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Warriors Training Camp Blog: Warriors Working Toward Defensive Improvement
Throughout the 2010 training camp and preseason, warriors.com will feature complete behind-the-scenes coverage from a variety of Warriors sources. With submissions from the full-time Blog Squad roster, the Warriors 2010 Training Camp Blog is the best place for Warriors fans wanting the inside scoop on the team.

Warriors Training Camp Blog Home

Wednesday, October 20 (11:50 a.m.)
Submitted by Warriors.com

Warriors Working Toward Defensive Improvement

The rebounding provided by David Lee and Andris Biedrins will factor in to the team's defensive performance this season. (photo: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty)
It’s no secret that the Warriors need to improve upon their defensive performances over the last few years in order to move up the standings and become a playoff team. As pointed out in NBA.com’s Warriors preview, Head Coach Keith Smart has emphasized defense since the first day of training camp. We examined the team’s focus on defense earlier this month, but now that we’re six games into the preseason, we finally have a sample size to start measuring those results.

Of course, it's still the preseason and wins and losses are less important than establishing a set rotation and figuring out which player combinations work best together. Still, the Warriors have established a firm base from which to build. While there is still plenty of room for improvement, Golden State has managed to hold the opposition to less than 40 percent shooting in four of their six preseason games, having also out-rebounded their opponents in each of those same four contests. Additionally, opponents are shooting 36.4 percent (88-for-242) combined in three games at Oracle Arena.

"My thing is no matter who you're playing, (the question is) if you're in place and your concepts are good,” Coach Smart said after a recent practice. “You want to make sure you are where you're supposed to be defensively, make sure your communication is still there. And the other part of that is are we playing hard? We're not satisfied, but we're moving in the right direction."

Stoppers? Probably not. Nobody is mistaking the 2010-11 Warriors for the Bad Boy Pistons of the late 1980s, but the team certainly has the look of an improved club defensively. Without any pure shutdown defenders on the roster, the Warriors will rely more on help defense and team rebounding.

Golden State used that philosophy most recently on Tuesday in a 92-87 loss in Phoenix in which the Suns shot 37.8 percent from the field.

“We played pretty good defense down the stretch and we out-rebounded them, which we haven’t done in a while,” Stephen Curry said after the game. “Even though it’s a loss, you got to like where we are at.”

The Warriors will have two more preseason road games against the Lakers before opening the 2010-11 season for real next Wednesday against the Houston Rockets . Curry talked about the team’s new commitment to defense and much more in the season premiere of Warriors Weekly. Watch that segment below, and check out a full-length episode of the show by clicking here.

A key component of improving defensively is rebounding the basketball and minimizing the opposition’s chances on offense. The Warriors were last in the NBA in rebounding last year, but General Manager Larry Riley made several moves to shore up that area. Most notably, he acquired David Lee from the New York Knicks over the summer. An NBA All-Star last year, Lee has been among the league leaders in rebounding and double-doubles. Add Andris Biedrins, who is healthy now after missing 49 games due to injury last season, and the team suddenly has two players who can realistically average 10-plus boards. And don’t forget about Lou Amundson and Ekpe Udoh, who will surely help out on the glass once they return from their injuries (Amundson underwent surgery on Monday to repair a fractured right index finger).

Lee and Biedrins have developed a nice rapport on the court together. Lee’s preseason streak of four-straight double-doubles was snapped with a nine-rebound night on Tuesday and Biedrins turned in his best performance of the exhibition season with eight points and 11 rebounds in Monday’s 100-78 win over the Trail Blazers.

Yes, it is only the preseason, and those numbers won’t mean a thing come Opening Night, but there is reason to be encouraged. After all, the jerseys should not be the only thing different about the new-look Warriors this season.










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