“Golden State was the best team in the league, but they also had everything go right for them. They didn’t have one bad break.” (J.J. Redick)
“Look at Golden State. They didn’t have to play [the Clippers] or the Spurs” (Doc Rivers)
Those are just a few of the quotes from NBA players, coaches, and media members who were all saying the same thing: The Warriors were lucky to win the championship last season. The fact of the matter is, the Warriors season last year was among the greatest the NBA has ever seen. And they just might be getting better.
Let’s look back on the Warriors season last year. They were number two in the NBA in Offensive Efficiency (109.7) and number one in Defensive Efficiency (98.2). They were first in team points per game, first in three point percentage (39.8%) and second in three pointers made (883). All of this lead to a sixty-seven win season, an MVP award for Stephen Curry (who averaged twenty-four points and eight assists and led the league in threes made, steals and free throw percentage), and an NBA championship. Not only that, the Warriors season also proved to be one of the greatest seasons ever. Their sixty-seven regular season wins is tied for the sixth most ever, and they rank third all time in Elo rating, with a composite number of 1796. All of this makes it pretty hard to see exactly how “luck” was the reason for the Warriors success.
However, despite the amazing play during the previous year, this years Warriors somehow look even better. They have won eleven straight game and are the only undefeated team in the league. They are first in the league in Offensive Efficiency (110.6) and third in Defensive Efficiency (94.1). They are first in points per game, first in three pointers made and three point percentage, first in assists and second in total rebounds. Their 1793.8 Elo rating through ten games is the highest ever (the 1997 Chicago Bulls are in second place with an Elo rating 8.3 points lower). And Stephen Curry has played absolutely out of his mind. He’s averaging thirty-three points per game, six assists, five rebounds, and a ridiculous five made threes per game.
Last season, the Warriors won sixty-seven games. This year, they look like the might get even more.
(Stats and Info from: Basketball-Reference.com, ESPN.com and Fivethirtyeight.com)