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How Golden State Warriors built NBA's best defense


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Excellent, detailed article on how the Warriors completely revamped their entire identity as a run-and-gun team. My one quibble is that the article is a bit TOO diplomatic -- in particular to former star player Monta Ellis and former coach Mark Jackson. Yes, scheme makes a difference in defense... but the NBA is the most improvisational of sports leagues, and a lot of basketball defense is just GETTING AFTER IT. It is impossible to have a great defense when the team's best player refuses to commit to the grunt work necessary. It is also impossible to have a great defense when the head coach refuses to truly empower his or her assistant coaches -- who are there to, among other things, shore up the head coach's weaknesses.

Thanks to this article I learned how the Warriors drafted specific players of a particular style:

For the Warriors, positions mean so little on defense because they've built a roster comprised of guys the same size. The players and coaches call it "versatility," a common set of qualities that allows the team to constantly switch on and off the ball. With Iguodala, Livingston, Klay ThompsonDraymond GreenHarrison Barnes and Justin Holiday, Golden State has a half-dozen long, defensively talented players who stand between 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-8. That height range is perfect for navigating between marking little guys and grappling with big men. For example, Green typically guards power forwards, but he can stop Chris Paul in a pinch.

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