The Golden State Warriors are 43-9 and just dismantled the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. They’ve been the most dominant team in the league all season, and they’ve responded positively to virtually every type of defense, tactic or strategy that the opposition has thrust upon them.
Except there’s one that hasn’t been tried, and I’d be surprised if we don’t see it soon.
Hack-a-Bogut or Hack-an-Iggy.
If I were an opposing coach, I would absolutely, positively consider implementing this strategy, but let me make it clear: I would certainly not do it routinely, and the situation of the game would obviously dictate. But make no mistake: you can make a case you must, at least, give it a try.
You might think neither Bogut (56 percent) nor Iguodala (53 percent) is not quite a weak enough foul shooter to do this. And maybe the numbers bear that out. But there is a bigger picture here. And it’s this:
The Golden State Warriors thrive in the open floor and when playing uptempo. It is when they are at their best and when, quite frankly, they are unbeatable. They also shoot the 3-pointer better than any team any of us have ever seen in our lifetimes, and they utilize that shot wonderfully in transition.
Too quick here and there, yes. But big deal.
If you elect to foul Bogut or Iguodala in certain situations, the one thing that is guaranteed to happen is the game will slow down. Even if both free throws are made, which they are not likely to be, you have still succeeded in assuring that the next possession will be a walk-it-up-the-court possession.
I would absolutely think about fouling Bogut or Iguodala to stop a run, wouldn’t you? Think about this … Curry comes down the floor, knocks down a 27-footer to put the Warriors up four, followed by a Klay Thompson 3-pointer to put the Warriors up seven, followed by a bad miss by your team and guess who’s out and running again?
Yes, sir, I’d wrap up Bogut or Iguodala there. Instead of Curry or Thompson getting a look at a 3 — or Harrison Barnes getting that one in the corner? Yep, I’ll take a foul there. And who knows? What if Bogut and/or Iguodala can’t make enough foul shots. What if Steve Kerr would have to substitute for them? Well, you’ve then taken either the Warriors best interior defender or best wing defender off the floor.
There also is another instance where I’d consider using the strategy and it would actually be if the Warriors were down, let’s say eight or 10 points or more and they were rallying. I’d consider using it in those situations to stop an extension of a 3-point flurry that is going to cut into the lead in a hurry.
If you can coax one miss out of one of those players from the foul line, I think it’s definitely worth it, with an alternative being Curry, in transition, with his defender back-pedaling.
Like I said, not every time and not as a rule. But absolutely, I’d start thinking about putting Bogut and Iguodala on the line more.