warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Warriors Are The NBA's Golden Standard

Jackson Safon |
April 13, 2015 | 11:39 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Stephen Curry and the Warriors are having a historically-good season (@D1Locke/Twitter)
Stephen Curry and the Warriors are having a historically-good season (@D1Locke/Twitter)

Everyone knows the Warriors are the best team in the league. They’ve had the best record the entire season. They have the league MVP, who also happens to be the most un-guardable player on the planet, they have shooting, playmakers, defenders, a deep bench, inside game, outside game and every other trait you could stick on a great team. 

But what most fans don’t know is just how much better the Warriors are than everybody else. The Warriors lead the league in points per game, but because the playoffs are a different animal, a more telling stat to look at is point per possession. The Warriors lead the league in both offensive and defensive points per possession. 

While they are known as an offensive juggernaut led by Stephen Curry, they are actually more dominant on the defensive end relative to the rest of the league. The gap between them and the second place San Antonio Spurs in defensive efficiency is the same as the gap between the Spurs and the tenth place Indiana Pacers. 

READ MORE: The Least Of The East

To make matters worse for the rest of the league, when taking the differential between offensive points per 100 possessions and defensive points per 100 possession, the Warriors not only lead the league, they lead the league by a large margin. How large? They’re differential is 11.5 points per 100 possessions. Second place is the Clippers, whose differential is 6.9 points. That gap is the same as the gap between the Clippers and the 13th place Thunder. To say the rest of the league should be scared is an understatement. 

But these points per possession statistics aren’t the only ones in which the Warriors are at the top of the league in. They are second in the league in both assist percentage (percentage of field goals under which there is an assist), and assist-to-turnover ratio. These are key stats to a successful team as they show team chemistry, lack of hero ball, and simply fundamental offense. They are also first in the league in assist ratio, effective field goal percentage (which takes three pointers into account), and true-shooting percentage (which takes into account free throws). 

So they’re not only the most dominant defensive team in the league, they’re far and away the league’s best offensive team. 

If that wasn’t enough to scare you, let’s take a moment to examine the depth and versatility of the Warriors. Off the bench they have Andre Igoudala, David Lee, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights, and more. The versatility of all of these players is astounding, and coach Steve Kerr does an excellent job of sending the right grouping of players in at the right times. 

But what really makes the whole machine run, aside from Steph Curry, is Draymond Green. 

Green’s ability to defend every position, including centers, as well as shoot and initiate offense, makes the Warriors the most lethal team in a long time. The Warriors have the ability to put Draymond Green at the 5, which gives a team that already has the best spacing in the league, even better offensive capabilities. 

A lineup that includes Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Igoudala, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green can defend at an above-league average level, and reaches new heights offensively. This unit can spread you out and kill you in any way you want. They’re favorite way, however, is through the Steph Curry and Draymond Green pick-and-roll. 

Because Green can shoot the spot-up three or roll to the hoop, and Steph Curry can not only score in any way imaginable, but also might be the most creative passer in the league, this combination is a deadly weapon. Surrounding these two with shooters and slashers creates an offensive group that strikes fear into opponents’ hearts on a nightly basis. 

But the craziest thing of all about this team, might be that there could be a separate article written about the importance of at least six of their players: their normal starting five of Curry, Thompson, Barnes, Green, and Bogut, plus Andre Igoudala are all incredibly important and impressive. 

READ MORE: Paul George's Timely Return

Curry is at the start of everything. Shooting, driving, passing, you name it. Thompson’s sharpshooting has made him a household name, but his defense has reached elite levels. Barnes can spot up, drive, guard 3s and 4s, and does a lot of the dirty work. Green is simply very good at a lot of things, is probably the defensive player of the year, and gives the Warriors more versatility than any other team. Bogut, especially after the All-Star break, has been a force to be reckoned with on defense. He is the anchor to that team and has his own claim for DPOY. Igoudala is a defender/playmaker off the bench, and when his shot is falling, this team is even more un-guardable. 

This Warriors team is so good, that if I had to choose between the Warriors or the field to win the NBA Finals, I might just pick the Warriors. 

Reach Staff Reporter Jackson Safon here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.