- Ezra Shaw/Getty
The NBA preseason has only just begun, and the Golden State Warriors are already embarrassing their opponents.
The Warriors, of course, have added Kevin Durant after coming off an NBA-record 73-9 season featuring the league’s best offense by a mile.
On paper, it was easy to imagine the Warriors’ offense being unstoppable – how can a team cover a four-man attack featuring Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Durant? As we’ve seen with super teams, however, there’s always an adjustment period, and on-paper talent doesn’t always translate to on-court chemistry.
But so far it looks as if the Warriors are doing just fine. In blowing out the Los Angeles Clippers, 120-75, on Tuesday night, the Warriors offered a glimpse at what their offense will look like – and how stopping it may be hopeless.
Less than 90 seconds into the game, the Warriors got out on the run. Durant found Curry on the wing, seemingly open for a 3-pointer. When the Clippers launched two defenders to prevent the open 3-pointer (overreacting, as defenses are wont to do against Curry), Curry drove the lane and found Durant for an open 3-pointer.
After the game, Curry described the play, explaining why he passed up a shot he would normally take (via ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss):
“That shot may be one I take down the road depending on how you feel. But you see two guys running at you, pump fake, and get around them, the floodgates open with options. K.D. and Klay were open for a second on that weak side. Just try to read where that defender was and make the right play. That’s a part of who we’re going to be.”
This is the new reality for opposing defenses. Trying to monitor Curry, Thompson, and Green in the open floor was difficult enough (to say nothing of also-deadly transition players, former Warrior Harrison Barnes and current Warrior Andre Iguodala). Defenses this year must also track Durant. All four can bring the ball up the floor; all four can attack the basket, hit the transition three, and move the ball.
Look at Curry’s options as he blows past Blake Griffin and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute:
- Via NBA.com
When Curry dishes it off to Durant, J.J. Redick is already rotating to Thompson, anticipating the swing pass for the corner 3-pointer. A not-unwise decision, though he ceded the open shot to Durant. Had he ran to cover Durant, Durant would have just passed to Thompson or Green at the top of the key.
- Via NBA.com
This isn’t good transition defense from the Clippers, but the Warriors will face much worse defenses through the season.
Though the Warriors insist there’s still work to do and they’ll need to develop that chemistry, their raw talent, particularly in transition, is poised to wreak havoc on opponents.