W's schedule a call for optimism?


W's schedule a call for optimism?

Mike Kreuser

The road to the playoffs in the NBA is pretty simple. Your schedule is made up of games you are supposed to win, and games you aren’t supposed to win. The key is taking care of business in as many of the former as possible while stealing as many of the latter as you can.

So far the Warriors have done well in both categories. They had letdowns November 5th in Sacramento and on December 3rd at home against the Magic, but ground out wins against Phoenix, Cleveland, Minnesota, Detroit, Washington, and Charlotte.

[RELATED: Ratto - Surging Warriors ratchet up expectations]

On the other side of the coin, the Warriors are making a brand out of winning games they probably shouldn’t. They beat the Clippers and Mavericks on the second game of back-to-backs on the road. They swept the season series against a strong Brooklyn team.

Beating Miami in Miami in the midst of a 5 game road win streak? That is a different kind of win. Now there is not a game on the schedule that feels unwinnable. Miami played well, but the Warriors played better.

Up to this point the schedule has been kind to the Warriors. In Golden State’s first 22 games, their combined opponent win% is 48.0. In their next 5 games, the Blue & Gold have a great opportunity to pad their win total against a combined 38.8 win% (including 4 of the worst 9 teams in the NBA).

[REWIND: Instant replay -- Warriors 97, Miami 95]

After the next 5, the Warriors enter the toughest stretch of their schedule. 11 of their next 15 games are against teams above .500. The combined win % of those opponents is 58.2. 

Before beating Miami, that stretch seemed a likely place for the Warriors to come back to earth after their scorching start. Now? Well, nine of those games are at home, five are against teams they have already beat, the Lakers are struggling, the Celtics aren’t what they once were, etc.

Optimism abounds.

Since the Warriors missed the playoffs with 48 wins in 07-08, the average win % of the 6-8 seeds has been 59.5. That percentage translates to around 49 wins. To reach that total, the Warriors need to win 34 of their final 60 games. 

Two days ago, the next 20 games looked like a make-or-break stretch for the Warriors. Now it looks like an opportunity to not only solidify their spot in the playoff race, but presents a chance to challenge the top quarter of the league. 

Mike Kreuser is a production assistant at Comcast SportsNet. You can follow him on twitter: @MikeKreuser

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.