Why don’t the Warriors trust their game? I just can’t seem to figure this one out, so maybe you guys can help me. Before you answer, let me break this down so you understand exactly what I mean.
About a week ago I wrote an article about how Kevin Durant needs to start playing the Warriors game if they were to get back to the NBA Finals. I focused heavily on Kevin Durant because he had 1 assist through the first two games of the Western Conference Finals. I did note that the Warriors team assists were a bit lower than they usually were, with Kevin Durant’s lack of assists being the main reason why. I also noted that Draymond Green and Steph Curry were the only two players who were consistently sharing the ball.
Since I wrote that article about Kevin Durant, his assists over the next three games were 6, 3, and 0. In Game 3, which the Warriors won, Durant actually passed the ball. Then in games 4 and 5, which they lost, it was back to iso ball for him.
Durant and Curry
Over the last three games, Durant hasn’t been the only one who isn’t playing the Warriors game. Steph Curry went from having 8 and 7 assists in games 1 and 2, to having 1 and 2 assists in games 3 and 4. When Durant finally started playing the Warriors game in Game 3 by having 6 assists, Steph Curry was the one who wasn’t playing their game. In Game 4, neither of them played the Warriors game with Durant being the high assist man out of the two by having 3 assists. Then in last night’s game, Curry had 6 assists while Durant had 0. I guess what we can take from this, is that Steph Curry and Kevin Durant aren’t on the same page.
Now let’s move to the bench. During the regular season, the Warriors had six bench players who averaged 1.4 assists or more. If you throw Andre Iguodala in there, it’d be seven, but he’s been a starter in this series which is why I didn’t count him. Not just in this series, but throughout the playoffs, the Warriors have had only three players averaging 1.1 assists or more. The bench also doesn’t seem to be on the same page with the rest of the team. In last night’s game, four Warriors bench players had at least 1 assist, but in Game 4, not a single bench player had an assist. Games 1 and 2 were decent for the bench, having multiple players with assists in both games, but Game 3 saw just one Warriors bench player have an assist.
Despite all the inconsistent ball movement by the Warriors, there’s been one player who’s been consistent in this series and throughout the playoffs. That player is Draymond Green. Green’s assist numbers for each game have been 9, 6, 6, 8, and 4. That averages out to be 6.6 assists per game. If you look further into Draymond Green’s assists, he’s the only starter on the team who’s averaged more assists in the playoffs than he did in the regular season, and one of three total Warriors players to average more. Draymond Green seems to be the only Warrior who trusts their system, so I give him props for sticking to their game while just about everyone is trying to do something else.
Where’s All the Trust?
For those of you who watched the game last night, you might remember a moment where it showed Steve Kerr talking to Kevin Durant. Kerr told Durant a story about Michael Jordan in which he said this:
“When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game. He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren’t getting anything going. Phil Jackson said ‘Who’s open?’ He said, ‘John Paxson.’”
“I want to trust your teammates early,” Kerr said. “What you’re doing is you’re getting to the rim and then you’re trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?”
Well as I noted before, Kevin Durant finished the game with 0 assists. It didn’t seem to me like Durant trusted his teammates. Often times we try to blame a coach, but you can’t blame Steve Kerr for what’s going on with the Warriors right now. It’s obvious he’s trying to get his players to play how they usually play. He told Durant what he needed to do, but Durant didn’t do it. I haven’t seen him say anything like that to Steph Curry or other players, but I’m sure he has.
For whatever reason, the Golden State Warriors aren’t playing their game and aren’t trusting each other. The Houston Rockets have actually played some horrible basketball in this series, but are leading 3-2 because the Warriors aren’t doing what they do best. If the Warriors don’t figure this out soon (by soon I mean Game 6), then the Houston Rockets will be in the NBA Finals.