Warriors’ Steve Kerr explains why it’s hard to play defense in the NBA now

Steve Kerr has always been open to discussing the NBA’s evolution. The Warriors Coach elaborated on the coaching growth over the years during a December interview with NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kerr appeared on KNBR 680’s “Tolbert & Copes” Wednesday, where the conversation led to him analyzing the lack of defense in the NBA this season.

Kerr, though, doesn’t believe teams aren’t trying to defend the opposition, rather it’s just been the way the league has transformed.

“I think it’s been an evolution over the last five or six years and some of it is [the] pace of play; everybody decided to play faster,” Kerr said. “Some of it is the influence of Steph [Curry] just shooting from where he does; now you’re seeing so many guys come across mid-court and pull up from the logo. That’s kind of common to see that in any NBA game now.”

Scoring is up this 2022-23 NBA season, as teams are averaging 114.2 points per game, the highest it’s ever been over the last decade. While Kerr acknowledged that teams are playing faster, he also admitted that NBA rules have changed.

“I think a lot of it is the rules,” Kerr said. “The NBA has really slanted the rules towards the Offensive player. You’re seeing the Offensive guys really gain advantages in so many different situations. I think it’s become almost impossible to play defense in a lot of cases the refs will tell you ‘He wasn’t in legal guarding position,’ and you’re like, ‘Yeah, but he barreled over my guy.’ What is a legal guarding position if somebody just runs right through you?

“But this is the way the league has gone over the last decade; it’s really become more open and free and Mostly with positive results, but I think we’ve gone a little bit overboard and we’ve taken away the power of some of the things that defense can do.”

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The Warriors are currently in the bottom five in points allowed per game (117.5). Only the Los Angeles Lakers (118.1), Charlotte Hornets (118.9), Detroit Pistons (119.6) and San Antonio Spurs (121.4) are conceding more points to their opponents.

Kerr knows the challenges of playing defense in today’s NBA, so he’ll have his work cut out to improve the Warriors’ defending this second half of the season.

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