, the best team in NBA history. Many things have been said about Kevin Durant in the offseason; ring chaser, villain, traitor. KD has transformed from a once beloved NBA star to the new villian, taking the rest of the Warriors with him, in the span of a few months. But the offseason is nearly over as preseason basketball is back with a strong display from the NBA bad boys, the Golden State Warriors
The Warriors opened up the preseason with a 120-75 romping of fellow Western Conference squad the LA Clippers. Even for a preseason game the Warriors looked scary. Now, I know, that many people believe that the preseason means nothing and no one actually tries, however the Warriors showed just why they’re going to be nearly impossible to guard. The Warriors went from 2 elite three point shooters to 3 elite three point shooters. People said they would struggle to pass but they assisted on 29 of their 37 field goals. Their ability to shoot at 4/5 positions on the court makes the defense always on edge because they can’t decide who to guard. This itself opens up lanes to drive and with the threat of kicking to an open shooter, easy lay ups are created. Opening up these attacks to the basket allows the Warriors to get to the line and shoot free throws which they shot at a 76% clip last season before adding KD, 88% for his career. The Warriors also run a lot of offensive sets featuring off ball screens to free up their shooters, on multiple occasions these worked against the Clippers.
Defensively, the Warriors lack size since they gave up Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, and Mo Speights in the off season. This makes them susceptible to the skills of a strong big man inside the paint. However the Warriors showed they have the ability to keep up inside with one of the best bigs in the league, DeAndre Jordan. The Warriors may lack a solid group of bigs, but they do have Kevin Durant who is listed at 6’9″ with a monstrous 7’5″ wingspan, Draymond Green who’s always been gritty enough to hold his own inside, Zaza Pachulia, and David West off the bench. The Warriors played an aggressive help defense on inside looks and showed that with 4 quick guard type players running the 1-4 positions they can help and keep up on kick outs.
It’s still the preseason so everyone can go ahead and calm down until the real stuff gets going. But, as of right now, the Warriors appear to be ready to make a run at beating their 73-9 NBA best ever record and returning to the NBA Finals.