Feb. 20, 2017
What We Learned From The Warriors Pre-Season
The Warriors came into this pre-season with maybe the most hype of any team in the history of the NBA. So while the pre-season is usually just a time for teams to try out which lineups they can use and see which players can make their roster, Golden State found themselves with arguably the most anticipated pre-season ever. Questions of all kinds flew around, but none quite more than "How will the addition of Kevin Durant affect this team"? So what did this new super team show us from seven pre-season games? Well, let's take a look now shall we?
1. This Whole Durant Thing Is Working
So many people tried to attack this team and find possible weaknesses. "There's only one ball, they can't all shoot it", "KD will ruin the locker room chemistry", "No one will be the main star and it will ruin the team". Well I guess we're just gonna have to throw all that out the window because (at least so far) none of these issues has come up. Kevin Durant has looked fantastic on the court, something fans have grown accustomed to seeing throughout his career. Now that he is on the Warriors, some thought they would see points decline for both Durant and Curry due to ball distribution. In tonight's game against Portland, Curry and Durant combined for 63 points. Clearly ball distribution is not going to be an issue at all for anyone on this Warriors team, especially if wins are coming along with it. Every time Durant is passed the ball for a score his teammates look like they're enjoying the addition and the benefits it's bringing. The Golden State Durant era is officially upon us.
2. Steph Curry's Injuries Are No Longer An Issue
Towards the end of the NBA finals it was very apparent that Curry was not at 100 percent. He was not playing at the level we're so accustomed to seeing. He couldn't make threes at will and he never quite got into that human torch mode that makes him so special. It was those very injuries that caused Curry to sit out the 2016 Olympics in Rio, so that he could rest up for the regular season. That rest has appeared to pay off. Tonight against Portland, Curry scored 35 points total, with 28 of those points coming in the first half. That seems pretty human torch like even for a pre-season game. Curry also had a play tonight in which he dribbled with almost video game like skill to create a three against Portland. While Curry might not quite get back to a 400 three-pointer other worldly like season, his play certainly does not look like it is about to take an overall decline.
3. Defense May Be An Issue
The departure of big men Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli may have gone a bit unnoticed when they actually took place,however, as the the season goes on, they could be seen as more unfortunate losses. So far through the pre-season, rim protection has been a mismatch for the Warriors. As of right now the three Centers on the Warriors 15 man roster would be Zaza Pachulia, Anderson Varejao, and Kevon Looney, with Pachulia starting. So far, teams have been able to attack the rim at will against Golden State, which is not a weakness the Warriors want to be stuck with if they want to be able to shift line-ups and rotations, something we should see a lot of due to the addition of Durant. Any rotation presented has a major issue with stopping points in the paint, no matter what benefits it may bring, it could be too big a liability. However, while this may be a issue, it shouldn't be Golden State's downfall. If the Warriors had to have a weakness, defense would likely be the preferred option given that they are a real threat to have one of the best offenses the league has ever seen. Unfortunately you can not rely on your offense to bail you out every night, so it could be something we'll see get fixed at some point in the season.
Regardless, this season should be extremely fun to watch for Warriors fans, and dreadful to have to watch if your team has the unfortunate displeasure of having to find a way to stop this super team. So sit back, relax, and enjoy (or tremble if you're playing them).