• Tonight on TNT: Warriors vs. Suns (10 ET)
Every week, NBA.com’s writers will weigh in on a few of the most essential matters across the league.
What surprises you most concerning the Warriors’ league-best 18-2 report?
Steve Aschburner: Not gonna lie, I thought it was going to take Klay Thompson’s return to slingshot the Warriors up the Western Convention standings. That appeared like an affordable ambition, staying someplace within the high 4-7 spots till their long-lost marksman – and to a a lot lesser extent, younger James Wiseman – returned to motion. However with Golden State’s protection clamping down at peak Finals-era stage (thanks, Draymond Inexperienced) and Steph Curry extending his prime past most non-LeBron NBA precedents, the Warriors haven’t simply bided their time. And to me, probably the most spectacular half so far has been mixing the urgency to win with veterans whereas nonetheless creating and recognizing in youthful gamers. That extra typically ends in mediocrity than top-of-the-standings excellence.
Mark Medina: A wanted caveat. Regardless of lacking the NBA playoffs for 2 consecutive seasons, the Warriors entered the season feeling optimistic about their future as a result of they’ve a wholesome and efficient Stephen Curry and Draymond Inexperienced in addition to mixture of veterans (Andre Iguodala, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney) and younger gamers (Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kaminga, Moses Moody). And oh yeah, the Warriors are additionally anticipating a four-time All-Star (Klay Thompson) and an intriguing second-year heart (James Wiseman) to return in some unspecified time in the future, too.
However I puzzled if the Warriors skilled any nice surprises throughout their greatest begin since they set the NBA report for many regular-season wins (2015-16) and received their first of three NBA titles previously decade (2014-15). So, I requested Warriors coach Steve Kerr that very query earlier than Sunday’s win over the Clippers.
“I feel the rebounding has been the largest shock,” Kerr mentioned. “We have now by no means been a fantastic rebounding workforce, no less than since I’ve been right here. I didn’t foresee it. We added some vets, and a few actually good gamers. However we’ve been close to the highest of the league in rebounding share since opening night time. In order that’s actually been a pleasant addition to what we’ve already achieved.”
The Warriors enter Tuesday’s sport in opposition to Phoenix ranked fifth out of 30 NBA groups in whole rebounds per sport (47.1), a stark enchancment once they completed twenty second final season (43.0), 24th in 2019-20 (42.8), eleventh in 2018-19 (46.2) and seventeenth in 2017-18 (43.5). The Warriors haven’t rebounded so properly since they completed seventh in whole rebounding in 2016-17 (44.4), fourth in 2015-16 (46.2) and sixth in 2014-15 (44.7).
Shaun Powell: That is going to sound bizarre, however the largest shock is … Steph Curry? You in all probability thought a two-time Kia NBA MVP hit his ceiling in these two epic seasons, one by which he was unanimous MVP. However Steph is all of a sudden a greater model of Steph. Who knew he had one other gear at age 32? He’s a greater shooter and, extra essential, a greater defender. There are different slight surprises, equivalent to Andrew Wiggins’ consistency and naturally Jordan Poole … however Steph, man.
John Schuhmann: That they’ve been so dominant on the rim. The Warriors have outscored their opponents by 12.9 factors per sport within the restricted space, which is nearly triple the differential of some other workforce (Washington is subsequent at +4.4 per sport). On offense, they leverage Stephen Curry’s taking pictures to get layups and dunks, both for Curry when he drives in opposition to stress or for his teammates when their defenders are compelled react to Curry’s motion. Their 70.7% taking pictures within the restricted space can be the perfect mark in 26 years of shot-location information. And defensively, they’ve been the perfect within the league in stopping photographs on the rim, with solely 22% of opponent photographs having come within the restricted space (the league common is 29% and that quantity has been simply 20% with Draymond Inexperienced on the ground). The Warriors ranked fourth in restricted space differential final season (+3.5 – the Pelicans had been first at +8.5), however they’re on one other stage this 12 months.
Michael C. Wright: The plain reply is the very fact Golden State ran up this report with out Klay Thompson. However did anyone count on Draymond Inexperienced to return to this stage of play? Inexperienced and Stephen Curry are a nightmare to defend due to their robust on-court chemistry. However we’re beginning to see that sort of cohesiveness coagulate everywhere in the ground for Golden State with gamers equivalent to Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Otto Porter Jr. amongst others, and that’s in all probability what’s probably the most shocking about this run. However then once more, is it actually shocking? Golden State dealt with final 12 months’s injury-riddled marketing campaign the easiest way it might in giving so many younger gamers prolonged minutes, and we’re beginning to see the Warriors reap the advantages of that. It seems like the identical music on repeat, however the fact is Golden State isn’t but pretty much as good because it’s going to be. Thompson appears to be monitoring towards a return quickly, and James Wiseman can be on the way in which again. A promising signal over the weekend emerged within the workforce’s choice to assign each Thompson and Wiseman to its G League affiliate as they ramp up the return-to-play course of. So, as soon as they’re each again the workforce will inevitably take care of considerably of an adjustment interval. However as soon as that’s out of the way in which, look out. These two upcoming video games in opposition to the Suns needs to be big indicators about how good the Warriors actually are.
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