In the first half of the 2021-22 NBA season, fans and analysts believed that the Golden State Warriors were back to their dominant ways. It was just a matter of time before they raised the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season. Yet past the midway mark, the Steve Kerr-led squad is in a mighty slump. NBA analyst Bill Simmons identifies the team's main weakness, and he believes it might even prevent them from winning the NBA championship.
As of writing, the Warriors are on a five-game skid and have lost eight of the last 10 games. It’s obvious in Simmons' eyes and various analysts that the Warriors' struggles are due to Draymond Green’s absence. Simmons also pointed out one glaring weakness of the Warriors: they are too small. And he believes this may haunt them in the playoffs.
“If I’m Denver and I don’t think Draymond is 100 percent, I want to play Golden State. Golden State didn’t do anything at the trade deadline to address a couple of playoff situations in these rounds, and I don’t really fully understand it. Because to me, they’re not big enough. Unless they are really convinced that Wiseman can come back, but what we saw from Wiseman last year, I don’t feel like he’s necessarily reliable in a playoff series even if he’s healthy. I just think they have too many guards and not enough size,” Simmons said, via The Bill Simmons Podcast.
Jump shots, nothing but jump shots
The Warriors did not make any moves in the trade deadline. From the looks of it, president of basketball operations and general manager Bob Myers subscribes to the adage: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Apart from this, Myers explained that they just don’t go about adding players to the roster for the sake of it. They’re looking for a particular player who can fit into Steve Kerr’s motion-heavy offense.
This may have been the Warriors’ recipe for success. Their patience in searching and waiting for the perfect player has allowed Kerr to run his offense exactly according to his vision. However, Simmons beefed up his argument by pointing out the Warriors’ 124-116 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers where LeBron James exploded for 56 points. The analyst noted that the Warriors were jacking up jump shots.
“It’s just a lot of jump shots… Nobody gets to the free throw line on the whole team,” Simmons said. “If you’re just looking at all the guys [on Saturday vs. the Lakers], Curry’s probably the only guy who even averages more than four free throw attempts. And he’s probably five. But, a lot of jump shots. They’re not going in. Second quarter, Poole makes some. All of a sudden you’re feeling good. Then it’s jump shots again.”
Simmons raised some interesting points. Perhaps the fans were right in their analysis that Green’s absence is just a small part of the equation. Kerr needs to remind his players of the sport’s fundamentals. The closer you are to the basket, the higher chance your shot is going in.