I know, I know, you probably already know the Warriors are coming out of the gate hot. They made history by starting off the season going 16-0 - surpassing the 1971-1972 Lakers, who held the record. We all know they are dominating the NBA, but let’s dive in deeper and find out why they are so good.
Let’s start with Steph Curry. One might ask how good is Stephen Curry this year? The answer is, very, very good. But we can do better then that. Let’s take a look at the numbers through his first 16 games.
He ranks 1st in, get ready for this:
Wow that’s mouthful. In addition to his outside shooting numbers, Curry is now shooting an improved 68% from the paint, which is incredible for a guard. I would describe him as an offensive juggernaut. In the past, we have labeled him as a soft defender, but he is making a much better effort this season, ranking 2nd in steals and 6th among guards in defensive rebounds.
But this does not rest all on Curry’s shoulders. The most impressive stat that I have found about the Warriors is the margin at which they outscore opponents. In 16 games thus far, on average they outscore teams by a total of 15.6 points a game. This is extremely impressive considering the next best team in this category, the Spurs, only outscore teams by an average of 9.2 points per game.
Ok, yes, the Warriors have an amazing core of players, but so do other teams. There is a dynamic that the Warriors possess which make them an extremely efficient team at both ends of the floor. From an offensive standpoint, the team leads the league in:
From a personnel standpoint they are developing Festus Ezeli, as their backup center and his scoring numbers and overall efficiency has greatly improved from last year.
On the defensive side, the team ranks 4th best in limiting opponents’ field goal percentages.
They also protect against the long ball, ranking 2nd in limiting teams’ field goal percentage from 25 feet out. Again on the defensive side, one aspect which I think goes unnoticed is the fact that they have four very solid defensive players at the wings: Draymond Green, Andre Igoudala, Harrison Barns, and Klay Thompson. These players are interchangeable on a nightly basis and can guard the first or second best scoring threat on the opposing team, giving Steph more energy on the offensive end.
One last point. It is also interesting to note that the Warriors did not add any notable players over the offseason, they even traded David Lee. There only addition was Jason Thompson, who is a solid role player, although not as effective as David Lee. One might think that with a downgrade in overall talent a team would get worse, but it seems that Warriors have trusted their system and figured out a way to win.
Look for this team to secure home court advantage for the playoffs and make another deep playoff run.
By Ian Riaf