Golden State Warriors ‘Light Years Ahead’ Of Competition

After adding Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors have continued to make strides and move farther ahead of their NBA competition.

The NBA is a dangerous league right now. Western Conference teams such as the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers and of course the San Antonio Spurs are playing great basketball right now. Five teams in the West, including the Golden State Warriors, are on pace to win 50 games this season.

Of course there’s still a King to contend with out East too, with LeBron James having maybe his best-ever season for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

LeBron, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden and Russell Westbrook all are having MVP-caliber seasons, with Harden and Westbrook doing things that haven’t been done in literally decades.

Despite all of that, the Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA and they’re clearly ahead of the second-place squad.

The Warriors are first in points per game, first in offensive rating, second in defensive rating and first in net rating, outscoring opposing teams by 12.8 points per game.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob caught and continues to catch flak from all sides about his comments saying the Dubs are “light years ahead” of the rest of the NBA. He said that sometime last season, when Golden State was in the process of winning an NBA-record 73 games.

The Warriors then, of course, lost after having a 3-1 lead over those Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

They then won the summer afterwards by landing Kevin Durant, a plan that took years of work and proper preparation, plus a bit of luck, to pull off. Was Lacob really that off-base with his remark?

Now Golden State is back to winning ways, going 50-9 in the regular season so far and obliterating most teams they’ve faced. This is not a surprise.

Durant joined a core consisting of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Curry is the back-to-back NBA MVP, Thompson is maybe the closest to Curry in terms of raw shooting ability in the league right now and Draymond is a game-changing defender able to guard essentially anybody.

Even if it isn’t surprising that Golden State is the best team in the NBA, it’s still impressive. Here’s a complete list of NBA teams who have won their games by an average of more than 12 points throughout NBA history, according to basketball-reference.

Teams with a MOV (Margin of Victory) of more than 12
Miscellaneous
Rk Season Tm Lg G W L W/L% MOV
1 2016-17 GSW* NBA 59 50 9 .847 12.81
2 1995-96 CHI* NBA 82 72 10 .878 12.24
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/28/2017.

Even if last year’s Warriors won more games, this year’s team wins their games easier. Golden State pushed hard to break that wins record last season and it may have cost the team later on in the playoffs, especially the Finals.

It’s incredible, but the Warriors are chasing another Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls record this season, and they’re on pace to break it. It’s only fitting that some of the Warriors are thus also on pace for historic seasons.

Kevin Durant is currently scoring 25.8 points per game while shooting 37.8 percent from three-point territory and 60.6 percent from inside the arc.

He’s only the second player in NBA history to be that efficient–LeBron averaged at least 25 points per game on 37 percent from three and 60 percent from two twice in his Miami Heat years.

Durant’s true shooting percentage is better than LeBron’s ever was, though, and he takes more threes per game than LeBron did in either of those seasons. KD might be the most deadly scorer in NBA history.

Numbers aren’t even necessary to make that case. Durant is nearly 7 feet tall, with a shooting stroke almost as nice as Steph Curry’s. He’s nearly impossible to handle alone, and now he’s got two other deadly shooters on either side of him.

Curry is scoring nearly 25 points per game, and Thompson is adding 22 of his own.

Both Splash Brothers are making at least 40 percent of their threes and although neither will touch the insane 402 triples Curry made last season, both of them rank among the top five players in the league in terms of made threes, with Curry leading the way.

The Dubs are so good they don’t even need all three of their stars to be on to win games. Curry tied an NBA record by missing all 11 of his threes in the Warriors last game and they won by 11 points.

Golden State shot just 20.7 percent as a team from long-range, but they still pulled out an easy win.

That’s terrifying. The main weakness jump shooting teams have is when the shots don’t fall, they tend to lose.

The Warriors are good enough now to rely on Durant and Curry to score without making threes, and their defense keeps them in most games even if the offense isn’t as hot as usual.

It could be argued that Golden State is still figuring out their offense, and their team in general. Head coach Steve Kerr missed most of last season due to injury, and re-forming the old Warriors style was necessary with the addition of Durant.

It took those star-studded Heatles teams time to mesh together. They lost in the NBA Finals to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in LeBron’s first season there. It’s possible the Warriors suffer the same fate.

Even if they do, it wasn’t for lack of trying. What other team would win 73 games and then shake up their roster so dramatically? Golden State thought ahead–light years ahead, even–and made a move to get even better.

With the NBA moving at ludicrous speed, the Warriors deserve credit for staying ahead of the pack.

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