The Golden State Warriors Are Great, and Luck Has Nothing to Do With It
That Golden State Warriors run to their first NBA Title since 1975 was all luck, right?
If it was ever evident that this Warriors team was not a fluke last season, it is how they have burst out of the gates like American Pharaoh this season.
The Boys up in the Bay Area have been absolutely incredible to open their 2015-16 campaign with a 4-0 start. They are blowing teams out in the process, with their most recent being a 50-point win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
They own a point differential of +100 through four games, which according to Adnan Virk of ESPN, is a NBA record. This hasn’t been accomplished against the NBA’s bottom feeders either. The Warriors' opponents over these four games happen to be the three teams they faced in last year’s Western Conference Playoffs (New Orleans twice, Houston and Memphis).
A big part of the Warriors' incredible start is, of course, their offense, which continues to be the most explosive in the NBA.
Their Offensive Efficiency Rating (116.7) is tops in the league. The next closest to them are the Thunder at 111.8 and the Knicks at 107.4.
However, it is not just their offense that is clicking.
They have the league’s second best Defensive Efficiency at 92.2. The Utah Jazz are out in front with an 87.1 rating but have played one fewer game, and their two wins in three games are against teams who are combined 0-6 (the Sixers and Pacers) to begin the season. Congrats to Utah for a nice start, but the competition level between them and the Warriors has not been the same.
Putting this all together, the Warriors have the best nERD in basketball with a rating of 82.3. nERD is meant to be predictive of a team's ultimate winning percentage, based on that team's efficiency. The second best nERD belongs to the Cavs at 72.7. There is a bigger gap between the Warriors and Cavs than there is between the Cavs and Thunder (65.1), which are the second and fifth ranked nERD teams.
These are team statistics for the Warriors, and what the team is doing is what has been so impressive.
However, you cannot ignore what the reigning MVP, Stephen Curry, is doing on the basketball court so far this season.
In the four games, he is averaging 37 points, 6.3 assists and five rebounds in 31.8 minutes per game. He is out in front with a league best 49.2 nERD. The next best is Blake Griffin at 25.4.
Curry's nF Efficiency, which indicates his point differential during a single game relative to league average, is a ridiculous 18.3. The next highest among players playing 30 minutes or more per game is Derrick Favors at 9.4. The gaps between first and second in those two categories is like what you might see if an NBA player was going up against high school kids.
Curry has gone nuts not just in full games but in individual quarters. He has three individual quarters this season already where he has scored 20 points or more. ESPN Stats and Info pointed out that notable players like Paul George, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Tim Duncan have yet to put up 20 points in a game so far this season.
The MVP has been phenomenal and if he keeps this up, he is on his way to another MVP caliber season which hasn’t been done by a point guard since Steve Nash did it with the Suns back in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
A Team Effort
Only two players on the roster who have played this season have a negative nERD rating. That would be Brandon Rush and Leandro Barbosa who play a combined 24.8 minutes per game. Everyone else on the roster is positive.
Fresh off an offseason which saw him receive a new contract, Draymond Green has also been great for the Dubs, averaging 12.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and a 16.2 nERD which is 12th in the NBA. That is just ahead of LeBron James at 14.7 and Kyle Lowry at 14.1.
The Warriors are playing incredible basketball by every measure. They are doing it at home as well as on the road. They are doing it against teams that were in the playoffs last season, and the numbers just flat out don’t lie. Yes, this is after just four games, but these are numbers that you just don't see at the highest level our species can generate.
One can only wonder what Steve Kerr and his partner in crime, Luke Walton, are putting in the water in the Warriors' locker room. It must resemble that of the “Secret Stuff” that Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny gave the Tune Squad when they came back to upset the Monstars.