By: COlin Krauss
The NBA should be on full alert. The Warriors look even better than at any point in the last two years.
The Golden State Warriors have started off the year scorching hot. They currently stand at 9-1 after a convincing win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Their only loss came in the form of a 2-point nailbiter to the Denver Nuggets. A busy schedule to start has done nothing to slow them down. They are the only team to have played 10 games so far.
The Dubs have the best Net Rating in the NBA, coming at +13.3. They have the best offense, with a 119.7 Offensive Rating, which is over 4 points above the next best team. They even have the 9th best Defensive Rating at 106.3.
After coasting through last season, crediting both boredom and fatigue after going to the Finals for four straight years, winning three, the Warriors have a new energy about them. Between Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson, they have a chance to go nuclear on any given night.
So far, they each have had a signature game. Curry scored 51 on the Washington Wizards, making 11-16 three point attempts. Durant had a ridiculous 25-point fourth quarter against the New York Knicks. Thompson eviscerated the Chicago Bulls by breaking the NBA record for three pointers made in a game (14)!
What’s even scarier is that these signature games have come with monster games from at least one other member of the big three. When Thompson broke the record for 14 threes in a game, Curry had 23 points on 9 shooting possessions and pitched in 7 dimes in just 25 minutes. When Durant scored 41 on the Knicks, Curry scored 29 points on 18 shooting possessions. When Curry scored 51 points on Washington, Durant scored 30 on 13-18 FGs to go along with 8 boards and 7 assists.
The Golden State Warriors are getting exceptional games from multiple superstars, and there is no means to slow them down.
But they are receiving contributions elsewhere, too. Draymond Green has turned up the defensive intensity and playmaking back to his 2016 days. Against Minnesota, Karl Anthony Towns was unable to to do anything on the offensive end when defended by Draymond Green. Green already has 6 games with 8 or more assists. He even has 4 games with 3 or more steals.
Rookie Alfonzo McKinnie has added a scoring option off the bench by making 10 of 17 threes so far this season. Jonas Jerebko scored a game winner on the Utah Jazz. Damion Jones feasts on lobs from the deep back-court rotation. DeMarcus Cousins has yet to even step on the court.
The Big Three is leading the way, however. Curry is looking his absolute best since KD joined the team. He has hit at least 5 threes in every game except one. Curry is also shooting a ridiculous 71.5% True Shooting Percentage. His 31.0 PER is near his career best in 2016. He’s averaging 32.5 points per game on 50.9% three point shooting. Every night is must-see TV when Curry is playing like this.
Durant has been just as special, playing his best ball since suiting up in the Bay. As of today, KD is averaging 27.8 points per game and a career-high 6.3 assists on an insane 56 FG%. His 25-point fourth quarter against the Knicks was some of the most jaw-dropping offense I’ve ever seen from the 7-foot marksman. The same can be said of Curry, who is once again firing shots from places on the floor that only the 2016 unanimous MVP was ever capable of.
For the teams going up against the Warriors, things may only get worse. Thompson, a career 42% three point shooter, is currently at 32.9% through 10 games. Before his Chicago explosion he was under 15%. But we all know that is going to turn around very soon. Because of this, the Warriors may have their best basketball to still come.
With three all-NBA level scorers, opposing teams are helpless on defense. This offensive firepower constantly opens up passing lanes for Golden State, which is why they are excellent at scoring off of cuts and lobs.
If Golden State remains at this level all year, then there are no other contenders for the championship this year.