The Warriors are limping badly these days, having lost 12 of their past 17 games. On Feb. 2, the Warriors defeated the Phoenix Suns to lift their record to 30-17, which has been the high-water mark of the season.
They were on a four-game winning streak at the time after knocking off Toronto, Cleveland and Dallas before that. But truth be told, they weren’t playing well.
Or perhaps more accurately, the Warriors certainly weren’t playing as well as they had the first couple of months of the season. That four-game winning streak came more than five weeks ago, and guess what? The Warriors still aren’t playing well.
In fact, you could make the case that the Warriors have only played one big-time game since then – when they knocked off the San Antonio Spurs 107-101 in overtime at Oracle Arena.
Their four other wins during that period of time – over the Suns, Timberwolves, Raptors and Kings – were needed wins, and certainly not things of beauty.
So, what’s happened to the Warriors? Well, right now they’ve got more than one issue:
Lack of depth
The bottom line is the Warriors go about seven deep and that’s about it. Once you get past the starting five – Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut – you’re left with just two players who have consistently contributed over the course of the season: Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry.
And it’s not helping that Jack is playing his worst basketball of the season in the past two weeks.
One thing that seems to be happening is that the core players of Curry, Thompson and Lee are wearing down and there’s little support from the bench.
Interior defense and rebounding
The Warriors have been able to play through Bogut’s latest injury plagued season, but not so much lately.
Bogut might only be a shell of himself but the Warriors need that shell because it’s still better than a lot of what they have. But Bogut has done little more than simply hold his own when he plays and the team needs him to be much more of a factor. But is he capable of becoming more of a factor? We’ve got about a month-plus for the answer.
This has turned into a big problem for the Warriors. It’s one thing to turn the ball over, but it’s another to do it at important times.
It’s also one thing to turn the ball over some when you’re a fast-breaking team, but it’s another to turn it over in the halfcourt during games in which possessions are reduced.
Are the Warriors paying the price for not having a true point guard on the roster? Maybe, maybe not. But the turnovers start with Curry (41 in the past nine games) and he needs to begin limiting them.
Let’s face it, the Warriors are a jump-shooting team. They’re a darn good one, but that’s what they are.
On the plus side, the Warriors have used the perimeter shot, and more specifically the 3-point shot to their advantage this season. But they have still not found any kind of offensive consistency on the interior.
Bogut simply isn’t the player he once was, and so he hasn’t given the Warriors much in the low post. David Lee is among the league’s leading scorers in the paint, but they don’t necessarily come from conventional post-ups.
Landry has been effective in the low post at times, but he isn’t a player you ride on an every-game basis.