The Golden State Warriors were one of the biggest breakout teams in the NBA this season with a 47-35 record. There can be a lot of credit given to assistant coach Mike Malone in helping the team become better defensively. Malone has now left town to become the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings, and I think the team may suffer next season on defense without him on the sidelines.
The Warriors were 19th in the NBA in points allowed, giving up 100 points a game. Malone’s job throughout his career has been to turn around teams who were bad on defense. He did a great job with this Golden State team, but where do they go from here?
It is obvious that this team can score with the best of them, but will players like David Lee and Stephen Curry begin to fall off on the defensive end? There is definitely the potential for that to happen, and that would not be good for the Golden State’s chances going forward.
It is a storyline that must be watched when the 2013-14 season gets underway. Malone will likely turn things around in Sacramento, but left a team that could contend for a title within a year or two. I will be watching for players like Curry, Lee and especially Andrew Bogut on the inside. Bogut was hurt a lot this season, but did average nearly two blocks a game.
The Warriors lost more than just a great assistant coach when Malone left — they may have lost their defensive identity.