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The Golden State Warriors dynasty was best known for its turbocharged offensive, but it was made possible by the support of its defensive spine.
Led by Draymond Green, who alone revolutionized the defense, the Warriors were able to move on a small scale, creating a fast switchable unit that did not sacrifice anything on the battered defense or rim protection.
While Green remains, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are gone, the three top defenders of the team. Klay Thompson, the main defender of Golden State at the attack site, most likely will miss at least a large part of the season, if not all.
The Warriors list has been eviscerated and changed, and while D & # 39; Angelo Russell and the rest of the new cast can help defend against throwing triple teams or box-and-ones at Stephen Curry, it's worth considering how the defense will withstand all these changes.
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Defense is almost impossible to measure, and it is even harder to present it in the future. Too many moving parts. Too many tasks and turns that can not be accurately focused on statistics.
For example: counting statistics measures the number of rebounds, thefts and blocks that a player collects, but do not necessarily express how good player bounces, steals or blocks arrows. Too many of them are based on immeasurable values, such as happiness, effectiveness of teammates and what the defense plan tells the player. Adaptation to the pace and belongings helps, but no one quarrels about stealing with friends at the bar.
Rate-sensitive statistics, such as defensive rating, help to lighten the image a bit, but again they are based on the team's success and therefore not always show if the player is good or bad.
Versatile tools, such as Box Plus-Minus or RPM, bring us a step closer, and all these paints contain a complete picture.
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New FiveThirtyEight statistic DRAYMOND, short for Defensive Rating Accounting for Yielding Minimal Openness from Nearest Defender is a new tool that uses NBA player tracking data to give us an idea of how often a defender affects an offensive player's ability to get an open shot by shrinking his space.
"There is one important discovery that we made while playing with the shooting data of opponents: the idea of minimizing openness. The main goal of defense defense, especially in today's forward-oriented offensive era, forward movement of the ball, is really to minimize the chance of an open shot, wrote Nate Silver FiveThirtyEight.
One alternative, the percentage goal of the opponent in the field, is slightly noisy and does not measure exactly whether the defender performs his job; all he measures is whether the offensive player has made or missed the shot. Process and result.
"If the opponent warms up against your team and shoots 53 for 91 on the way to get 130 points, we know that your team has weakly defended in total, but we do not know which players to blame," wrote Silver.
Just because this model points to errors in other methods of defense quantification does not mean that it is not in itself defective. But it's a fun new toy to play with.
While he does not predict how these new Warriors will be defensive next season, he reaffirms some concerns over the removal of four of the top six defenders in the team; they go from the elite to just good.
DRAYMOND FiveThirtyEight statistics
Green reminded the spectators why he was such a unique defensive force during the playoffs, but he was still falling a bit, at least in the main season. As No. 1 (plus-3.16) defender of each player to register at least 10,000 items from the 2013-14 season (significant margin) in this index, his plus-1.76 last year was associated in the 30th year in the league last year.
Looney was the best defender of the DRAYMOND team, but he only played 18.5 minutes to match in 2018-19. While playing in the 23-year-old center, it's more suited to the Warriors youth movement, Defenders of the wings for lack of quality prevent since using this scheme he made them so special in the first place –by moving Green to the middle position.
Despite the positive impact on DRAYMOND statistics, the addition to the D & # 39; aw Angelo Russell will probably not improve them at the end of the defensive. He never judged himself a plus defender. His DRAYMOND rating from the 2013-14 season is negative and he had minus 0.5 defensive BPM last year and his minus 0.57 Defensive RPM was 52th among point guards. He has debts, 6 & # 39; 10 " wingspan, which helped him achieve a 1.9 percent steal rate and a 0.6 percent interest rate last year, but he would have to buy a defense system and learn to defend himself at the master level so that the Warriors would move their dynasty into the next era.
This next era is as unspecified as it has been since the Warriors began to compete for the championship, and the lack of a defensive identity may be the biggest challenge for the Warriors. It is possible that this pivot from the championship days will lead to rejuvenation, in which Green competes at a higher level in the regular season, as opposed to saving it in the playoffs. It is also possible, as the DRAYMOND model suggests, Warriors may feel a noticeable drop at the end of the defense.
Ultimately, their ceiling, especially on the defensive side, is not that high. But thanks to the youth they added to the Curry and Green supplements, the Warriors hope that even if they are not so elitist, their title window will open slightly longer.
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All statistics from Basketball Reference or ESPN.com, unless otherwise stated.