Warriors Playbook

  • I know our talent can’t match the Golden State Warriors. That still doesn’t mean their offense shouldn’t be admired and mimicked on the D1 level. There is a lot of great clips out there to study showing good NBA offense. Kansas easily has one of the best perimeter shooting teams in college today, so it seems logical that they would study the offensive sets of one of the best perimeter shooting teams in the NBA.

    People often state that players and teams DON’T PLAY DEFENSE in the NBA. The truth is that offense is run to such a high proficiency (and with the most talented offensive players in the world) so defense just can’t keep up with high octane offense. Plays are often custom-designed specifically for certain players and to take advantage of their best opportunities, which may just be a spot on the floor where a player can’t miss.

    What I take most out of watching videos (like the one below) is that a big reason why these offensive sets work is because of the perimeter shooting skills of the players, but also, the fact that they have such a great reputation for perimeter shooting so defenses must spread the floor to cover the perimeter. This opens up huge lanes to drive, pass and shoot.

    The stat book is building our reputation this year. Our perimeter shooting % is off the charts. That should be good not only for us because we make a lot of points off of 3s, but it should help build our reputation as a threat from the perimeter, and help push opponents’ defenses out on the perimeter, opening up the entire floor perfect for attacking.

    In the clip below, Steph Curry shows how dangerous of a scoring threat he is. Players like BG should be studying how he plays, how his biggest weapon may not be his shot, but his footwork! Imagine if we had a guard that could shoot like Steph and by creating his own shot and scoring space? One defender isn’t enough to stop Curry. And with the double-team comes opportunities for the other GS players.

    Notice right off the bat the mention of GS having the fastest pace in the league. That should describe us in D1. We have the horses to run with anyone in college and run 99% of the college teams right out of the gym. This is where Cheick’s development becomes vital. He is very capable of being a great rebounder and also to push the ball up the floor, either by dribble or by quick outlet passing.

    We may not be able to run true GS high-octane offense to its full degree… but look at how they score on fast breaks. Their preference isn’t to finish at the rim. It is to nail the open 3. Why? Because the math works out to be a better play in the long run as their % from trey isn’t far off from their finish at the rim % so the extra point means everything! This is a great way to get our real mileage out of BG. He is strictly a spot up shooter, and setting up his trey on either a primary or secondary break should earn him enough open treys in a game to put him in double-digit scoring easily in every game, even if he is only playing 10-15 minutes a game. When BG is in the game, we need to push PACE!

  • @drgnslayr

    Tons of good stuff here.

    The first thing you notice about the GS offense is that the guys that can shoot are always spacing the floor for each other.

    In almost every clip, you see Thompson and either Barnes or Iguodala in the corner, dragging their man away from the action at the top of the key. If you help off either corner, you are immediately hurt with either an open three or a drive off the pump fake.

    Golden State creates what is known as gravity. Their shooters keep defenders close because you can’t give any of them open looks. Selden, Greene and Svi can do the same for KU.

    The other thing that really stands out is that there is rarely a post man in Golden State’s offense. The lane stays open, even when Bogut is on the floor. Golden State wants the lane free so that when a guy rolls on a screen, there is no defender waiting in the lane. There’s some nifty action around the 3:30 mark in the video where Bogut, Livingston and Green are all up high working a screen weave set. Curry and Thompson (the only two classic “shooters” on the floor) are spaced to the corners, meaning every defender is at least 15 feet away from the basket. Bogut sets a down screen for Curry and the entire defense breaks down. Everybody runs to guard the most dangerous man on a basketball floor right now (Steph Curry running to the three point line) and nobody goes with Bogut as he slips the screen. The threat of the three gives Golden State an easy lob for a layup.

    In fact, as you watch the video, you see Golden State score inside fairly often, but instead of scoring on post ups, they score on lobs, back door cuts, straight line drives, and fast breaks.

    The crazy thing is that KU already runs some of the same stuff that Golden State runs. Golden State runs a high weave (seen from about 4:45 to 5:15). KU runs that same action. The only modification is that Golden State runs it on an arc, while KU runs it flat.

    Golden State runs the high pick and roll between the circles (a basketball staple. The difference is that they raise their other post man to clear the lane for the roller, while KU spaces the other post player to the short wing sometimes. By raising both posts and putting shooters in the corners, Golden State clears the lane for backcuts by the shooters on overplays or rolls by their big men (particularly Bogut and Ezeli).

    GS also screens a lot with their wing shooters screening for their bigs. They get tons of layups and dunks when a big man gets caught “in between”, not sure whether to stay out and challenge the shooter (typically Curry, Barnes or Thompson) or stay on the big man as he pops out (typically this is Green). KU could do the same with Greene and Svi screening for either Ellis or Bragg, both of whom can handle the ball and hit jumpers.

    Golden State forces defenders into impossible decisions. Because they keep the floor spread with shooters you either help and deal with the open threes or give up layups. For most teams this year, neither option has worked.

  • @drgnslayr

    Really nice video. Notice how well the players use screens and how they are always in motion to get in position for the. open shot. I wish Greene could see this video and understand that just siting still waiting for the ball is not a good option. No question that the entire GS team has a high basketball IQ and every player on the court knows his role and exactly where they need to be…not every NBA team is like that.

  • I’m not the most sophisticated of basketball minds, but what I see is their superior athleticism allows them to push quickly past the opposing defense to create wide open looks because the defense isn’t in position yet.

    Their set pieces however seem to show the brilliance of this team. They’re simply one of the best teams I’ve ever seen play basketball.

  • @justanotherfan

    Great response.

    I’m a GS fan… and it sounds like you are, too. You just “get it” too well to not be a fan of it!

    “The first thing you notice about the GS offense is that the guys that can shoot are always spacing the floor for each other.”

    I really like how you phrased that. Most guys just try to create their own space. GS guys realize they are part of a team, and helping other teammates get their space will also come back to them, helping them get their space. It’s like karma run amuck!

  • Fascinating that Luke Walton is coaching this OFFENCE on an interim basis. Who gets credit for developing it?

  • @drgnslayr

    Not a fan of the Warriors, per se, but I do like basketball and watching great basketball always has my attention. I love watching the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs, Hawks and Bulls because they all play some great basketball. None of them are my favorite team, but they all play great, watchable basketball. Each team has some basketball genius - Curry for Golden State, Paul for LA, about half the Spurs, Korver and Horford for Atlanta and Noah and Gasol for Chicago - that just makes watching the game so much fun. Sometimes I just watch and key on a certain guy to really see what he is doing to understand the ins and outs of the offense.

    I appreciate the greatness of what the Warriors do even if I don’t root for them personally.

    Golden State understands gravity better than most any team I have ever watched. They understand that certain guys require defenders to guard them closely on the perimeter, so those guys (primarily Curry and Thompson, but also Iguodala, Barnes and Green to some extent) really stretch the floor by staying away from the paint and away from each other.

    To help against GS, a defender has to make a decision to leave his man and go to help. Guys have to take two, sometimes even two and a half steps to help against the Warriors because everything is spaced so well.

    Yes, GS has super athleticism as @wissoxfan83 points out, but they also stress the defense by using quickness and keeping the ball moving. You can’t relax because the ball doesn’t stay on one side. You really can’t predict where the action is going to go because their sets and decoys look almost identical. I don’t know that KU can match what they do, but we can (and should) certainly mimic it with the personnel that we have.

  • When the Warriors go into step on your throat mode, they essentially have a SF/PF tweener play the 5. We have one of those…

    I know they call it going “small” but a 6’7 ot 6’8 guy with length or an instinct for rebounding is not necessarily playing with dwarves out there or anything.

    We could do that with some of our guys if needed since we lack that back to the basket post presence…

    Something that caught my attention in a Self press conference was him calling Traylor 6’7.

    Greene and Svi are legitimately tall, and Devonte is long. We would not be that “small” playing without a 5…

  • Traylor was listed at 6’ 7" coming out of high school, and people who see him in public say he doesn’t look as tall as expected. I think he got the “KU boost” in listed height.

  • @Makeshift

    Ya, was more to drive home the point that when we got Traylor at the 5 we are really playing with a 6’7 glue guy at there.

    If someone on the bench can be a bit more than glue, he does not have to be a 7 footer. You could go outside the box and use a guy who is legitimately 6’7 or 6’8 but is considered a guard or wing. Or 6’6, 6’'5 guard with length.

    Or use Bragg like Self did against Oregon State in the second half. Bragg was like a tall as hell wing out there,

    When Bragg gets a little older and fills out his frame a bit, watch out!

  • I know it is a bit of a cop out to say something like, everything is relative…

    But hey if you got Svi and Greene and Vick or Selden out there and some 5’.11 or 6 foot guard is on them, have them back up and post up haha.

  • I saw someone, Barkley (?) who said the 1995-1996 Bulls would kick the Warriors all the way across San Francisco Bay! Of course, as someone who thinks everything was better when we were younger I’d have to agree.

  • @wissoxfan83 1996 Bulls against these Warriors would be a great series. Even playing modern rules, the Bulls would win because MJ wpuld average 40 a game with current rules. The Bulls length would also be a huge advantage on the defensive end. Rodman, Kucoc, Pippen, Jordan, and Harper is a line up that would match up well with the Warriors and Longley would be able to play against Bogut. Individual match ups of Jordan on Curry, Pippen on Thompson, and Rodman on Green would be great battles, but at the end of the day, Jordan’s will to win might be the greatest intangible any player in any major sport in North America has had that I’ve ever seen.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    I have to agree. No one on GS could contain Jordan. And the Bulls had plenty of speed, which is helpful defending on GS.

    And these days… the whistle would protect Jordan from getting smashed. Jordan caught the end of the true rough housing years in the NBA.

  • @drgnslayr

    Gasp! Horror! You’re saying the refs protected MJ? Sacrilege! @approxinfinity How do I block drgnslayr?

  • @wissoxfan83 I’ve already banned him.

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