Coaching Moment: Steve Kerr and the Warriors’ “absurd” (but effective) adjustment

Madness? This is the NBA Postseason!

Here at SportUp, we’re all about coaching. So, each week, we’ll be highlighting an example of outstanding coaching in our #UpCoachingMoment series. And this week there was perhaps no better example of great adjustments from a coaching staff than those made by the Golden State Warriors.

To the untrained eye, the below might look like a tap-dance routine performed by Warriors’ center Andrew Bogut, but there’s a method to the madness.

In Games 2 and 3 of the Western Conference semifinals, Grizzlies’ forward Tony “first team all defense” Allen had tormented the Warriors with his excellent defensive play, disrupting the flow of the Dubs’ offense and contributing to abysmal shooting numbers for the newly crowned MVP. But despite what Charles Barkley et al. would have you believe about the 2014–2015 Warriors, they’re no slouches on defense either.

So, as Deadspin’s Kevin Draper describes, the Warriors countered the defense of Tony Allen with just that — defense. Allen, who is a below-average shooter, was nominally ‘guarded’ by Andrew Bogut to start the game, and the gamble paid off for Steve Kerr and staff as Allen shot the Grizzlies into an early deficit in Game 4. By getting these easy stops, the Warriors also jump-started their offense, and scored the most points they’d tallied since their Game 1 victory.

The series is far from over, and we’re looking forward to seeing what Grizzlies’ head coach David Joerger and staff come up with to counter for Game 5 at Oracle Arena. Given Allen’s competitive nature, and the Grizzlies’ ability to run the high pick-and-roll to perfection, it seems unlikely that it can work so well a second time.

Even if it doesn’t have the same effect in Game 5, it completely changed the tempo and momentum of the Game 4, and the series — despite continuing to struggle with turnovers, the Warriors got their shooting eye back and looked much more like themselves.

How would you counter if you were David Joerger?

Have an example of great coaching that you’d like to see featured? Comment on this post, or get in touch via Twitter and Facebook. If you like this story, please log in and recommend it — thanks!


-The SportUp Team

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