The Golden State Warriors will be able to get all four of their stars touches and create a special offense.
Stephen Curry scored 30.1 points a game last year. Klay Thompson scored 22.1 on 47% shooting. Draymond Green scored 14.0 while also grabbing almost 10 boards a game. That “Big Three” was fantastic last year. They found the perfect balance of scoring, rebounding, and passing between them. There was more than enough of everything to go around.
And then the Warriors added 28.2 points per game, 8.2 rebounds, and 5 assists in the form of Kevin Durant (stats via Basketball-Reference.com)
Immediately, people started to worry.
Would KD even get enough shots? Will Draymond have to purely become a passer? What about Klay? Will he get enough touches? Does Steph have to lose his magic and start exclusively distributing? The doubters were out in full force. And they had a point with all of those questions. How would four guys who are all so very gifted on offense possibly co-exist on one team?
Someone would eventually have to start deferring to the other guys, but who would it be?
But worry not, Warriors fans, for I am here to tell you that no one on the Warriors offense will have to start sacrificing their own shots and touches on the ball for the good of the team. Because the team is simply not set up like that.
Let’s start with Steph.
He was the NBA’s scoring champion and the leading scorer on the Dubs. And yet, he was still able to get a 32.6 assist percentage, a stat that measures the amount of buckets a certain player assists while he is on the floor. That means that while Stephen Curry, the NBA’s top scorer, was playing, he assisted on almost a third of all baskets scored by his team. The ball moves a lot in the Warriors’ offense. So much so that the leading scorer of said offense also whips out assists at a higher rate than other NBA top point guard Kyrie Irving (who has an assist percentage of 30.0).
Next, let’s look at Draymond Green.
Now, Draymond isn’t going to give you 30 points a night like Steph will. He will however, score enough every night to force the defense to respect his ability to put the ball in the basket, which opens up passing lanes for Dray. And Dray will take those passing lanes. Draymond averaged 7.4 assists a game last year, and he is possibly the best passer on the whole team. Will KD’s arrival mean that Draymond won’t be able to score as much? Therefore shutting down his possible passing lanes as defenses focus more on not letting his teammates get open?
Nah. Because, again, the Warriors whip the ball around so much that everyone is going to get touches, no matter what.
But will Kevin Durant, the Warriors newest superstar, get the ball enough? How will Steph get him the ball? Will Klay have to stop shooting? The answer to that one is ridiculously simple.
Let’s remember back to last season. Starting at small forward almost every night for the Warriors was Harrison Barnes. Now, Harrison Barnes was not exactly good last year. He was pretty bad in fact. And yet, his usage rate was about 16%, which is only slightly lower than DeMarre Carroll‘s, who is pretty much roundly regarded as the better player of the two. Kevin Durant is going to start in place of Harrison Barnes.
Now, if the Warriors could get Harrison Barnes to average almost 10 shots a game, it will be pretty darn easy to get Kevin freaking Durant the same amount of touches, if not more, and Kevin will be able to be ridiculously more efficient.
The Warriors simply move the ball so often that it’s going to be near impossible for an opposing defense to shut down four all stars all moving and cutting and weaving in perfect harmony. The Warriors averaged the most assists per game and were top 5 in the most passes per game. They whip the ball around more than FC Barcelona on an attack. What does that mean?
It means that in most possessions, 4 or 5 players are going to touch the ball, and are going to be able to get a good look at the hoop. The Warriors also were second in possessions per game last year.
Which pretty much means that they literally just have more chances than 28 other teams to score the ball. Which means more chances for everyone on the court to get a touch or two per possession.
So, Warriors fans, I ask you to calm down. It’s all going to be ok. No one on our team is going to have to take a “backseat”, because the Warriors just don’t play like that. They provided Harrison Barnes with more than enough touches and looks per game. Kevin Durant will get his too.