Friday, December 30, 2011

Warriors Winning with Defense

Boy, it sure is great to be talking basketball again isn't it? It's been almost a year since the Warriors played a relevant game, sure they played through April, but were out of it way earlier than that. This season, things look much different, and it's because of the defense.

After watching the Warriors hold the powerful offensive New York Knicks to just 78 points at Oracle Wednesday night, I've begun to get a feeling that we're going to see a much different Warriors team this season than we've seen in years past. So far, this team doesn't like to run quite as much as the Warrior teams before them did, they'll still run on you if the time is right, but they're not forcing it. That's where the difference is I think with this club, they realize they have some many different skilled players, from Dorrell Wright to Monta and Brandon Rush and everyone in-between. They have confidence in each other's abilities and they look like they've been playing with each other for years, much like that '06/'07 squad did, that this team is drawing so many comparisons to. So far, leading the defensive charge, has been the front-court play of newly signed center Kwame Brown, who's produced 17 boards, 9 points and 4 steals in 39 minutes of play through 3 games. Both he and Biedrins are defending the middle well and shut down Amare Stoudemire. Epke Udoh and Dominic McGuire also deserve some notoriety for the work they've done off the bench. Although it may not show on a stat sheet, Udoh and McGuire have been key defenders on other team's star big-men thus far.

The other quick point I wanted to make about this post, was just about the Brandon Rush/Lou Amundson deal. All I've been saying watching Rush this last week is WOW! I can't think of a more under-the-radar steal of an NBA trade in recent history. Rush is a star 6th man who, granted it's been 3 games, looks like he's going to make a case for 6th man of the year award, no doubt. I almost just did a whole post on this guy's worth so far, that's how much he's meant to them in their 2 victories, but that got me thinking about the defense and the rest of the bench. With Stephen Curry' bum ankle in question, they have a guy in Rush who's more than capable of stepping in and picking up minutes and points while playing excellent D at the 2-guard, while Monta runs the point. I thought Monta did a more than admirable job doing so against New York. It hasn't only been Rush though, while he's been the star, averaging 12 points/4 rebounds and 3.3 blocks/steals per game (like tha new stat I just made up there?) making contributions on both ends, it's been the guys mentioned above as well as new point guard Ishmael Smith. That kid looks like a high-energy spark plug coming off the bench and flying all over the floor. The Warriors have a strong bench this year, like really strong, something that hasn't been stressed as much in years past, and as long as Steph's ankle holds up, this team's in outstanding shape for the shortened 66-game schedule with this depth!

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