War­riors set bar on ro­tat­ing de­fend­ers

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY RICK BON­NELL The Char­lotte Ob­server

Po­si­tion­less doesn’t sound like a com­pli­ment in sports, but it’s def­i­nitely praise in re­gard to NBA de­fense.

That’s the word Char­lotte Hornets as­so­ci­ate head coach Stephen Si­las used Tues­day to de­scribe the de­fend­ing cham­pion Golden State War­riors, who will face the Pis­tons at Lit­tle Cae­sars Arena tonight.

By “po­si­tion­less,” Si­las meant the War­riors’ ros­ter is full of long, in­ter­change­able de­fend­ers. Think Dray­mond Green, An­dre Iguo­dala, Klay Thomp­son and Shaun Liv­ingston all equipped to guard mul­ti­ple po­si­tions.

That al­lows Golden State play­ers to con­stantly switch who they’re guard­ing when en­coun­ter­ing picks.

The War­riors are with­out twotime Most Valu­able Player Stephen Curry, who sprained his right an­kle Mon­day in a game against the Pelicans.

The War­riors are 19-6, and are top 10 in the NBA in of­fen­sive (1st) and de­fen­sive (7th) ef­fi­ciency (de­fined as what a team scores, or al­lows, per pos­ses­sion). Their in­ter­change­able parts are a big fac­tor in the War­riors hav­ing won two of the past three cham­pi­onships, and play­ing in all three of those Fi­nals.

“They’re all long and ath­letic, and they’ll be switch­ing a whole bunch,” Si­las said.

“In pick-and-roll bas­ket­ball, you’re try­ing to get two de­fend­ers (con­verged on) the ball. The way to com­bat that de­fen­sively is to switch.

“That means a lot less draw and kick (by the ball­han­dler) and help and re­cover (by other de­fend­ers). It’s a lot more one-onone game.”

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