Frustration is running deep with Warrior fans as dreams of a deep playoff run have been tempered by some less than stellar play at the Oracle.
When the Warriors returned from their nasty seven-city road trip, where they went 6-1, everything was going in their favor. The club was surging, and their Pacific Division rival Los Angeles Clippers were expected to suffer some slippage after losing Chris Paul to a shoulder injury. But, the Oracle has been anything but home-sweet-home. With losses at home to Denver, Minnesota, Denver, and Charlotte, fans are wondering what’s happened to this team.
As Paul went down, the Clippers seemed to find themselves. At one point winning 9-of-12 and playing very good basketball. The Warriors should have taken a cue.
First, it’s pretty obvious Golden State didn’t handle their good fortune well. The proverbial foot-off-the-pedal analogy works here. Just because you return home doesn’t mean the fight needs to stop. Clearly Mark Jackson was not happy with his team’s sub-par defensive play. It has become routine for Jackson to lament his team’s apathetic and uninspired defensive efforts. It’s getting old. The Warriors have looked lost at home. Teams have come to Oakland and have pushed the Warriors around. It hasn’t just been the Association’s rough and tumble clubs, even the run-and-gun teams have come to Oracle and rattled the Dubs cage. Key players have also disappeared at the oddest of times.
While the losses mount, the Warriors troubles lie in their vast largesse of riches. Their starting five is the greatest strength and sometimes the biggest weakness of this team. As great as Klay Thompson is, (18.3 ppg; 3 reb) he has penchant for disappearing on the offensive end. His reluctance to attack the rim allows to defenders to body and ride him making it tough to get shots off against teams that make him their focus. Andre Iguodala is an absolute stud, but I don’t believe he is utilized well in the Warrior offense. He averages a mere 9.6 points-per-game. Sometimes the Splash Brothers forget about the weapon that Iggy is. A more balanced attack that utilizes Iguodala more would open things up for Steph Curry and Thompson. There seems to be a reluctance to move in this direction.
Many of the Warriors woes can be squarely put at the feet of the Warrior bench. The lack of depth was a concern at the beginning of the season and is still worrisome, even with the addition of Jordan Crawford. Draymond Green has been magnificent and has not only found his niche on this team but he will have a long and successful career as a garbage pail type of player. Harrison Barnes has super stardom written all over him, but his inconsistency has been costly. Fans will simply have to deal with his sophomore struggles. Patience will serve Warrior fans well when it comes to Barnes, eventually it will pay off.
As we venture toward the All-Star Break the Warriors need to decide who they are. Are they an electrifying offensive group that is content to try to win playing Nellie-ball, or is this the group Head Coach Mark Jackson thinks he has, a defensive minded strong-willed group that will flip the switch as they approach the quarter pole.
Whatever they are, we are waiting for them to decide.