Golden State Warriors Defense Game Strategy

The Golden State Warriors were having a tough time in the series in 2015. So on May 11, they decided to shake things up. In what came to be known as the Bogut-on-Allen move, the Warriors matched 7-footer Andrew Bogut with 6-foot-4 Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen instead of the expected center Marc Gasol. Bogut then proceeded to "guard" Allen in that no Warrior even approached Allen when he got the ball on the perimeter. The Grizzlies were confused. Allen, who had averaged 36 minutes in the first three games of the second-round series, logged only 16 in the fourth. The Warriors won the game, then the series, then the championship – all while revolutionizing defense game strategy.

An Idea Born Out of Dark Times

The Bogut-on-Allen strategy was born out of inevitability. The Warriors were having a tough time during the 2015 season. In the words of Ron Adams, the team’s assistant coach, the Warriors "were in trouble."

In the second game, the Warriors lost 97-90 after Klay Thompson and Steph Curry only managed to shoot a combined 3 out of 17 from 3-point. Adams proposed the move to coach Steve Kerr on the way back home. Kerr got on board following another harrowing loss in game 3.

Initially, the coaches worried that the Warriors would be reluctant to change a defense strategy that had seen them win 67 games, a league-best. However, Adams reports receiving "no pushback." The Warriors clearly thought it was a good idea and, given the season they were having, worth the try.

A New (Disrespectful) Strategy

The new defense strategy gave the Warriors an edge over their competitors. It allowed Bogut to box out Gasol, double-team Randolph (Zach), and roam the paint. Essentially, it required that the team disregard or even disrespect Allen, one of the league's best defenders. However, Adams maintained that the strategy was a respectful nod to the "things [Allen] did well," which was to muck up the game and make things difficult for the Warriors. In the end, the team made it so that the Grizzlies had to either bench Allen or play all halfcourt possessions 4-on-5.

The strategy was so unexpected that even NBA bettors had a tough time predicting what the Warriors would do next. It was a while before sports betting experts figured out the strategy and adjusted their odds and predictions accordingly. With the Bogut-on-Allen defense so popular now, you can expect better, more accurate stats for Warriors games. And if you don’t have a dedicated source for these numbers, you can read this guide for the best NBA betting sites in 2023 and find a reliable home for all your NBA betting.

A League of Copycats

The Bogut-on-Allen adjustment proved successful and a headache to non-shooting players. It was so effective, in fact, that this season, the Denver Nuggets copied it, matching Nikola Jokic with Phoenix Suns guard Josh Okogie. Adams explained that teams were more open to tying odd matchups now that they were guarding specific players conventionally. And he was right.

In the Denver-Suns game, Okogie was only able to log in eight minutes, and Torrey Craig did not see any action until way late into the game. This was because the Nuggets refused to guard them. In another game 5 match against Miami Heat, the New York Knicks set Quentin Grimes on the wing for the entire game and cut Josh Hart's time to nine minutes.

Celtics' Robert Williams III has been making waves since last season when he took on the Bogut-on-Allen role full-time, transforming his team’s defense.

Wrapping Up: Thinking Out of the Box

Eight years ago, the Warriors saw a problem and came up with a solution, one that transformed defense game strategy forever. Adams has described it as "think[ing] out of the box," something he thinks more teams should do. Playoff basketball is highly competitive; sometimes, an odd idea can become a stroke of genius. Adams also notes that defenses now need to leverage any advantage they can gain, even as more and more teams try to shoot and defend like the Warriors.

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!