Last week, I examined the Golden State Warriors Record rough 4-3 start to the season. I had asked, “What is wrong with the Warriors?” Well…over the past week, there has not been much wrong with them as they have turned in a 4-0 record (3-0 on the road) with wins over the Clippers, Spurs, Nuggets, and Heat.

In my examination:   What is wrong with the Golden State Warriors in 2017? by Chris Filios

I looked at a variety of offensive and defensive numbers.

During their 4-game win streak, the Warriors:

Offensive Field Goal %: 51% (177-350)
51%*

Defensive Field Goal %: 41.6% (143-343)
45.3%*

Turnovers per game: 13.3 TO/game
18.4*

Scoring Margin: +21 pts/game

*Numbers through first 7 games (4-3)

Season Totals:

Offense:

Through 11 games: First 7 games (4-3):
Offensive Rating: 117.0 (1st) 116.7 (1st)
Offense FG%: 51.2 % (1st) 51.7% (1st)
Offensive Effective FG%: 59.1% (1st) 59.6% (1st)
Turnover %: 15.1% (25th) 16.5 (29th)
Offensive Rebounding %: 24.3% (10th) 25.4% (7th)
FT/FGA: 20.4% (13th) 21.4% (13th)

Defense:

Defensive Rating: 108.5 (28th) 112.9 (28th)
Defensive FG%: 44.0% (9th) 45.3% (17th)
Defensive Effective FG%: 49.8 % (10th) 51.8% (23rd)
TOV%: 13.9% (17th) 12.6 (26th)
Defensive Rebound %: 74.7% (28th) 72.9 (29th)
FT/FGA: 20.2% (14th) 19.2% (11th)

The biggest issues that the Golden State Warriors Record had through the first 7 games were: 1. Turnovers, and 2. Defense. As you can see from the numbers above, these are the two areas that the Warriors made positive adjustments over their 4 game win streak.

1. Turnovers:

During the win streak, they turned the ball over 5.1 less times a game which leads to 6.0 more points per game. They also jumped 4 ranked spots for turnover % on the season as they dropped to 15.1% of possessions from 16.5%.

2. Defense:

This was the biggest turn around for the Warriors. During the streak, they held teams to just 41.6% from the field, 3.7% lower. On the season, their defensive rating dropped from 1.13 points per possession to 1.08, a difference of 0.05 points per possession (or 4.4 points per 100 possessions). Over the course of the 4-game win streak, the Warriors held their opponents to a measly 98.3 points per game, lowering their total to 108.5 PPP for the season.

The boost in defensive numbers is directly correlated to their effort on the defensive end. They didn’t make wholesale changes in scheme or lineups…it was just a matter of focus and buy-in from the players themselves. It also helped that being better in one of the significant areas of struggle would impact the other. By turning the ball over less, their opponents had fewer opportunities to score in transition. Thus forcing them to play more five v five half court basketball, where open shots are not became contested ones and where the Warriors could be more opportunistic in causing turnovers (opponents TO% jumped from 12.6%–>13.9%).

The most challenging thing for a defending championship team is to maintain the effort and focus required to attain that championship level rather than become satisfied with has already been achieved. It looks like the Golden State Warriors Record may have turned a corner and righted the ship after a rough start to the season. Now time will tell if they will sustain this type of effort throughout the rest of the season.

The GSW 2018 NBA Finals Playbook

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