The Warriors’ Big Three
In his 13th NBA season, Stephen Curry is averaging 25.8 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.3 rebounds while leading the Warriors to a 42-17 record through 59 games played. He was voted an NBA All-Star Starter for the eighth time in his career, alongside his teammate in Andrew Wiggins who is making his first All-Star appearance.
Despite his midseason shooting slump, Steph still finds himself as the NBA’s leader in 3-pointers made (251) and in plus-minus (+584). He also has the second-best free-throw percentage in the league (91.9), only trailing his teammate Jordan Poole, and is top five in total points scored (1,393).
After missing consecutive seasons due to injury, Klay Thompson has returned to the court and has provided some much-needed energy for the Warriors. However, it was not a very efficient start for the guard out of Washington State; he shot under 40% from the field in his first five games played but still managed to put up 15 points per game.
Klay has now played 16 games this season and is proving to be getting more comfortable and efficient as time goes on. He is averaging 17.1 points, 3.1 assists, and 3.8 rebounds on 41.4% shooting. In his last eight games played, Klay has scored over 18 points per game and is shooting over 42% from the field, close to his career average of 19 points and 45% shooting.
Thompson has managed to score over 20 points in five out of his 16 games this season, all while being under a minutes restriction of 20-28 minutes per game.
He has also had several vintage Klay performances since returning, like going 7-9 from 3-point land in a 126-114 win over the Sacramento Kings on February 3rd. It was also against Sacramento when Klay erupted for his historic 37-point quarter back in 2015.
Before injuring his back, Draymond Green was on pace to win his second Defensive Player of the Year award. In 34 games played, he averaged 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks and was anchoring the league’s best defense.
With Green in the lineup, the Warriors’ defensive rating was at 102.8. Now being without him for 25 games, it has dropped to 104.8. In their last 10 games played, their defensive rating is 115.9, which is bottom five in the league.
It is Draymond’s ability to guard all five positions that makes him so impactful and is the same reason the Warriors haven’t been great defensively as of late. Golden State has also been struggling defensively in the paint, allowing opposing bigs to have great success.
In their last two showings against the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers, they allowed Nikola Jokic to have 35 points and 17 rebounds and Ivica Zubac to score 18 points in the paint while grabbing 8 rebounds.
These two games have made it apparent how much Golden State is missing Draymond Green and his 100.3 defensive rating (best in the NBA).
On a more positive note, the Warriors have had great success so far this season and they haven’t had their big three on the court for more than seven seconds. Their best basketball could be in front of them, assuming all three are back in the starting lineup at some point this season.