David Lee and Stephen Curry have been the foundation this season.
Statistics do not lie, and there have been some startling statistics from the Golden State Warriors so far this season. Yes, this season’s win-loss record is a key and favorable statistic compared to years past, but the Warriors have improved in a variety of areas.
Most of the statistics that pop out are favorable to the Warriors, but there are also a few that need a quick correction. The team has played a lot better as of late and should be molding into their playoff-style play.
Now is the time to get a better understanding of what makes this team’s heart beat, and each one of the statistics gives us a better understanding of the team's strengths and weaknesses.
David Lee has been a force on the boards this season.
The first statistic is a major shift in the right direction: the Warriors’ rebounding ability. The Warriors ranked 28th in the league last season with the number of boards they picked off the glass.
Yes, last season’s statistics aren’t really a true measure with the trade of Monta Ellis, injury to Stephen Curry and the sitting of the most productive players to sneak into the draft.
So, I will use the previous season as a reference, and the Warriors averaged 40.5 RPG, while giving up a league-high 44.8 per game.
This season’s team has been ferocious on the boards, and that is without starting center Andrew Bogut for a majority of the season. They have averaged the third-best number in the NBA with 44.8 RPG.
Mr. “Double-Double” David Lee leads the Warriors with 11.1 boards per game with Andrew Bogut (7.8 RPG) and Carl Landry (6.0 RPG) not far behind. The team has gotten in a much better position when the ball goes up on both sides of the court, and the Dubs have used that fact to their advantage.
The Warriors have a record of 31-10 when out-rebounding opponents. They are getting that last clutch rebound in critical, late-game situations, and that is one of the reasons why the Warriors have a winning record.
Stephen Curry leads the league in free-throw percentage.
The Warriors have improved significantly this season in the number of free-throw attempts per game. This statistic has been a major problem for a number of years because the Warriors' style of play has been settling for the open jumper.
The Warriors finished second to last in the 2011-12 season with only 18.7 attempts per game and dead last in the league with 20.7 attempts in the 2010-11 season. This year, the Dubs have been banging the glass harder, which has resulted in 21.6 attempts, ranking them 16th in the Association.
David Lee leads the team with 4.1 trips per game to the charity stripe. The league’s percentage-leading free thrower, Stephen Curry (90.7 percent), is second on the team with 3.8 attempts per game and free-agent pickup and notoriously physical Carl Landry is third with 3.6.
Bottom line, these are free points, and the Warriors have done a lot better job this season trying to maximize those opportunities. With the return of a more physical Andrew Bogut and Curry consistently driving to the bucket, the Warriors can eke out more close games down the stretch.
Festus Ezeli has used his big body to scare away opponents.
The Warriors have really tried to follow the defensive teachings of Coach Mark Jackson. Yes, they ran into a couple of bad losing streaks lately, but the team has put itself in a solid position to make the playoffs.
One of the benefits of the new focus on defense is getting in better position on the floor to prevent open shots. Opponents are currently shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from behind the arc.
The Warriors rank fifth in the league in defensive field-goal percentage, and the team has a 30-8 record when holding opponents under 100 points. The message is clear, and Jackson knows it. If the Warriors can have a solid defensive outing, which usually means holding opponents under 100 points, they have a very good shot to win.
The Warriors have been giving up too many three-pointers lately.
One of the statistics that stands out against the Warriors is the amount of three-point attempts opponents take. Every Warrior fan and coach Mark Jackson can remember that fateful night in Houston where the Rockets tied an NBA record by making 23 threes.
The cause of the increase in shots behind the arc is the way the teams have recently been playing the Warriors. The Warriors are having trouble breaking through screens or moving around them, and opponents are making that extra pass to a man that is sitting wide open.
Opponents are averaging 23.4 attempts from three each game, compared to 19.4 attempts last season. The singular benefit to the Warriors is that these shots are low percentage, and the Dubs are currently holding opponents to only 34.1 percent in three-point land.
As we near playoff time, the Warriors need to focus on this deficiency and lower that percentage. If Coach Jackson can position his defense better and players can learn how to break through and come around screens, the team won’t give up the momentum changers.
Carl Landry has contributed a lot more than what was expected.
For the hard-core fans that do not follow advanced statistics, win shares judge how much a player contributes to a team’s victory. Bill James developed the statistic for baseball, and it was later adapted to basketball.
The two obvious names have to be the biggest contributors this season with the play of Stephen Curry and David Lee. Curry has an estimated 8.6 win shares under his belt this season, while Lee is no slouch with 7.7.
However, there is a third contributor on the list, and he is not even a starter. Is it Jarrett Jack? He has been clutch all year long, but he is not the answer. Carl Landry is the guy who has earned the third spot in win shares so far this season.
Landry has been a vital contributor by backing up Lee and playing with Lee when Bogut was on the shelf. He is instant offense, gets to the free throw line and can rebound with a 6.0 RPG average. He has contributed about 5.2 wins this season.