SAN FRANCISCO – In the past decade, it has appeared the Warriors Found in a never-ending search for survivable groups when Steve Curry sits. It was an isolated problem Kevin Durant days. They’re always a huge plus when Curry’s on the field and often quite far into the downside when he’s not.
This inconsistency has never been more devastating than in the first month of the season. Through 19 games, the Warriors outscored opponents by 121 points in Curry’s 588th minute and beat them by 145 points in 329 minutes without him on the floor. Those non-curry pockets, above all else, gave the Warriors a disappointing 9-10 record.
This reality has prompted Steve Kerr to dig in for the past month, rearranging second unit groups on a regular basis. In the last week – culminating in an explosion from 124 to 107 of the model clippers WEDNESDAY NIGHT — Kerr appears to have finally settled on a strategy with lasting potential. Draymond Green He is now conductor of a second unit which also includes the afterburner Andrew Wigginsand career-high shootings from the field (50.6 percent) and from 3’s (43.4 percent).
“As a second unit, your job is not to go out and build a lead,” Green said. “Your job is to keep the lead. If the first unit fails to build a lead, your job is to slow down and level the game. That was just kind of my focus. Just trying to help this unit play as much faultless basketball as possible.”
Kerr made the change for the first time in Houston. After the debacle of 13-0 missiles Kerr flipped a run to open the second quarter, erasing a large lead off the green Kevon Looney To open the fourth quadrant and that group managed to walk through the water. It made lasting change, epitomized in this unit for the opening of the second and fourth quarters on Wednesday night: Jordan PaulAnd the Donte DivincenzoWiggins Anthony Lamb and green.
“It looks good,” Kerr said. “We will continue to do so.”
This is their second possession together against the Clippers. Green runs the process from above, promoting more flow and movement of the ball. In eight seconds, four passes are made. The work ends with a familiar look. Green has a top. Wiggins places a ghost screen on Poole’s wing. The Clippers jump on Paul as they do on Curry. Wiggins slips. Green hits him for an indisputable dunk.
When was the last time you saw the Warriors create a look like this with Curry off the ground?
“What do I do?” Green said. “Number one, just trying to slow the unit down. This unit shouldn’t run as fast as the first unit. It should be more methodical. It should be more combos. It should be more stereotypical moves than random moves and random offense. I think, for me, It’s just trying to slow that unit down and then, second and most importantly, make sure that unit defends.”
I didn’t have clippers Paul George or Kawhi Leonard And he pulled the league’s third-worst offense to the Chase center. So this was not an amazing defensive display from the Warriors. But that second unit looked more energetic and energetic with Green at the helm and holding together enough consistent stops to actually get to the positive net while Curry rested. They were a plus-four during a second-quarter rest of Curry and a five-plus on a fourth-quarter rest of Curry, extending the lead.
“It’s huge for guys’ confidence,” Green said. “Being in this unit, you can almost feel the snake biting when things start to go wrong. When you feel that, in basketball, it’s hard to beat.”
Breakpoints also enhance speed and create an easier look on the other end. Green wants to slow that unit down in his half of the field. But if there was a chance of a transition coming up, he would actively want to speed it up, believing that it would be in good hands if he had control over the decision-making process.
Here’s an example from early fourth quarter. Warriors already ran an area. This is Nick Batum’s foul from the corner, landing as the undisputed defensive rebound to Green, who immediately zooms the field, runs past a scrambling defense and spoons Lamb over.
“If we keep getting stops with this unit, we can go out and really push the tempo,” said Green. “It will be for the benefit of that unit. As Jordan (Paul) feels more comfortable with me in that group, some will also free him up in the transition. I think that should be the focus of that group.”
Speed and variety will be to their advantage. That’s why Kerr pairs Green with Lamb, another smart, mega-forward who can move with wings, strike to great sizes and even stretch the Earth. Who is the center in that squad?
“I don’t even care,” Kerr said. “It doesn’t even matter which one you select. I think Draymond is more of a center because he’ll put more screens on the ball and he’s more likely to spot Lamb and shoot a 3 from the perimeter. But it’s a great combination because they can play with each other and Lamb is very smart and he has a great feeling that he can read Draymond and vice versa” .
There is a clear danger. The Warriors have traditionally tied Curry and Green’s minutes together as they are one of the strongest two-man combos in league history, mastering the ability to unlock the best part of each other’s skill sets. Their dismissal could have a negative impact on a portion of Carey’s minutes.
But Curry is playing so well at the moment and Looney has developed into a steady force with Greene so off the ground that it’s clear that Kerr, Carey and Greene are comfortable separating Curry from Greene, believing the benefits outweigh the risks. Green noted that it’s something he’s done before, most recently during the 39-33 season when Kerr spent a good portion of the season searching.
“It’s not an entirely foreign land to me,” said Green. “It’s not something we’ve done in a while. But it’s not that I’m adapting to something I haven’t done before. In saying that, how dangerous is that? I look at it more as a safety net than a danger. Because both of us can attack groups. .That’s the main thing, especially for that second unit – who’s going to get the group into attack? There are times when you ask Jordan to score, and you ask him to sign everyone in the offense. He’s 23. He’s in his fourth year. It takes a while. Time to find out. So I look at it more as a safety net than a danger with one of us on the court almost all the time. I think that’s great for us.”
Draymond Green took over the minutes aside from Curry for the Warriors’ new second unit. Here’s a full rundown from Draymond on what that means. pic.twitter.com/HcHPwMGssX
– Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 24, 2022
(Photo by Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins celebrating during the second half Wednesday: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)