Strength in numbers

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I must admit I underestimated "strength in numbers." I always thought strength in numbers as a slogan represented a culture based on the team's collective strength, set plays involving more players, tiring opponents with deeper rotations, and beating opponents of some dominant individual players with team play dominance.

I clearly missed a bigger picture.

After watching the 2022 playoffs and re-watching all the games (I could not watch the losses easily), I have a new appreciation for what strength in numbers could stand for:

1. Strength in numbers means "numbers" and "analytics" and not simply "more team members." Strength in numbers means using analytics as much as winning with team play. It is clear from the 2022 playoffs how excellent and precise the adjustments were from game to game. Some of the adjustments seemed clearly based on analytics. The game plan, rotations, matchups, and individual plays reflected these adjustments! The way warriors played individual defense and what they were paying attention to on a game-by-game basis was impressive, showcasing their preparation in a context-specific manner. Perhaps many of these things could be done and were done in the pre-analytics era. I see an attempt at codifying the game plan and imagine a thorough institutionalization of what used to be observations and common insights to an entirely new level.
2. Team roster seems to use analytics more as well. The organization appears to depend less on the draftee's college experience or pedigree but takes the potential talent and uses its intense player development and support system. Given the investment in player development and support, the focus has shifted to analyzing and identifying the potential talent. We see a lot of 19- and 20-year players being drafted who may not be the favorite picks. Veteran additions fit a pattern as well. I am speculating more than knowing that Dubs would protect their trade secrets here and not highlight their inner working much.
3. To win, analytics can be used for more than to simply understand or influence your own team. I believe, once again, risking speculation here. Dubs are doing a great job of building analytics on the competition. They probably are building databases on the competition both at a macro level (that can be used for game strategy) and at a detailed level on individual play and player level to guide them on a specific game. They view each opponent in numbers, and they seem to be more effective in a series of 7 games than in a single game. I will not be shocked if Dubs have numbers and predictions on what type of plays an opponent may use in a specific game, including detailed breakdowns. You see Dubs strength more in playoffs, and they also get stronger as the series progresses.

Joe Lacob's infamous quote on 'light years ahead' makes a lot of sense to me now as Dubs reinvented themselves by investing in finding the winning formulas and putting a system in place to sustain and grow what is working. Is it possible that their analytics and tech capabilities are not at the levels of other NBA teams but at the level of tech companies and Fortune 100 corporations?

Strength in numbers may not just be a simple slogan for Warriors but a comprehensive strategy and a system to be competitive that can help them win consistently.

This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!