Watch Out For....The Warriors?
Trading away Monta Ellis last year represented a change in identity for the Warriors. They’re still the same high-offense, unreliable defense type of team, averaging 100 points both for and against, but losing Ellis’s 20 shots a game has allowed for the team to spread the ball a lot more and in result, the Warriors have seen their wins go up (11-7 so far this year) along with the growth of point guard Stephen Curry.
Jackson is really the perfect coach for the young Curry. A pass-first, old school point guard in his day, Jackson’s offensive mind has really rubbed off on the former Davidson phenom. Averaging career bests in points (19.1), assists (6.6), and threes (2.6) so far this year, Curry has even gotten some consideration for sleeper MVP votes. Over his last four games, Curry has averaged 21.8 points, 10.5 assists, and 3 steals, and has become the first Warrior since Tim Hardaway in December of 1992 to post 20 points and 10 assists over 4 straight games.
As far as the rest of the team goes, second-year swingman Klay Thompson has been quite inconsistent, but can be an extremely dangerous scorer when he’s hot. Carl Landry has quietly been one of the league’s most efficient bench players, shooting 56% from the field and averaging over 13 points per game. And then there’s one of the league’s best glue-players in David Lee. Along with being an efficient, double-double machine, Lee is also one of the league’s best passing big men, averaging nearly 4 assists per game so far this year. With the great Basketball IQ’s of Lee and Curry, the Warriors have a great battery to work through.
While a title-run or even a West Conference Championship are a bit too much to ask of the young Warriors, expect to see the team play more than 82 games this year. If Curry can stay on the court and the young starters (2 of which are rookies, 1 a second-year player) can grow, then the Warriors will be one of the more intriguing teams to watch down the stretch and a good sleeper for the 2014 season.