November 29, 2022
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Draymond Green pinpoints bigger issue to Warriors’ fouling problem

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The Warriors through seven games are in a different world than where they and eveybody else expected them to be. After back-to-back losses to the Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons, two teams thought of as being near the bottom of the NBA, the Warriors come into their Tuesday night contest against the Heat in Miami with a 3-4 record. 

What’s the problem? If only it were one area that needs cleaning. 

Players and coaches alike know they have more than one hurdle to clear to fix this early-season mess. The root of it comes down to the basics, a concept that’s taught when rims are lowered and kids run around the court forgetting to dribble. The Warriors can’t stop fouling. 

“What we know is the fouling is a problem,” Draymond Green said to reporters during Warriors shootaround Tuesday at FTX Arena. “Fouling way too much.”

Coming into Tuesday night’s game in South Beach, the Warriors are committing 23.3 fouls per game. That’s the fifth-most in the league, with only the Brooklyn Nets (23.4), Orlando Magic (23.4), Sacramento Kings (23.8), New York Knicks (24.0) and Utah Jazz (24.5) behind Golden State. 

This isn’t a new problem for the Warriors. Last season, they were called for the fourth-most fouls, being whistled for 21 fouls per game. But this is a different, less experienced team. Their fouls also are being called at inopportune times. The Warriors are allowing 28.6 free throws per game, which ranks second to only the Atlanta Hawks (29.1). 

In return, the Warriors are taking only 22.7 free throws per game, the ninth-fewest in basketball. 

 

But Green sees a bigger problem to the Warriors’ fouling issues. Their hacking isn’t only hurting their defense, but their offense as well. 

“You’re playing against a set defense every time,” he explained. “In Game 70 it’s hard to play against a set defense every play. In Game 7? Way harder. There’s no continuity, you’re still figuring your offense out. You can help yourself out with that with pace. But if you’re always fouling, you can’t get the pace of the game where you want the pace.

“I know that’s a huge area where we can improve on the defensive end, is just defending without fouling, making guys make shots. If they make the shot, we can still get out and push the ball. But when we’re fouling we’re facing a set defense almost every play, and that’s tough.”

It’s no secret the Warriors want to play fast. They want to create chaos, not wait for an opposing team to set their defense up. Green is Golden State’s quarterback here, and can be seen clapping for the ball after made shots to get the Warriors going like a no-huddle, spread offense in the NFL. 

Thus far, the Warriors actually rank second in the NBA in pace. The one team ahead of them are the one-win Los Angeles Lakers. That doesn’t mean the Warriors are able to push the ball down the court. They just have the second-most offensive possessions per game right now.

Evidence shows in the Warriors producing the ninth-fewest fastbreak points per game (12.9). A season ago, they ranked seventh in the NBA with 13.8 fastbreak points per game. And their offensive rating is a lowly 111.4, 20th overall in the league. 

RELATED: Can Wiseman master the art of defensive surliness for Warriors?

Poor defense and too much fouling is resulting in bad offense far too often. Facing a hungry 2-5 Heat team that the Warriors already have beat once this season will be a major test on the road. The Warriors didn’t suffer a three-game losing streak until dropping five in a row from Feb. 27 through March 7.

Though it’s only the eighth game of the season, the Warriors are looking to avoid such a streak way too early. Getting back to Golden State’s real brand of basketball should get them back in the win column, and it all starts with playing defense without fouling so often.

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