They are off to a blazing start, and a big reason for that is the chemistry among the entire team. Everyone works well together, as coach Mark Jackson has really turned the entire roster into a team. Some players work better together than others, but really, it was hard to find the five best pairings because everyone gels so well as a unit.
However, the most important player to the teams' hot start (and the person whom you will see a lot of below) has been Stephen Curry. The fact that he has been healthy and playing at such a high level is the main reason behind the Warriors' success. Combine him with the help of a talented roster, and Golden State now has a team that is destined for the playoffs.
With the help of NBA.com advanced stats, there was a specific stat that jumped out in finding the best pairings for the Warriors so far this season. Something that helped make these combinations really stand out.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson
This first thing that leaped off the page with this pair is their plus/minus number. This combo leads the team with a plus-111 number. What was really surprising to see was that Thompson is a member of three of the top five plus/minus combos.
Even though Thompson hasn’t quite made the leap that many thought that he was going to make in his second year, his abilities have really taken pressure off of the rest of the team. While Klay is only shooting 41 percent from the field, he still has to be accounted for on the perimeter at all times. That really opens up the court for players like Curry to play freely and is a big reason why Thompson’s name pops up in winning combinations so frequently.
When Thompson is on the bench, Curry averages almost four points less than when Klay is on the floor with him, and he shoots the ball at a 37 percent rate. Compare that to a 45 percent rate when Thompson is playing in the same backcourt. With a defender keyed on Thompson on the perimeter, Curry is getting fewer double-teams and more looks.
The improvement of these two defensively, paired with Thompson’s ability to shoot—which allows Curry to do Curry-like things—make them one of the more devastating backcourts in the entire NBA.
David Lee and Stephen Curry
Well, this is what we have been waiting for.
Injuries have kept this from happening, but plays like this are why the Warriors are among the best teams in the Western Conference. Not only are Lee and Curry the two best players on the team, but they hold the second-highest plus/minus number (99), and the way that they execute the pick-and-roll is a thing of beauty.
With Curry finally healthy, these two are really what sets up the entire offense. Not only are they able to play a two-man game for 35-plus minutes a game, but the options that both have out of the pick-and-roll are limitless.
Both can take the ball to the rim, shoot or pass it off to any of the more-than-capable scorers on the team. With their individual successes and the team’s record, it’s a shame that both were not selected to the NBA All-Star Game. But at least one of these two will represent the Warriors in Houston.
David Lee and Carl Landry
The most telling stat when these two are on the floor together is their shooting percentage.
When playing at the same time, Lee's shooting percentage improves by eight percent while Landry’s shooting percentage jumps by…19 percent!
Amazing how much better both of these guys can be with an additional scorer in the post to take pressure off of each another. It's no wonder why Lee is having an All-Star season. It's because he doesn’t have to do everything on his own in the post anymore.
Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes
They don’t just make funny commercials; they play well together, too.
Barnes is the perfect fit for this Warriors starting lineup. He can play defense, shoot and get to the rim. He is really the prototypical small forward. What makes him even more valuable is Curry’s passing ability.
With Barnes' knack for cutting to the rim with or without the ball paired with Curry’s unique passing ability, it’s no wonder that in the restricted area, Barnes' shooting percentage is 11 percent higher when Steph is in the game.
It's plays like this that help Barnes get his shooting percentage high and why Curry averages 2.4 more assists when Barnes is in the game than when he is on the bench. Curry is going to play a big role in the development of the young rookie.
Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack
OK, I cheated on this one a little bit. There is no real stat that explains why these two work so well together. Their plus/minus number, while positive, ranks only eighth-best in the top pairings for the team.
But something as little as Curry’s assist number dropping while Jack’s rises with both in the game together tells a story.
Jack’s leadership and ball-handling has allowed Curry to play off the ball more, where he can be used more as a scoring weapon. Curry playing off the ball is as much fun to watch as it is successful.
And the Warriors are closing out games this year. A big reason for that is because these two are in the game until the final buzzer sounds.
It’s notable that on defense, Jack can take the superior offensive backcourt player, like in the Warriors' recent home victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder where he shut down Russell Westbrook in the fourth quarter, allowing Curry to use more energy on the offensive end. That subtle difference paved the way for the Warriors to win against the top team in the Western Conference and why they are usually in the game until the end.
These are arguably the Warriors' top five pairings. But the main reason why this team is winning is because everyone works so well together. If you think Curry is mentioned here too much, you may be right. But you saw what happened when he doesn't play and how valuable he truly is to the Warriors' success.
All-Star reserve or not!
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