Solving the Warriors small ball


The most interesting aspect of the Golden State Warriors' first round victory over the Denver Nuggets was their inability to handle the Warriors going small with Harrison Barnes.  Despite having the personnel to handle that particular line up, it proved difficult for a couple of reasons.  First, it's tough to scheme against a line up that almost never got used in the regular season.  Second, it's tough to scheme against a line up with four potentially potent scorers and one giant who happens to be an excellent rebounder.

While the San Antonio Spurs do have five games of tape to breakdown this small line up, they still have the issue of figuring out to limit the scoring for a line up that could provide some match up problems for the Spurs.  According to Stephen Curry himself, the Spurs used Danny Green on him the most in the regular season.  Our own Kyle Boenitz thinks we'll see Kawhi Leonard also guarding him.  If Green guards Curry, that means Leonard likely slides over to Klay Thompson, Tony Parker to Jarrett Jack and either Tiago Splitter or Boris Diaw on Harrison Barnes.  So somewhere on the court there's a mismatch.

This isn't saying the Spurs are going to experience the same problems the Nuggets did, because their defense is much more disciplined.  It'll be interesting to see how often the Spurs go small and who they go small with.  Do they simply sub Splitter out for Manu?  Will Cory Joseph be the second guard that comes in after Ginobili?  Joseph's defense will be critical, but not just against Curry. 

I think Joseph's main goal should be to disrupt Jarrett Jack.  Jack is often Golden State's main ball handler when he's in and he's done a terrific job this season, especially against the Spurs.  In four games versus the Spurs, Jack is averaging 17.5 points and 9.8 assists including a 30 points, 10 assist outing in February.

Curry is and should be the focal point of this series on the Warriors side, but matching up with Barnes and Jack will go a long way in determining how long this series last.  Having said that, Spurs in 5.