As the NBA season slowly unwinds, there have been several unexpected developments: The resurgence of the Knicks. The Clippers winning streak. The Lakers’ no-ring circus.
But one of the biggest surprises has been the success of the Golden State Warriors.
During last season’s truncated schedule, the Warriors could only win 34.8 percent of their games (25-41). After thumping the Clippers 115-94 Wednesday night, Golden State’s success rate is currently 68.8 percent (22-10)—second only to the Clippers in the Pacific Division.
So, then, just how good are the Warriors since the last time we checked in on them?
Are their accomplishments illusory?
Or do they have the stuff to assert themselves over the long haul as one of the elite teams in the tough Western Conference?
Heading the list is the dynamic scoring of fleet-footed Stephen Curry, who sports one of the quickest releases in the league. This guy can shoot the lights out from near and far, and his catch-and-shoot game is unparalleled. He’s a bona fide franchise player.
Then there’s David Lee, an aggressive sure-handed rebounder, who rarely misses uncontested mid-range jumpers (many of which are generated when he executes pick-and-fade maneuvers with Curry). His off-handed jump hooks greatly increase the effectiveness of his lefty assaults on the basket. Where he used to be a stat-minded player, Lee has become one of the most alert, unselfish, and accurate passers on the team.
Given sufficient time and space, Klay Thompson is a bull’s-eye shooter.
Harrison Barnes is a strong, active rookie with star potential. Even as he’s learning the pro game, he shows quick hands and a dazzling change-of-pace handle.
Carl Landry plays strong-armed defense, especially when challenged in the low-post.
Jarrett Jack is a savvy veteran, a mite slow but rawhide tough. His leadership is a critical factor.
Andris Biedrins can still rebound, block shots, hustle and be somewhat effective in his brief rotations.
Rookie Festus Ezeli has an NBA body.
On offense, coach Mark Jackson (whose body is swelling into Michelin Man proportions) preaches a wide variety of iso situations. For sure, like most NBA offenses, the Warriors initiate their sets with multiple picks, but inevitably wind up with somebody going one-on-one.