The Golden State Warriors have made an impressive turnaround this season. After only 23 wins last season they already have 16 this year. Their recent road trip finally started to get people’s attention. On their seven game road trip they went 6-1 and had impressive wins over Atlanta, Brooklyn and Miami.
Can they keep their good start going?
In Mark Jackson’s second season with the team he has helped instill a more defensive mentality. Last season they gave up 101.2 points per game. This was the second worst in the league. This season they have dropped that down to 98.4 points per game. While that still makes them middle of the pack defensively, it is an improvement. A big key this is that they are now fifth in the league in opponents shooting percentage.
The team is led by Stephen Curry, who is having a career best year in scoring and assist. He is not as efficient as he has been in past seasons as his three point and field goal percentages are both down. While that may be a sign for problems later in the season, the rest of the team is making up for it now.
David Lee is a strong second option to Curry. He is averaging 19.2 points per game. The two areas where he has improved this season are rebounding and assist. Both of those stats are the highest he has had since joining the team.
The depth of the team is what has improved and has been the key to the team’s good start. Second year player Klay Thompson has been the real breakout player. Last season, he averaged 12.5 points, 2.0 assist and 2.4 rebounds. This year those numbers have jumped to 15.7 points, 2.5 assist and 4.2 rebounds. His improved play is one of the main reasons the team has improved.
Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry are two new additions to the team. They have both played for multiple teams around the league but seem to have found a good a home with this team. While they may have put up bigger numbers on other teams, their style of play has meshed well for Golden State. They both have seen improvement in their efficiency.
Landry has brought timely rebounding as well as a solid 55.8 field goal percentage, to go along with his 12.9 points per game. Jack has improved his 3-point shooting while playing a solid all-around game.
The final key to the teams’ rise has been their rookies; Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green. They each see at least 14 minutes of action every night and have contributed. Barnes is having the best season of the three, but Green had the biggest moment. He hit the game winning basket against Miami with 0.9 seconds on the clock.
While they are by no means a championship contender, they do have a good mix of young players who should only improve as the season goes on. This should make them a solid playoff threat this season. There has been enough improvement, along with the potential for more from the younger players, to believe that they are for real.
Thanks for visiting HoopsHabit.com! We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section below!
HoopsHabit’s Regular Column Schedule:
Monday – NBA Awards Watch
Wednesday – NBA Power Rankings
Friday – NBA Stat Central
Sunday – Your NBA Fix Podcast