How Much Have Kevin Durant and the Warriors' Stars Sacrificed in the Preseason?
Obviously, preseason performance can only tell us so much.
Whether that's spring training in baseball, backup-filled games in the NFL, or scrimmage-type contests in the NBA, we can't really expect to learn too much from exhibition play.
I mean, just look at this.
The Warriors are going to be scary this season ðŸ‘€ðŸ˜¬ pic.twitter.com/eEAHCPooET
â€” Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 22, 2016
What do the initial numbers show us about how Durant and the Warriors' stars have meshed?
The quartet have yielded a pace of 109.6 possessions per 48 minutes. Last year's league average rate was 95.8, per Basketball-Reference.
Their offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) of 120.3 dominated last year's league-average rate of 106.5. Of course, we aren't really too into these marks. We already knew they'd be fast and good.
What I'm more interested in seeing is the usage change for these main cogs for the Warriors.
Durant has seen his usage rate drop from 31.6% last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder to 26.9% while playing with Curry, Thompson, and Green this preseason.
Have the incumbents seen a downtick, too? To try to gauge things, we'll look at Curry, Thompson, and Green's usage rates while playing alongside Harrison Barnes.
It's not that you can compare Barnes to Durant (sorry, Dallas), but this should help us try to find out how the team played within a similar core.
|Usage Changes||2015-16||2016-17 Preseason|
Despite Thompson's declaration that he wasn't going to sacrifice anything this year, preseason usage rates indicate otherwise. Every player's usage rate is down, which is to be expected.
Of course, that doesn't mean that these players won't produce at or near their historical rates. Their pace will put them near the top of the NBA, and their efficiency will be nearly unmatched. They can always make up for a dip in volume with an uptick in efficiency.
But if we can trust the preseason results, then everybody -- even Klay -- is sacrificing for the greater good.
And that's scary to think about.
The Warriors have a 51.2% chance to win the NBA Finals, per our algorithm.