The Golden State Warriors have now missed Draymond Green for 14 straight games while Steph Curry just had his worst shooting month of the season. You would think that this would significantly bring down the team, but it hasn’t been the case. The Warriors are thriving amidst adversity, and they’ve done it with their elite defense and ball movement on offense.
Curry averaged 22.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 7.3 assists on 39/33/89 shooting splits last month — which is well below his own standards. The three-time champion is shooting a career-low 37.9% from the field and has often missed open looks. But the good news is his struggles haven't been detrimental to his team because of the system Steve Kerr has utilized with players who now actually fit his system. Here are three reasons why the Warriors managed to survive their toughest stretch of the season so far.
Elite ball pressure defense
Green has anchored the Warriors defense for years now, which is why his absence is always felt when he’s not on the court. But somehow, this Warriors team has been able to make up for Green’s absence thanks to their elite perimeter and wing defense. They have Garry Paton II, who has established himself as one of the best defensive guards in the league. To add to this, they also have two-way players who can contribute on both ends, namely Otto Porter Jr., Andrew Wiggins, and their young guys in Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, and Jonathan Kuminga.
Just watch how synced the Warriors are in this clip below. They have guys who trust their coach’s game plan and execute it at a high level. The Warriors currently have the league’s best defensive rating (103.2).
No Curry, no problem
The most glaring difference between this season’s Warriors team compared to the last two is that they don’t need Curry to have a big night in order to stay in the game. As mentioned above, Steph now has elite role players around him who can pick up the scoring load when he’s struggling.
Just look at All-Star starter Wiggins, who is now averaging 18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. And then there’s also the scoring emergency of Poole, who has been such a huge spark for the Warriors this season. Gone are the days when Curry has to score at least more than 25 points to win any game. The role players GSW signed in the off season have been huge for them so far.
Team identity - Strength In Numbers 2.0
The best part with this Golden State team is that they’re fierce, competitive, and play with a certain joy that reflects how they perform. They have young players hungry for success, as well as veteran superstars who want to get back to the mountaintop. Is there a better combination than this? This is the type of mentality that gets you far in the playoffs and is what helps the Warriors stick together during adversity.
They say adversity brings out the best in every team, and so far, it has shown that the Warriors are a legitimate contender.