Kevin Love and Stephen Curry will be teammates soon enough, but not in the sense that so many have expected. The Minnesota Timberwolves forward who wants to wear a new jersey will suit up for Team USA later this month, as will the Golden State Warriors point guard whose team has been debating this notion of trading for Love for so long now. But as the days have continued to pass without a deal, and as the Cleveland Cavaliers have continued to ask themselves similar questions about Love and what price they're willing to pay to land him, this much has become clear: The Warriors still care about defense — a lot. The Mark Jackson firing and Steve Kerr hiring in mid-May were undeniably driven in part by the desire to improve offensively, as owner Joe Lacob and so many others within the organization grew tired of seeing their wondrous scoring talents so often struggle in the former coach's system. But the post-Kerr question about Golden State's third-ranked defense and what lied ahead on that end of the floor has been quietly answered during these seemingly-endless discussions about Love. In short, they're not willing to ditch the defense. Their recent refusal to include guard and Timberwolves target Klay Thompson in the deal is rooted in this reality, as losing Thompson would not only leave Curry overexposed defensively in the backcourt but is compounded by the fact that Love — much like incumbent power forward David Lee, who would head to Minnesota if this deal got done — isn't exactly known as a two-way player. From Lacob on down, this is a major part of the Warriors' internal analysis and something that belies all the initial speculation about how this Kerr era might be defined. A starting five of Curry, Kevin Martin (who has been offered as a Thompson replacement), Andre Iguodala, Love and Andrew Bogut would be dynamic, to be sure, but only Bogut and Iguodala are known as elite defenders and the defensive deficiencies of the other three are well-chronicled. Yet Kerr had said from the start that he wanted a stretch four to add another potent layer to the offense, and so it seemed inevitable in those early stages of discussions with Minnesota that his much talked-about need would be filled by Love at any cost. Many of those early assumptions now appear off-base. And just as the Thompson component can be seen as a sign that the Warriors aren't willing to regress on the defensive end, there is other evidence of this unexpected development to be found on Kerr's coaching staff as well.
Defense the reason Warriors won’t include Klay Thompson in trade for Kevin Love
USA Today | Jul 20