Are the Golden State Warriors the model for the Utah Jazz to follow for the upcoming season. Not in their collection of draft picks such as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. Not in way they surrounded their young players with veteran role players Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry who have willing embraced their roles. Not in their fabulous late 1st round and 2nd round additions of Fetus Ezeli and Draymond Green.
Instead the Warriors have done something remarkable on the defensive end of the floor. This year the Warriors defensive rating (pts allowed per 100 possessions) is 102.6. A year ago it was 106, two years ago it was 107.6 and three years ago it was an abysmal 109.4 only to be outdone by the previous years 110.1.
One of the league’s worst defensive franchises has transformed themselves into one of the best. The last two seasons the Utah Jazz have been the 21st ranked defensive team in the NBA. They must find a way to move into the top 15 in the NBA and even the top 10 if they want to be a team that is still playing this time of year.
The 4 best EFG% (weighs three point shooting) defenses in the West are the 4 teams still playing right now. In 2009-10 the Warriors allowed an EFG% of 52.5% this year they allowed just 48.6%.
The addition of Andrew Bogut has been only a small portion of this transformation. Mark Jackson has young group that has bought into his defensive system. The ability to always have a 7 footer on the floor in Biedrins, Ezeli or Bogut is a must and young athletic wings are equally important.
The real area of improvement for the Warriors has been their defensive rebounding. For the last 4 seasons they allowed opponents to garner 31% of their own misses for another possession. This year’s opponent only got 24.5% of their offensive rebounds.
Changing from a bad defensive team to a good defensive team is a very difficult thing to do in the NBA, but the Jazz need to see how the Warriors have achieved this and emulate in the upcoming seasons.