Will defensive weakness cost Warriors title?
After taking part in the wrong sort of history in the NBA Finals, being defeated by Cleveland Cavaliers after being 3-1 up, Golden State Warriors went out into the free agency market and added Kevin Durant.
This move shook the league and sees the dream team firm favorites to lift the Larry O'Brien trophy.
Dubs beat the regular season win record last term, collecting 73 wins from 82 outings. However, the expected steam rolling of the league hasn’t had the best of starts, having already lost twice.
An aspect of their game that has been severely lacking is defense. Sitting in the lower echelon of the defensive efficiency standings, the Oakland outfit have struggled with Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Durant all focusing on the offensive end of the court.
Steve Kerr’s side may stand tall on top of the offensive efficiency ratings, scoring 113.8 points per 100 possessions, but defense is what wins championships and may cost them when they come up against the likes of San Antonio Spurs, LA Clippers and potentially Cleveland in the Finals.
Amid this, Draymond Green has targeted winning Defensive Player of the Year after finishing runner up on several occasions. Betting Sports details how the player is focused on winning the prestigious prize while admitting the side are still getting used to a revamped roster.
Golden State’s defensive weaknesses were vividly exploited by San Antonio Spurs on opening night, losing by a huge 29 points at home.
Oklahoma City Thunder came close to defeating the Dubs in the Western Conference Finals last season by adopting a tough, physical strategy. In the Finals against Cleveland, this system was continued and eventually resulted in a historic collapse.
But far from strengthening the side’s steel, the bench was gutted and now depth is an issue for the Californian club and, with salary cap issues about to hit in 2017, the Warriors could be in danger of not only losing games, but assets too.
The offensive riches the franchise possesses are perhaps unrivalled in the history of the NBA. Time will tell if it will be enough to fire Kerr’s men to a second title in three years, but defense will remain an issue.