The Return of WE BELIEVE: Can the Warriors Make the Playoffs "This" Season?
I modified the WE BELIEVE logo from the 2006 - 07 season to be a symbol of the Warriors hinting that this "is" a playoff team. The logo should be updated to reflect the 2010 - 11 season, but for now, it can serve as a place holder to get the playoff message across.
In one of my earlier articles, I outlined the following key points that I got from the preseason.
“First, David Lee and Andris Biedrins were playing TOGETHER. On the court at the same time.”
So far, they have combined for 169 rebounds, 8 blocked shots and 17 steals in eight games. That averages out to 21.1 reb, 1.0 blk and 2.1 stl per game between our starting big me. If one adds Dorell Wright, at 6-9, he’s gobbled up an extra 40 reb, 8 blk and 10 stl. It means that the Warriors are sixth in the league in defense when counting rebounds, blocked shots and steals. That’s a huge improvement from years past, but the defensive work needs to continue. It can get rusty in a hurry if players do not work at it.
“Second, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were starting in the backcourt. Ellis appears to still have a tendency to try and do too much by himself, but he’s gotten better and he may have a 3-pt shot.”
One usually thinks about offense when Curry and Ellis are mentioned. The dynamic duo has combined for 347 pts, 78 ast, 15 3-ptv after eight games. On defense, they have 39 stl and 3 blk. The 39 steals with 28 from Ellis are impressive numbers.
Next, the rebounding has improved even though the 3-pt shooting has not. The defense has improved, too, but it can be better. What was disappointing was the Warriors perimeter shooting at times. They were cold and needed a go to guy to get them going again. I’m still not sure who the go to guy will be, but he should be somewhere on the bench this year whether that will turn out to be Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, David Lee or all three. Don’t count on defense, shooting or rebounding to be there at all times, but hopefully during the season, we’ll be able to see what the identity of this team will be and who the real leader or leaders of this team will be.
The things this year’s team has shown from past year’s teams are — better rebounding, better defense, no Cohan, Larry Riley may be a good GM, no Don Nelson and his weird rotations, pretty good offense and great team chemistry. Take a look at the facts:
- Offense is 6th in the league at 104.6 ppg vs 102.6 ppg for the opponents
- FG % is .461 (at about the average of .457)
- 3-PT% is .361 (thirteeth in the league; .36 is about average)
- APG is at 23.0 (eight in the league)
- Rebounding is 44.6 RPG (fifth in the league)
- 5.8 BLK is (eighth in the league)
- 9.6 STL (third in the league)
The big negative is the .72 FT% as the Warriors are twenty fifth. They have Mark Price, who averaged 90% at the free throw line, as coach so he needs to get cracking. The Warriors also need better shot selection and improve their potent offense. On defense, they have to improve their in the paint and perimeter defense. Andris Biedrins still has not gotten his blocks and steals back to where they were during the 2008 - 09 season when he averaged a double-double. He had 1 stl and 1.6 blk back then. When Lou Admundson and Ekpe Udoh return the Warriors should be better in the paint on defense.
The Warriors can beat the LA Clips and Sacramento, but they will have to beat Houston, Utah, Denver, Memphis and Phoenix to be sure they're in the playoffs. Sure to make it are the LA Lakers, Dallas, Portland, Oklahoma City and maybe San Antonio. New Orleans looks excellent so far. Usually, it takes a .500 record to get in the playoffs, but in the WC, it is better to shoot for beyond that mark. Still, the West has gotten weaker and teams in the East have gotten better, so a .500 record may do it.