The Warriors entertained their fans by having their players freelance on offense for a long time, but it did not result to playoff appearances with that style most of the time.
The organization knew they were not good enough to be a good team, so they resorted to that gimmick.
That practice ended under new ownership and new management. The Warriors hired second-year head coach that preaches defense in Mark Jackson, and they are doing the best they can to get defensive-oriented players.
It was something the Warriors had to do if they want to be a great team in the Western Conference. There was no way around it.
The Warriors are still a work in progress when it comes to their defense. Their defense played a role in the team’s 102-93 victory over the Brooklyn Nets last night at Oracle Arena. They grabbed 43 rebounds with 31 defensive rebounds to show for it.
Their defense is why the Warriors came back from a 31- 18 deficit in the first quarter. They forced the Nets to take bad shots, and they were quick to grab rebounds that set them to score in transition. It was good enough for them to cut the deficit to 46-41 at halftime.
From there, the Warriors were able to take control on offense and they wore the Nets down by playing physical.
This is the type of effort Jackson wants to see from his team on a consistent basis.
It hasn’t been easy for this team. They still have young players who are learning to play basketball in the NBA, and they are trying to know how to play defense. They are making strides, but it’s not enough. They can’t approach defense as an option.
The Warriors will make progress on defense when they sustain this every game. That means doing this against elite teams along with doing it on the road. That will determine if the team takes the next step.
There are no expectations on the Warriors this year. They are not good enough to make the playoffs. That said, they must establish a defensive identity for this team to improve next year.
Jackson is going to have a full season to work with the players. As a result of the lockout, he never had training camp to do that last year. This year should give a good idea whether or not the coaching pays off for the players.
For Jackson to coach next year, the team has to show they have come a long way from the days of not playing defense.
It will take three months to see if they are good enough to play defense on a consistent basis. That should give a good idea if they can do this the entire year. It remains to be seen if they are up to the task.
Playing defense has to be a habit for the players. Jackson can preach all he wants, but he can’t do it for them when the game starts. It’s up to the players to execute.
The players need to know how to box out, grab for loose balls and blocking shots. It takes skill and will for players to do it. It is something that can’t be taught. It’s up to the players to know what to do.
The Warriors found a player to do those things by acquiring Andrew Bogut for Monta Ellis during the season last year. The problem is Bogut is always hurt. Still, no one can fault the team’s intentions. They showed the rest of their players that the days of being an offensive team are over.
Now, the players talk about defense. It’s ingrained in their mind. They have made plays on defense to win games. They get it.
It’s about consistency for this young team. There is potential for them to be a good defensive team. It is not going to happen overnight.
It took a long time for the Mavericks to figure it out how to play defense after years of winning games on offense with nothing to show for it come playoff-time.
Give the Warriors credit for addressing what they have to do to win games. Times will tell if they figured it out on defense.
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