Saturday, December 29, 2012

'Dubs Being Carried by Their 'Big Three'

We're a little over a third through the 2012-13 NBA season, and with the book closing on 2012, the Warriors will look to bring their success into the new year and continue to be the biggest surprise in the NBA.

It's not that the Warriors didn't have expectations coming into this season, but a huge part of those expectations were based on the premise of Andrew Bogut being healthy. The fact that they've gotten nothing out of their big man, and have stayed strong through a 20-10 start is what's caught every body's attention and will have Mark Jackson looking at a coach of the year award should it continue. It's been a team effort on the Warriors part to say the least, but they wouldn't be were they are right now if it weren't for the play of three particular players. Those guys are Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee, who are all playing extensively for the first time together and have shown to have excellent chemistry. Although his shooting percentage could use a bump, Curry has been putting up career numbers otherwise, averaging 20 points, 4.5 boards and 6.5 assists in 38 minutes per night. The key number here is the minutes played, as Curry was coming off a brutal year in which his ankles would not hold up. David Lee is also putting up career numbers with 20/11 per night to go with over 3.5 assists. He's been especially key rebounding the ball, which has helped soften the blow without Bogut.

Then there's been Klay Thompson, who's averaging 16 points and 4 boards per night. His numbers don't necessarily jump out at you, but the 2nd year guard has seen a lot of minutes against bigger, better defenders while seeing plenty of minutes at small forward, and he's not missing a beat. Like with Curry, Thompson's shot selection could use some improvement, which would lead to a higher field goal percentage, but he's only going to get better with the more time he sees.

As for their other two starting players, the Warriors haven't been getting much, so it's a good thing they've been getting that consistent play out of the aforementioned three, and also getting huge boosts from the bench out of Draymond Green, Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack. Rookie Harrison Barnes has appeared to have taken a step back after really coming on strong to start the year. His minutes and production have taken a major hit with the emergence of Green coupled with the fact Jackson likes to run that 3-guard look a lot with Curry, Thompson and Jack. Fellow rookie Festus Ezeli is also going through a bit of a slump. He's still playing pretty well defensively, but really is obsolete offensively, gotten in early foul trouble frequently and has shown a propensity to turn the ball over in droves. He's still done better than expected after being pressed into duty in absence of Bogut, and was showing the ability to rebound, play exceptional defense while doing a great job on offensive glass in November. He's just got to start doing it with more consistency.

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