Celtics are taking stock in Warriors' winning formula
The Warriors just finished capping off an impressive Finals run despite not winning the draft lottery or nabbing the most illustrious free agent on the market. Golden State was able to build a winning team through patience in the draft and smart offseason moves; to see an organization succeed in such a manner is relatively rare and should encourage Celtics fans.
This should lift #Celtics fans. GS didn't need No 1 overall pick/best FA; won w/ great coaching, well-built team, players who elevated game.
With an excess of uniquely long, versatile players like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, the team found success relying on athleticism and speed to match up defensively rather than going with the textbook point guard-to-center lineup. The longer, quicker lineups were able to easily switch without causing mismatches. They could move the ball and spread the floor on offense.
In fact, we were able to see that kind of success firsthand in March, when Golden State erased a 26-point deficit to beat Boston at home. This small-ball style of play has gained popularity as the league continues to evolve, and the Celtics may do well to take stock of the Warriors' winning formula.
According to Masslive's Jay King, both coach Brad Stevens and director of player personnel Austin Ainge have acknowledged that the league is evolving. The advantages of playing small are plentiful, and many of them were represented by the Warriors during the season and in the playoffs. The key, however, is having the personnel to play in such a way. Boston showed they may be trending this way as well.
We saw it in the Cleveland series as well as in the regular season, where Boston would have guys like Jae Crowder play alongside centers Tyler Zeller or Kelly Olynyk. With a plethora of smaller guys on the roster like Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, going small may be beneficial.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge will continue to stay patient and make moves only if he feels they will push the team closer to contending for a title. The Celtics will never get so lucky as to land the best shooter ever with a 7th overall pick in NBA MVP Stephen Curry. But they were able to land a defensive stud in Marcus Smart at 6 and a hell of a flexible coach who's ahead of the game molding young talent.
It's unlikely we'll become as good as this Warriors team, which was one of the best regular season teams in recent memory, but given our personnel, it's certainly something to look at and aspire to.
Top photo via Mark Baer, USA Today Sports
Bottom photo via Doug Pessinger, Getty Images