These are not your father’s Golden State Warriors and no one knows exactly who they are but they are improving.
Crikey, mate – it’s frustrating watching Andrew Bogut struggling with injury. For a guy who could possibly be the best center in the league, injuries have kept him more sidelined than not of late.
Nevertheless, the Warriors have five players averaging in double figures led by Stephen Curry’s 17.5 ppg and David Lee’s 15.5 ppg and 10.2 rebounds. With Jarrett Jack as a backup averaging 9.2 ppg as well, the Warriors have a great one-two punch at the point and a versatile scoring attack.
Without Bogut, however, they are vulnerable in the paint. Lee is not a strong defender and other than Bogut, they don’t have a single player averaging a block a game. Yet their opponents are still shooting under 43%.
The records reflect comparable teams and the Warriors are clearly an up-and-coming talent and with a healthy Bogut there would be real concern. As it happens, the Mavericks’ seesaw performances this season have been somewhat disconcerting anyway. The Mavs should be able to chalk up points in the paint if Kaman stays true, Wright is allowed to play more and/or Brand starts to resemble himself. They are likely to have less of a challenge than the guards have against a more versatile Golden State backcourt. Overall it ultimately will come down to Dallas again finding consistency among more than just a couple of players and putting up good numbers in more than one line of the stat sheet.
As the Warriors also like to share the wealth, it will also require a solid defensive performance. They are a good passing team with excellent ball movement and excel in the catch-and-shoot, including new addition Harrison Barnes, the seventh pick in last summer’s draft from North Carolina. A small forward, Harrison is averaging 10.3 ppg but is showing the hot hand increasingly, including a 19 point / 13 rebound performance in a victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
With any luck, some confidence and momentum is building for the Mavs as the competition is getting better, including a rematch with the Lakers who are no longer faltering.