You know what’s coming but you don’t know how to stop it. That pretty much sums up the Golden State Warriors in a sentence. Their elite guards have too much firepower to contain.
The team chemistry, the idea of “next man up” introduced by former head coach Mark Jackson and held onto by the playing group even after his departure – it all adds up to a team that is currently 29-5 and sitting on top of the hellacious Western Conference.
Even without centre and interior defender Andrew Bogut, the Warriors went 9-3 and beat formidable opponents such as Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Toronto during that stretch. In Bogut’s absence, role player Marreese Speights stepped up and contributed great numbers that included two games with 20-plus points.
According to ESPN.com, the Warriors are number one in the league in team assists, averaging just under 27 a game. Golden State also boasts the best offence in the league, averaging just over 109 points per game and is also top-10 in team rebounds per game. The average winning margin by this Warriors team is 11 points. In a league where many games go down to the last possession, this team seems to be blowing out its opposition on a regular basis.
Their three-point shooting is well documented. The Warriors sit fourth in threes made, sixth in threes attempted and fourth in three-point percentage. Teams that shoot a high volume of threes have a lower than average field goal percentage right? Wrong. Golden State has the highest field goal percentage as a team in the league. A team whose starting backcourt alone has shot 486 three-pointers so far this season is the most accurate from the field. Mind blowing!
Although MVP front-runner Steph Curry and fellow ‘Splash Brother’ Klay Thompson deserve large portions of credit, forward Draymond Green has come into his own this campaign. After starting 12 games total last season, Green has started all of Golden State’s 34 games so far. He has nearly doubled his scoring output, going from 6 PPG last season to just under 12 PPG so far this season. Green is also averaging 8.4 boards a game, the highest average among small forwards. Hell, the guy even recently notched up his first career triple-double!
But, on the other side of the coin, jack-of-all-trades Andre Iguodala has seen a decrease in his playing time. Iggy, who in his previous 10 seasons in the league started every game he played in, has yet to start any games this season but has played in all 34. But that personal sacrifice from a player who has proven ability is just one of the examples of team-first decisions that have helped the Warriors record their best start in recent memory. This particular sacrifice has opened the door for the young and talented Harrison Barnes to make an impact as a starter.
As the All-Star break approaches, it will be interesting to see whether or not this team can eclipse previous teams from the Bay Area and perhaps bring home a title for a franchise that hasn’t tasted NBA success since Rick Barry and his toupee won it all back in 1975.