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The Warriors’ death lineup is struggling

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Long a staple of Golden State’s success, the once invincible death lineup is now having problems

Golden State Warriors Media Day Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Much of the success that the Golden State Warriors have experienced in recent years has been due to the “death lineup”. Shortly after Steve Kerr took over as the team’s head coach, the death lineup became a staple of their play.

At the time, the lineup consisted of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and Harrison Barnes. The goal was to create a lineup with no traditional big men, that could beat everyone down the floor on offense, create mismatches everywhere, and switch everything on defense.

Last year, the death lineup turned into what is known as the “Hamptons 5”, as Barnes - the weakest point - was replaced by one of the world’s greatest players, Kevin Durant. While Kerr only employed the lineup when he really needed it, the Warriors dominated when those five players were on the floor.

This year? Not so much. Through the first 22 games, the death lineup is not only less lethal than in year’s past, but actively bad. Check out these stats from Anthony Slater:

Here’s what the tweet reads. For reference, “offensive rating” is points scored per 100 possessions, “defensive rating” is points allowed per 100 possessions, and “net rating” is the point differential per 100 possessions.

Death lineup of 2015-16

Offensive rating: 142.0
Defensive rating: 95.0
Net rating: +47.0

Plus/minus: +166 in 172 minutes

Hamptons 5 of 2016-17

Offensive rating: 122.4
Defensive rating: 98.4
Net rating: +24.0

Plus/minus: +123 in 224 minutes

Hamptons 5 of 2017-18

Offensive rating: 107.6
Defensive rating: 118.8
Net rating: -11.2

Plus/minus: -16 in 56 minutes”

That’s . . . pretty shocking. And definitely not good. Some of it is due to sample size, and some is due to the league adjusting. But some is simply due to the team, and that lineup in particular, not clicking.

For reference, the net rating of the Hamptons 5 is about as bad as the Warriors’ team net rating is good. In other words, the once-deadly death lineup is turning opposing teams into the Warriors!

While this is something to be a little worried about, the team is still 16-6. That means they’ll be freakishly good if they get this potent lineup figured out.