The Warriors’ 29 turnovers open up bigger questions about the offense

Shayna Rubin

The Warriors will have three days in Phoenix to help bond as a team and recover from their latest meltdown in Oklahoma City. They may watch some college hoops together. They will practice. Perhaps have a team dinner.

Written in stone on the schedule, though, is to gather and watch a horror film together.

That horror film: All 29 turnovers they committed Friday in a 138-136 overtime loss to the Thunder.

“We will watch all 29 as a team,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Friday. “I can tell you that. We will watch all 29 turnovers.”

What they’ll see is a well-rounded comedy of errors. Of the 10 Warriors that took the court, only Cory Joseph had a zero in the turnover column. Only Brandin Podziemski had one turnover and everyone else committed at least two. The full turnover breakdown:

Andrew Wiggins: 6Draymond Green: 4Klay Thompson: 4

Jonathan Kuminga: 3Steph Curry: 3Dario Šarić: 3Kevon Looney: 2Moses Moody: 2

Green, the facilitator, is often the one who shoulders the most turnovers in a heavy-motion offense. Wiggins and Thompson’s many turnovers are a little more baffling considering they aren’t ball handlers. Despite the 14-point lead the Warriors had and a three-point win in hand before Green’s costly foul, the bounty of turnovers reveals bigger flaws to the Warriors’ approach and explains why they have had trouble against longer, more athletic teams such as the Thunder.

A handful of the turnovers were just sloppy, moving screens, feet caught out of bounds. Just mistakes within the margin for error that happen in a day’s work. The majority, though, were more a product of the Thunder getting into the passing lanes with quick reads off the Warriors’ quintessential motion offense.

Turnovers are a cost the Warriors have paid in the past to make that motion offense flow. But as some within the team put it, the defense and offense have to be among the league’s best to render the turnovers just a minor casualty for the greater good.

At their peak, the Warriors boasted a top defense that could force turnovers, and turn chaos into transition offense that counteracted the errors from their motion offense.

Now, the Warriors have a league-average 114.4 defensive rating and 15.8% of their possessions result in a turnover, fourth worst in the league in the same club as the lowly San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, and Portland Trail Blazers. Swapping turnover aficionado Jordan Poole for ball-protector Chris Paul was supposed to fix the problem — but to little avail.

As those within the team also note, offensive structure isn’t the crux of the problem. However, the issue stems from individual shortcomings.

Of the 29 turnovers against Oklahoma City, 13 were labeled as bad passes. In this sit-down, those may be the clips the team focuses on. They may go over the 10 combined turnovers from Thompson and Wiggins to get to the root of what’s held both back as secondary scorers next to Curry. Neither have been aggressive attacking the rim and against OKC often made the extra pass.

For Golden State’s third turnover of the game, Wiggins received an entry pass from Green with a defender on him, and instead of using his size and athleticism to go up to the rim, he passed it out to nobody. In the third quarter, Wiggins had the ball with Josh Giddey in front of him and Jalen Williams patrolling, able to slide to the rim if Wiggins attacked — but also in place to intercept Wiggins’ extra pass to Green in the corner. Turnover.

Some of Thompson’s costlier turnovers came when Thunder applied pressure to cut off his shot and force some telegraphed entry passes. Green’s four turnovers were mostly the same — Oklahoma City was all over the Warriors’ extra passes, guessing correctly that few would challenge their defender one-on-one.

Trying to create opportunities for the next guy around the horn, Green, Thompson, and Wiggins created a whirlwind of turnover chaos on their own.

Shayna Rubin Golden State Warriors,NBA,Sports

2023-12-10 13:18:32 , Golden State Warriors – The Vacaville Reporter

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