Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors Are Breaking Analytics
The Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry are unreal. That is to say they're unrealistic. As in, you can't even say they're putting up "video game numbers" because you can't do the kind of stuff they're doing in any video game without a Game Genie.
That's it. They're putting up "Game Genie" numbers.
Popular tongue-in-cheek phrases like "video game numbers" aren't the only thing being destroyed by Steph and the Dubs (a cool band name, if you want it). Advanced analytics in general might need to be re-evaluated if last year's champs and the league's MVP can keep up their current pace. 10 games is still a small sample size, sure, but that doesn't make their numbers to date any less mind-boggling. They are maxing out a bunch of metrics, threatening to break a good number of records if they can keep it up. The scary thing? It's hard to say that they won't.
Here are some team numbers so far and how they compare to the all-time leaders in each:
|Stat||2015-16 GSW||Current Record||Record Team|
|Average Margin of Victory||17.1||12.3||1971-72 Lakers|
|Simple Rating System||13.9||11.9||1970-71 Bucks|
|Effective Field Goal Percentage||54.9%||55.4%||2013-14 Heat|
They are currently destroying the all-time records for Margin of Victory and Simple Rating System (a team rating that takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule), while knocking on the door of the 2013-14 Miami Heat's Effective Field Goal Percentage record (weighted twos and threes).
The Warriors currently have a ludicrously high nERD of 98.9. If you're unfamiliar, nERD is one of our in-house metrics. It's set on a scale from 0-100 (with 50 representing the league average) and is meant to be predictive of the team's ultimate winning percentage in a schedule-free vacuum based on performance-to-date. In other words, the Warriors have been damn near perfect, playing like a team that should win 98.9% of their games.
That would be an 81-1 record over a full season, in case you're wondering.
They can't possibly stay that dominant, but their MVP, Stephen Curry, is doing everything in his power to help his team make a run at the record-setting 1996-96 Chicago Bulls team and their 72-10 win/loss mark.
Like his team, Steph is on his way to making NBA history in a number of places if he can keep up his torrid pace.
|Stat||2015-16 Curry||Record||Record Holder (Year)|
|Player Efficiency Rating||37.0||31.8||Wilt Chamberlain (1962-63)|
|Win Shares per 48 Minutes||.431||.340||Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1971-72)|
|Box Plus/Minus||15.4||13.0||LeBron James (2008-09)|
|True Shooting Percentage||70.9%||70.8%||Tyson Chandler (2011-12)|
Curry is currently averaging 33.3 points, 5.2 triples, 5.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.6 steals, 0.3 blocks, and 3.0 turnovers per game, with a shooting split of 52.2% from the field, 47.3% from downtown, and 92.6% from the line. Seriously, his shot chart is pornographic:
When you input numbers like that into the formula for just about any advanced metric, you're in for an eye-popping result. He might not actually beat the records for Player Efficiency Rating, Win Shares per 48 Minutes, Box Plus/Minus, and True Shooting Percentage all in one shot, but it certainly looks like he'll at least threaten the top mark in each of them. Steph's 40.3 nERD through 10 games -- our metric that estimates how many games above .500 a league-average team would finish an 82-game regular season with the player in question as one of its starters -- would also be the highest we've ever recorded.
You can beat the "Warriors got a lot of injury luck during their title run" and "Regression is a-comin'!" drums all you want, but we're witnessing a truly special team and player and that should be properly appreciated. They might not reach the heights of being considered the best of all-time in their respective classes, but Steph and the Warriors certainly look like they'll be forcing their names into those conversations for their performances this season.