Golden State Warriors: Depth Key To Early Season Success


Andre Iguodala and the Warriors have had an impressive start to the 2013-14 season. ( photo)

The Golden State Warriors are off to a hot start to the 2013-14 NBA season and the depth of their roster has a lot to do with the team’s early season success.

When veteran swingman Andre Iguodala was acquired by Golden State, his prowess on defense was believed to be the motivating factor behind signing him to a four-year, $48 million contract.  Throughout his career, Iguodala has primarily been known as an athletic lockdown defender, with a knack for finishing at the rim on offense.  Thus far this season, however, he has been doing more than what the Warriors bargained for.

Golden State currently ranks fifth in the NBA in offensive efficiency, averaging 105.3 points per 100 possessions.  Their success on offense can be partially attributed to Iguodala’s surprising success shooting the ball from the field. Iguodala has shot 33.2 percent for his career on 3s. Through nine games in Golden State, Iguodala is shooting 17-of-34 from long distance, an impressive 50 percent. Iguodala shot 31.3 percent on mid-range jumpers last season as a member of the Denver Nuggets. With the Warriors, Iguodala has shot a ridiculous 75 percent from the same area on the floor.

Iguodala has not only been able to score efficiently, he has also done a good job at distributing the ball. He currently averages 6.1 assists per game and has done well running the point when Stephen Curry is either on the bench, or playing off the ball. He has clearly been a great fit in Golden State and it will be interesting to see how he continues to perform this season.

The Warriors were already a dangerous team offensively, prior to the addition of Iguodala. Sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have helped lead a balanced offensive attack. Golden State is currently leading the NBA in 3-point shooting, at 45.5 percent. Curry (20.3 points per game) and Thompson (20.4) have connected on 58 3-pointers, which is more than 12 teams in the entire league.

In addition to their hot start shooting the ball from outside, the Warriors have been a solid team around the basket. Being able to attack and finish at the rim creates a lot of scoring opportunities for their shooters behind the arc. A balanced attack has made this team much more difficult to defend and it has played a big role in their impressive start to the season.

Golden State is currently shooting 61.6 percent from within five feet of the basket. Forward David Lee is doing an impressive job down low. He is averaging 18.2 points per game on 52.8 percent shooting from the field, while grabbing 8.8 rebounds per contest. His low post game has been solid, as he has been able to successfully back down defenders and use his soft touch to finish at the basket. Lee is shooting 67.6 percent in the restricted area and has been the Warriors most reliable big man down low.

Aside from their top four scorers, Golden State has been able to rely on a few other players to contribute. Harrison Barnes has averaged 9.4 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting in a reserve role. Against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night, Barnes had his breakout performance of the season, as he went for 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field. He relies heavily on his mid-range game and after a shaky start to the season, he is currently shooting 40 percent from that area on the floor. It appears as if his foot injury is a thing of the past, and that should enable him to contribute around 20 or so minutes per game for the Warriors.

The health of center Andrew Bogut has also been a factor for the impressive start to the season by the Warriors. He has appeared in all nine games so far and has played in nearly 25 minutes per game. Teaming Bogut up with Iguodala has been beneficial to Golden State defensively, as they currently rank fourth in the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing just 96.1 points per 100 possessions. Bogut has done a good job of protecting the rim, as he is averaging 1.4 blocks per game. He has held opponents to 45 percent shooting at the rim and he will need to continue to be a force down low if Golden State’s run of success is to continue.

Golden State does not have to rely on one player to carry the load. Having a deep lineup will certainly benefit this team in the long run. Look for the Warriors to continue their hot start to the 2013-14 season over the next few weeks.

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