Warriors Are Just Warming Up

Here’s the really crazy thing about the Warriors, as if 15-7 and a last-second victory at Miami on Wednesday night in their sixth different city in 10 days isn’t crazy enough:

That’s nothing.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News had the best perspective after Jarrett Jack found Draymond Green inside for the winning layup with 0.9 seconds remaining, calling the 97-95 building block the most significant Golden State moment since the 2007 playoffs of the We Believe club. Great call and a reminder that December games can be very weighty.

But imagine when the Warriors really start playing well. They’re at well enough right now, enough to be 5-0 on the trip that finishes with an Orlando-Atlanta back-to-back, enough to be 9-4 on the road after winning 11 times in 33 tries last season, and enough to hold the Heat scoreless the final 3:18. They’re just not close to hitting stride.

Stephen Curry is shooting just 43 percent, and that dip is not going to last. The other starting guard, Klay Thompson, is at 41.3 percent from the field, which means he is also due a recovery over the final three quarters of his second season. David Lee and Carl Landry, the real big-man tandem even if Lee and Festus Ezeli start, will get better after more than 22 games together. And if this is the coaching arc for Mark Jackson, after the gains from 2011-12 to 2012-13, he should be farther along still in April.

Youth is a big unknown moving forward. The Warriors rely on three first-year players – Harrison Barnes and Ezeli as starters, Green off the bench – and they could either grow with experience or hit the rookie wall.

Health is a big unknown, too. Andrew Bogut could be back from a fractured ankle within weeks … or could still be sidelined months from now, a timeline being kept purposely vague to end what had become constant questions about a supposedly imminent return. Either way, the presence of Bogut at close to 100 percent, at some point, makes the Warriors better in almost every area.

Golden State is 15-7 — an early 56-win pace. They’re stacking victories on the road with a lineup that hasn’t played together before, a roster that is inexperienced on some fronts and a coach who only this month worked his 82nd game on a bench in any role. There are so many obvious ways the Warriors can still get better.

Jack-to-Green was the perfect symbolic finish to Wednesday night in Miami, of course. The veteran backup point guard, acquired as part of a three-team trade in July, to the rookie backup forward, underlining a roster coming together and pointing out again the successful summer work of the front office.

This has been an impressive opening statement by the Warriors, even to those of us who picked them at the start to make the playoffs. Winning in Miami is the biggest moment, but also the latest. It just isn’t as good as things could get.

3 Comments

  1. Alex Lamar says:

    I agree with Scott that with the Warriors the best is yet to come. Their success is an example of what a solid front office and coaching staff can accomplish.

    Two points to consider:

    1. The team chemistry as exemplified by Stephan Curry who refused to force his offensive game in the face of Heat pressure.

    2. The improvements on defense especially when cutting off baseline penetration after funneling opponents to the baseline.

  2. slider821 says:

    This is a team in the purest definition of the word. Go Ws!

    • Brynamite says:

      Agreed. Lets see what they look like once bogut gets back. Could have a positive or negative impact depending on his health…