When fans think of the Golden State Warriors, they think of high-scoring shootouts and contests in which defense doesn’t seem to fit into the equation, but this year, the Warriors have sought out to change their defensive identity.
If it’s Thursday night and Golden State is playing, one might decide to turn the television on for some NBA action on TNT. Fans may be seeking out a game with little to no defense, however, the Warriors aren’t in to that anymore. In the 2013-2014 season, they have gotten plenty more defensive stops than many people expected, putting the Warriors are in the top 10 in a good amount of defensive categories in the NBA.
Although Golden State puts up 102.9 points per game, they are holding their opponents to 98.6 points per game, which is the 8th best in the league. Another key component to their improved defense is Golden State’s ability to force their opponents to shoot a low field goal percentage. By forcing teams to shoot an average of 43.4 percent from the field, The Warriors trail only the Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder in opponent field goal percentage.
Four players on the roster have proven to be huge factors in the Warriors’ quest for defensive prowess this season. Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala are locked in on defense this year and their numbers are proof of it.
Thompson and Curry are not usually praised for their defense because they are such a great pair of offensive maestros. Nonetheless, they have really stepped it up when trying to prevent teams from putting points on the board. Curry is 9th in steals per game in the NBA with 1.79 pilfers per contest. Thompson is not among the leaders in steals but he is regarded as one of the toughest on-ball defenders in the league. These two guys show that they are willing to give maximum effort on both ends of the floor.
Ever since his days back at Arizona, Iguodala has always been known as a player who takes pride in his defense. The 9-year veteran is not actually lighting up the scoring column but he makes up for that by putting the clamps on whoever he is matched up with on the court. Iguodala is averaging a solid 1.7 steals and acts as a valuable defensive stopper for Golden State.
Last but certainly not least, is the man from down under. The multi-talented Aussie- none other than Mr. Bogut! This 7-foot giant is battling down in the paint every single night for the Warriors. His numbers do the talking: Bogut is 8th in rebounding in the NBA with 10.7 boards per game. He is 7th in rejections with 1.92 blocks as well. Bogut has sort of a nasty attitude when playing defense and his energy gives his team an extra boost.
The Warriors can score the ball but the most surprising thing that has been added to this team is a sense of defensive unity. Their defense helps their offense flow easier. By creating turnovers and progressive defensive communication, the Warriors are making themselves an even bigger threat to teams in the NBA.
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