The Golden State Warriors continued their great start to the season, this time with a win over the Charlotte Hornets. With LaMelo Ball driving the offense, the Hornets are not an easy team to stop on the offensive end. But the Warriors stepped up, especially on the defensive end, to seal the win.
The Warriors had a lot of solid performers defensively. Draymond Green, who many consider one of the best defenders in the league, actually had a quiet night statistically with 1 steal. But the work he did to affect shots, draw fouls, and make the Hornets uncomfortable was great.
Jordan Poole and Gary Payton Jr. were fantastic on the defensive end. Poole had 4 steals in the game, whereas Payton Jr. emulated his father, with 3 steals and a block while putting up a solid offensive contribution for the Warriors.
The Warriors are now 6-1, one of the best performing teams in the league. In fact, they surpassed the Miami Heat as the best defensive team in the NBA. Not only that but their current defensive rating of 97.8 is the lowest in the NBA since the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons.
Given the fact that the 2003-04 Pistons are considered one of the best defensive teams to win the NBA championship, the Warriors will be thrilled with this stat, and their general performance to start the season.
There are a few caveats that we need to keep in mind. Firstly, it is still very early in the season, and the Warriors need to be able to maintain this rating for the course of the season to make any history.
Secondly, Golden State has had a relatively easy schedule so far, with their only tough test being the Los Angeles Lakers. As their competition gets stiffer, we will find out whether their defensive improvement is legitimate or not.
Golden State could improve with the return of James Wiseman and Klay Thompson. Both players are solid defenders and can make the Warriors better. In fact, Wiseman even revealed that Steph Curry spoke to him mid-game about their game plan for him once he returns.
But for now, the Warriors are one of the best teams in the NBA. Not just with their record, but with their defensive performance.