NBC Sports Dubs Report: Warriors’ New Offensive Scheme can have Multiple Benefits
More Offensive Sets Based on High-Ball Screens and Pick-and-Roll can Key Warriors’ Late-Season Run and Wiseman’s Growth
By Kendra Andrews
Despite an up and down season so far, Steve Kerr is confident the Warriors will be able to make a run during this final stretch of the season.
Steph Curry agrees – he also believed they can. But that's just the first part of it, he says.
"You have to believe it, but then the second step is the confidence to walk out on the court and prove it and execute," Curry said.
Execution has been the main hindrance on the Warriors, mostly on the offensive end.
After reshaping the way offense is played in basketball – converting it to a more free-flowing style that results in a ton of 3-pointers – that style no longer works for the Warriors. They don't have the abundance of three-point shooters to pull that off. That left the Warriors in an identity crisis earlier on.
But recently, they've found a new style of offense that they can execute well and if used correctly, could help them go on that run they believe they can make.
The Warriors have started to incorporate more high ball screens and pick-and-rolls – a simpler offensive scheme that made appearances earlier in the season, but never quite stuck. Now, plan on seeing it more in the last two months of the season.
"We want to continue to run plenty of pick-and-roll," Kerr said.
"It’s definitely a good weapon for us to continue to build on our offense," said Draymond Green, the team's leading playmaker. "And it’s also a way of continuing to use [James Wiseman] more, because he’s a tough cover rolling to the rim."
As Green said, it's an offense that fits the skill set of the 20-year-old rookie nicely and will allow the Warriors to utilize him more. Striking the balance between his development and winning current games has been a difficult one for the Warriors to strike, and running more high-screen pick-and-rolls could be the answer to both.
Wiseman is a 7-foot-1 athletic player with a gentle touch on his jump shot who also poses a threat in possible lob scenarios. He has potential in the pick-and-pop and can also create more spacing, opening up easier looks for his teammates. If this simple offense is the way to unlock all of that, it will help the Warriors now and in the future.
"A big part of it is James is really starting to get comfortable with the timing on his drags and step-ups and he’s recognizing it,” Kerr said. “Sometimes, it’s not even called, whereas early in the season he might not recognize that he needs to go set (a screen). Now, he’s recognizing that any time there’s a broken play, to go set a high screen."
"That’s the growth that we’ve been looking for from James," Kerr said. "Now that he’s back from that (wrist) injury and settled into the starting lineup, I’m really excited about his play in the pick-and-roll and his awareness of when to hold the screen, when to dive, when to slip out. Those are all things that take time to figure out, and he’s doing a really good job with it."
There's still a lot of room for Wiseman to grow. And the Warriors as well. But once they get clicking on offense, everything else will fall into place.
Now, the Warriors shouldn't use this simplified offense every trip down. It'll become far too predictable.
But, for the time being, it's a tool the Warriors should use to get Wiseman going, and string together a few good possessions to hopefully find that spark that will allow them to execute the run they believe they can make.
Kendra Andrews works the Warriors beat as a writer and reporter for NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter.
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