The Golden State Warriors have gotten out of the gate quickly in the first quarter of the NBA season, surprising everyone with a 13-7 record. The team is dominating with its rebounding and playing significantly better defense even without center Andrew Bogut.
Now it is time to take a look at each player and give them their first-quarter grades. Most of the grades will be on the positive side, but other players haven’t quite lived up to preseason hype.
Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack have been great additions to the Warriors, but David Lee has been the biggest surprise of the season. During the past few games, he has literally just taken the games over single-handedly.
Here are my grades for the first quarter of the 2012-13 Golden State Warriors.
Stats used in this article were accurate as of December 9, 2012.
Stephen Curry has exceeded expectations so far this season.
The biggest concern going into this season, just like the past two seasons, was the health of Stephen Curry. Curry has put the lingering issues aside and has excelled as the floor general without being in the shadow of Monta Ellis.
Curry has made it look like the Warriors got the Curry extension on the cheap with the way he has played in the past month. He started the season shooting miserably, but has steadily improved since the first couple weeks.
Curry has been shooting 47.6 percent in the month of December and 50 percent from behind the arc. He has had 13 20-plus point games so far this season, and three out of the past five games, he has tallied 10 or more assists.
Curry’s stats so far this season are as follows: 19.7 PPG, 6.5 APG and 1.7 SPG.
Klay Thompson looks like he has returned to form after a short slump.
Klay Thompson has been continued his scoring machine reputation that he established during his rookie season. He went through a terrible cold spell where he couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn, but since he snapped out of that streak, he has been on a tear.
Thompson has scored over 20 points in six of the past nine games, and as a result, he has taken over a lot of the touches that were previously reserved for rookie Harrison Barnes.
This is supposed to be Thompson’s breakout season, and he has broken through the mini-sophomore slump. As good as Curry’s play has been so far this season, Thompson can only benefit from having more opportunities with the ball. Thompson is also improving on the defensive side of the court.
Thompson has a line of 16.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 2.3 APG.
Harrison Barnes has been hot and cold so far this season.
Harrison Barnes will be remembered for probably the most earth-shattering dunk of the season, but he has also disappeared in a lot of games this season.
Barnes had a streak where he scored in double-digits four straight games in November, but since that time, he has been less than impressive. During the summer, he lit it up behind the three-point line by shooting 57.1 percent. This month, Barnes is shooting a paltry 14.3 percent.
Barnes needs to be more aggressive and take his game to the next level instead of waiting for the game to come to him. He has all the skills, athleticism and defensive abilities, but he just needs to execute.
His points per game have been down this month, but he is still averaging a decent number of rebounds and assists.
Barnes is currently averaging 9.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 1.6 APG.
David Lee has put together a rock solid season so far.
David Lee has been the biggest surprise of the season, especially with the prolonged absence of center Andrew Bogut. Lee has really stepped his game up during this team-defining East Coast road trip.
Lee has put up double-doubles each of the first three games of the road trip, and during the last two games, he has posted number of 30 points with 15 boards and 24 points with 17 boards.
Lee might not be the best defender, but he is hustling and is really trying to instill the defensive culture change brought about by coach Mark Jackson.
Lee should continue to be a force until the return of Bogut and should adapt upon his return. Lee is definitely drawing All-Star consideration with his play so far.
Lee’s contribution has accounted for 18.5 PPG, 11.3 RPG and 3.5 APG.
Festus Ezeli has been a great surprise this season.
Festus Ezeli had to assume a lot bigger role this season, as center Andrew Bogut had to pull himself out of the lineup early in the season. Ezeli has used his big frame to muscle other players around and has held his own as a rookie
The biggest highlight was when he stuffed Blake Griffin in an early-season game against the Clippers. It brought credence to Ezeli’s defensive abilities, which he has carried on through the first quarter of this season.
Ezeli is not a huge scorer, but he has made some key shots along the way. He has taken a more limited role on this road trip, as Coach Jackson has gone with the small lineup and taken away Ezeli’s normal role.
Ezeli’s line so far is 3.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 1.0 BPG.
Carl Landry has been instant offense this season.
Carl Landry has made a significant impact for the Warriors this season from the bench. He has received increased playing time because of the Bogut injury and has continued with his instant offense approach.
He is still the main threat to get to the free-throw line because he knows how to draw fouls and will even throw in a fake before shooting, something that the team needs to improve upon. Landry has shown the ability to take games over in just a few minutes of offensive explosion.
He will need to continue this trend, even with his minutes being marginally cut on this current road trip. Landry needs to instill the confidence back into Coach Jackson to rely on him at any time during the game, especially while Bogut is still not back.
Landry currently has a statistical line of 13.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 1.1 APG.
Jarrett Jack is very comfortable with his role as a Warrior.
One of the best offseason moves that the Warriors made was the acquisition of Jarrett Jack for Dorell Wright. Jack has added instant depth and been able to play both guard positions with ease.
Jack has been dominant with his bench play on both sides of the court. He is the de facto leader on the court when he is in to replace Stephen Curry and has more of a driving style of play.
Jack is still playing 25.6 minutes a game off the bench and seems to be involved when Coach Jackson wants a grinder in the game.
Jack has averaged 9.9 PPG, 4.5 APG and 2.9 RPG.
Andrew Bogut cannot wait to be back on the floor for the Dubs.
Andrew Bogut has appeared in just four games for the Warriors this season. He tried to tough out an injury that turned out to be a lot more serious than what was originally disclosed.
When Bogut was on the court, he showed some of the talent that Warriors fans expected when he came over for Monta Ellis. He could make blocks, pass effectively, grab rebounds and bring a defensive presence.
Hopefully, Bogut will return sooner rather than later, and he will only add to this up-and-coming team’s arsenal of players.
Bogut’s four-game line this season is 6.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1.0 BPG. Those statistics should definitely increase upon his healthy return to the lineup.
Draymond Green has been called on to be a defensive stopper.
Draymond Green started the season looking completely lost and didn’t score his first bucket until the seventh game of the season versus the Atlanta Hawks. He would barely receive any minutes and didn’t really contribute on the positive side until he received 25 minutes in a game versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Green has taken advantage of the injury to Brandon Rush and has really excelled during the last two games of the East Coast road trip. He is starting to eat at starter Harrison Barnes minutes and is really getting physical in the rebound department.
Green needs to work on his outside shooting because he is very competent near the basket, but has been shooting 31.7 percent overall and 19.0 percent behind the arc.
Jackson really likes Green’s understanding of the game and will continue to give him time on the floor, especially as a defensive stopper and similar to Rush’s role. He needs to continue to build on that confidence and start picking up his offensive game.
Green has averaged 2.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 0.6 APG.
Richard Jefferson will have to fight for his playing time.
Richard Jefferson started off the season as a depth guy, a player who could fill in while the rookies steadied themselves and still contribute. He played that role well until he injured his right calf in a game at the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Since Jefferson has been on injury leave, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green have improved and taken over his minutes. I would assume that Jefferson will average below 10 minutes per game once he returns.
Jefferson is averaging 4.2 PPG, 1.4 RPG and 1.2 APG.
Andris Biedrins has been a lot more aggressive this season.
Andris Biedrins has improved himself from the automatic F in the past few seasons to earning a higher grade during the first quarter of the season. When he plays, he is actually putting in effort instead of playing on cruise control.
He is not returning to his double-double form, but he is showing up for his less than 10 minute per game average. He has fought for rebounds and come down with some. His free-throw percentage has also increased from 11.1 percent last season to 37.5 percent so far this year.
If Jackson can continue to coax him along and maybe add a few minutes, there might be some way to see what made this 26-year old (yes, he is still only 26) what he was.
His averages so far this season are 0.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 0.4 BPG in a little over nine minutes a game.
Charles Jenkins is trying to maximize his time on the floor.
Charles Jenkins is trying to work his way into the rotation and was dealt a significant blow when the Warriors added proven guard Jarrett Jack in an offseason trade. Jack has taken most of the minutes away from Jenkins, so Jenkins has to produce in a hurry during his limited game time.
Coach Jackson has been very happy with Jenkins' progress and notices that he works hard all of the time, as one of the players that is first in the gym and the last one to leave.
Jenkins has had to cope with his playing time being reduced from 17.5 MPG to currently 5.1 MPG. Jenkins is in a contract year, so he will make his mark even in limited appearances.
He earned the coach’s trust enough to play 15 minutes versus the Washington Wizards and was in the game until the buzzer sounded.
Jenkins' line in his limited minutes is 2.3 PPG, 0.6 RPG and 0.5 APG.
Jeremy Tyler is trying desperately to find time on the court.
Jeremy Tyler has only played in three games this season, with six minutes being the longest he has played. He earned his six minutes in garbage time, but he showed some of his tools.
Tyler made three out of four shots, snagged an offensive rebound and also stole the ball. He has potential, but with the current depth of this squad, the only action he will see will be in blowouts or if someone gets injured.
It might be a better idea for him to play occasionally in the D-league with the Santa Cruz Warriors just to stay fresh.
Tyler’s line in three games results in 1.6 PPG, 0.2 RPG and 0.0 BPG.
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