Warriors’ golden start has not only been driven by Steph Curry

Warriors' golden start has not only been driven by Steph Curry

After the first month of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Golden State Warriors are back. Despite Sunday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets, they have 11 wins, the best overall in the league, and six seasons after winning a record 73 games, they are on pace for 69 wins. They seem to have rediscovered their championship-winning recipe from the 2010s, updated it, and are using it to cook up the rest of the league.

On Tuesday night in Brooklyn, Golden State faces its biggest game of the season so far against Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. Before the season even kicked off, the betting books had labeled Brooklyn the favorite to win it all, but after just a month off the bell, Durant’s former Bay Area teammates are the ones playing the game. best basketball in the league.

Stephen Curry and the Warriors have emerged as serious contenders to win their fourth NBA title this season. They have returned to being a two-way behemoth, charting a familiar set of elite stat indicators that recall their streaks to the title over the past decade. Once again, they are among the league leaders in offensive and defensive efficiency, ranking second in points scored per 100 possessions and first in points allowed.

The Warriors won five consecutive Western Conference championships in part because they ranked in the top three in offensive efficiency in each of those seasons. But after a series of high-profile outings and injuries, the Warriors’ once fierce offense spent the past two seasons near the bottom of the league, ranked 20th in 2020-21 and last in 2019-20, when Curry lost. all except five games. This season, Golden State’s powerful offense is back, defined by three main characteristics:

  • Fast Pace: Golden State is ranked fifth in pace and first in fast break points per game.

  • Great ball movement: The Warriors are number one in assists per game and in assist percentage.

  • Elite Shooting: Coach Steve Kerr’s roster is ranked first in triples per game, percentage of effective field goals and true shooting percentage.

No one is scoring more points per game this year than the Warriors, in part because they are getting clean looks at the rim more than any other team in the league. Based on the Second Spectrum shooting quality measure – which estimates the anticipated effective field goal percentage for every shot in the league using factors such as shooting location, proximity of the defender, and the shooter’s ability to shoot – the shooter’s offense. Golden State is creating the highest quality shots in the NBA this season. And the ball doesn’t stick much in the bay – the Warriors have the fewest dribbles per hit and the lowest average hit time, too.

It all starts with Curry, who is not only one of the most dangerous scorers in the league right now, but also one of the best playmakers. He has always had a great sense of the game and a knack for organizing his teammates, but at 33, he could have his best season as a passer.

Consider that of the 45 NBA quarterbacks who have created at least 100 assist opportunities this season, no quarterback has created more efficient opportunities than Curry. The Warriors are averaging a ridiculous 1.34 points per shot these times. Curry’s assists have also enhanced many of the good scoring abilities of position players, and players such as Draymond Green, Nemanja Bjelica, Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton II possess higher effective field goal percentage than Curry. .

Kerr’s movement offense has always done a good job of creating opportunities for catching looks and shooting from afar, but the fact that this team is hitting 11.1 catches and shooting 3s per 100 possessions, number one in the league, Without the injured Klay Thompson, one of the best catch-and-shoot specialists in league history, he must terrify the rest of the league.

Right now, the Warriors’ starting five, which consists of Curry, Green, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney and Jordan Poole, is racking up 115.8 points per 100 possessions, which is elite, but again, it should only improve when Thompson returns. to action. Thompson has a 41.9% 3-point shooting percentage, second only to Curry among players who attempt at least five 3-pointers per game.

The signs are there folks, and the numbers don’t just suggest the Warriors are legit – they suggest they’re legit in a very familiar way, a way that usually sees Golden State playing deep in the month of June.

If there’s one reason to quell the excitement about this red-hot start, it’s the fact that the Warriors have had a relatively easy schedule and played more home games than almost any other team in the league. They’re fair points, but they are balanced by the fact that Thompson and James Wiseman haven’t yet donned a uniform to see action this season. When they do, the Warriors will be even deeper and more versatile on both ends.

And while neither of them will be playing Tuesday night in Brooklyn, the match should remain fascinating – and a possible preview of the Finals.

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