Thunder Present Warriors with Major Offensive Challenge: Synergy Scouting Report

It's clear that the Warriors are expected to have trouble stopping the Thunder's offense. On the other end, you might be surprised (shocked even?) to learn that the Warriors currently have the 6th best offensive efficiency in the league according to Synergy. And you are probably somewhat less surprised to learn that the Thunder have the 7th highest rated defensive efficiency. What's going to give in that battle? Let's look underneath the hood a little bit to see if we can answer that question, and maybe come up with an offensive game plan.

Synergy Treemap

In the above treemap visualization, I've color-coded the tiles according to rank. On the top half, we have the OKC defense. On this side, bluish colors represent higher ranking, which means they are better at stopping those plays. Reddish colors mean they are more porous to those play types. On the bottom half are the Warriors offense. Here, reddish colors mean the Warriors are more efficient (higher ranked) at those plays, and bluish means less efficient (lower ranked).

The Warriors want to take shots that appear red on both sides. The Thunder want the Warriors to take shots that appear blue on both sides.

You can see from the treemap that the battle here is going to be spot-up shooting (SPOT). OKC is the 4th highest rated team at stopping it, and the Warriors are the #1 rated team in SPOT efficiency. We don't want to run ISO plays at all. We're not good at it, and OKC is good at stopping them. It looks like our best bet offensively are shots created by Monta or Steph off the pick-and-roll (BALL). Transition (TRANS) looks like a push in the opposite way to SPOT. We're not efficient at it, but OKC is not great at stopping it either. Now, on paper, we should be able to pick them apart in the POST. We are bright red and they are not so blue (meaning they give up those points more easily). However, our main post threat is Monta. And I just have a hard time believing he is going to be able to post up any of OKC's guards, whether it's Westbrook, Harden, or Sefalosha guarding him. This might be a good game for Udoh to get some more looks in the post, though. That's my bet.

Overall, I feel like we have very little margin for error in this one. We'll either have to shoot lights out again, or simply run other plays more efficiently than we've shown up until this point in the season. It should be interesting.

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