Warriors -- spotlight on statistics


Warriors -- spotlight on statistics

Mike Kreuser

Tuesday's loss to Oklahoma City was the Warriors' 22nd game this season, wrapping up a third of this shortened 66-game schedule. At 8-14, the start has been less-than promising for coach Mark Jackson's first season, but how does it compare to Keith Smart a year ago?

In a normal schedule, a third is slightly more than 27 games. In 2010-11, the Warriors were 9-18 in their first 27. That's a .333 win percentage, so slightly less than Mark Jackson's .364.

Record aside, many of the team stats are remarkably similar. This year's team is shooting slightly better from the field (46.1 vs 45.3), but slightly worse from three-point range (38.2 vs. 38.8). The Warriors have averaged one more assist and one fewer turnover this season, but are also averaging just under two fewer total rebounds. One of the largest discrepancies has been offensive rebounding; this year's squad is averaging 3.2 fewer offensive boards (10.3 this season, 13.5 last).

Yet despite the many similarities, this is a different team defensively. Even with Oklahoma City's 119-point outburst on Tuesday, the Warriors are still allowing just under 6 fewer points per game (100.9 this season, 106.8 last season). The Thunder's 119 points upped that number by over a full point.

The Warriors are also scoring slightly less (98.5 this season, 100.9 last), but that number jumped 2.3 points after their last three games, when they've averaged 113.7 points per game. Part of that has to do with a slowing down of the game -- the Warriors are averaging just over two fewer possessions per game this season.

So despite the difference in total, they are actually really similar in terms of offensive efficiency (103.0 points100 possession this season, 103.2 points100 possession last). Defensively though, their efficiency has improved by 5 points per hundred possessions.

So how has Golden State been more efficient? The Warriors haven't forced more turnovers (TOs down .7 this season) and they haven't done better on the glass (opponents averaging .2 more rebounds).

The improvement has come from better rotations and some luck. The luck is free throw shooting. Last season, opponents shot 79.0 from the line and this season that number has dropped to 73.8. Since opponents average 28.5 free-throw attempts a game, that's a difference of a point a game without the Warriors having to do a thing.

But opponents are shooting worse from the field (45.2 this season, 47.3 last) and from the three-point line (37.0 vs 38.0). Opponents are also averaging 2.7 fewer assists per game. That adds up to better rotations on ball defense (which limits open shots created by a pass) and tougher looks at the basket. Those improvements demonstrate two things: Jackson's defensive emphasis and better effort from the players.

Unfortunately for Jackson, the improvement on defense has not made a huge difference in the win column. Right now the Warriors are on pace for a 24-42 season if they maintain their .364 win percentage. If Jackson's goal is to do better than a year ago, that's not going to cut it.

Last year's team took off after the first third of the schedule. After their 9-18 start, Keith Smart's Warriors went 27-28 in their final 55 games to finish with a .439 win percentage. The improvement was in large part thanks to David Lee and Stephen Curry getting healthy and an improved offense (106.6 points100 possession in the final 55 games). This year's team will benefit from a healthy Curry the rest of the way. With an improved defense, maybe it's time for Jackson to turn his attention to kick-starting that offense.

Mike Kreuser is a production assistant with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Refocused McGee 'blessed' to earn Warriors' final roster spot

Refocused McGee 'blessed' to earn Warriors' final roster spot

OAKLAND – After eight years as one of the NBA’s most intriguing projects, JaVale McGee was extended an opportunity to join the Warriors, the league’s successful franchise over the past two seasons.

Informed early Friday that he had made the roster, the 7-foot center celebrated by never leaving the bench in the preseason finale Friday night at Oracle Arena.

Though he had recovered well enough from a left knee strain to play, coach Steve Kerr opted to keep McGee off the court against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Which was fine by McGee, who after the game sat in front of his locker with ice bags wrapped from just above his knee to the bottom of his calf.

“I’m just happy, blessed, to have this chance,” he told CSNBayArea.com.

McGee earned the 15th and final roster spot by doing what the Warriors had hoped. He ran the floor well, blocked a few shots and sent a few lob passes powering through the bottom of the net.

“He had a good camp and he gives us something that we don’t have with our other centers, with that length and that ability to catch a lob and finish,” Kerr said. “He has the potential to help us. We’ll see how it all goes.”

McGee, 28, will join 34-year-old Anderson Varejao in sharing spot minutes behind starter Zaza Pachulia and top backup David West.

“I'm starting to figure out what the coaches want from me, and I’m starting to execute it,” he said. “Everything is going well.”

Selected by the Washington Wizards in the first round (18th overall) of the 2008 draft, McGee is now on his fifth NBA team.

Noting that he has no control over his playing time but will do his part to influence the coaching staff, McGee said he is here primarily to achieve has one goal:

“Win an NBA championship,” he said. “That’s it.”

Kerr sees shades of Iguodala, Livingston in rookie McCaw

Kerr sees shades of Iguodala, Livingston in rookie McCaw

While Kevin Durant is understandably the talk of the Warriors after shaking up the NBA landscape in his free agency decision, the player garnering the closest amount of hype going in the regular season was bought with the No. 38 pick in this year's draft. 

"The young kid Patrick McCaw, who's a second-round pick from Vegas, he's picked up everything so easy," head coach Steve Kerr said on KNBR's Tolbert & Lund on Friday. "He reminds me a lot of Andre (Iguodala) and Shaun Livingston, and not only with his build, but with his feel for the game." 

The Warriors used $2.4 million to buy the Milwaukee Bucks' second-round pick and make McCaw their new diamond in the rough, just three picks later than Draymond Green in the 2012 draft.

For McCaw, there can't be a much higher compliment from Kerr with himeself being such a big fan of Livingston. 

"Definitely I watch a lot of Shaun Livingston too, a big point guard who can make plays with the ball, can defend, and that's just where I see my game going," McCaw said at his introductory press conference for the Warriors in June.

From summer league through the preseason, McCaw only continues to impress. 

Shining in the Las Vegas Summer League, the versatile McCaw averaged 15.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.0 steals over 33.8 minutes per game. Playing in all seven of the Warriors' preseason games, the 20-year-old guard poured in 8.4 points, 2.1 assists and 1.7 rebounds per game while averaging 20.1 minutes.