I had a chance to exchange e-mail questions with Andrew Flohr, a contributor at Golden State of Mind, about tonight's game between the Warriors and the Clippers. You can check out my answers to his questions here.
LH: Is Steph Curry sustainable? I know he's good, but is he really this good? At one point he was shooting like 60/50 splits, now he's at 52/46, which is unbelievably good but a little more believable. His last 5 games, he's posted 48/43 splits, which are just a tick below last year's numbers. How good is he actually gonna be once we've played 82 and not 10?
AF: That is a fantastic question.I think Curry is putting up such ridiculous numbers early on because Klay Thompson is dealing with some back issues, and his shot has been noticeably flat. As he gets healthy I expect him to take some of the scoring burden off of Curry's back.
Logical thinking would point to the direction of Curry's numbers evening out at some point this season. I think he is certainly capable of shooting over 50/45 for an entire season but 48/45 is more realistic. You have to think that he will encounter a rough stretch at some point this season.
What I think is crazier than his shooting percentages this year is his Player Efficiency Rating. His current PER is 34.9. Wilt Chamberlain has the best single season PER in NBA history at 31.8, when he averaged 45 points and 24 rebounds in 1962-1963. Again, this is after only 12 games but I think he can finish with a top five single season PER, putting him in Lebron, Jordan and Chamberlain territory.
LH: Are you guys serious with the Draymond Green All-Star thing? The guy's averaging 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. He's a good player, but he's not an all-star. I know he makes a bigger defensive contribution than offensive, but those guys have never gotten a lot of love in ASG voting, and Green doesn't have big numbers. I think one of the craziest things about the Warriors is the lack of a second superstar--Thompson is good, but he's not really of the caliber of players in other 1-2 punches across the elite teams in the league. Wouldn't it be better to embrace the fact that it's a bunch of good players who click really well instead of just a few stars?
AF:This is a tough one. I think basketball fans today over rely on statistics. You make a great point about defensive guys not getting the credit they deserve, but we live in an sports culture that is infatuated with offense.
I feel that Draymond's true value cannot be defined by any statistic. The nasty screens that he sets both on and off the ball, the intensity that he plays with on a nightly basis and his ability to protect the rim and make player's alter their shots can be really hard to put into numbers (analytics nerds would beg the differ, I'm sure). It's too early to be talking all-stars but if the Warriors are 25-3 at the break it would be hard to imagine them being awarded only one All-Star. Hell, Kyle Korver made the All-Star team last season averaging 12 points 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game.
You also bring up a really interesting point about a second superstar, and I think this goes back to the over reliance of statistics. People expect superstars to put up 20/10 type numbers on a nightly basis, which you're not going to find on the Warriors outside of Curry. Thompson is an elite scorer in this league and a very good defender. I think Klay lacks the killer instinct that true superstars have. Now don't get it twisted, he will torch you when he's hot, but he is not hell bent on getting his 25+ points on a nightly basis.
If anything the Warriors second superstar comes off the bench in the form of Andre Iguodala.
LH: When do the Warriors lose? (I hope it's Thursday)
AF: You hope it's Thursday and I hope you're wrong. Looking at the schedule, the Clippers have the best shot at handing the Warriors their first L of the season in the immediate future. Both teams are familiar with each other and know what it takes to beat the other team. I doubt there is a team other than the Cavs that want to beat the Warriors as bad as the Clippers do. After that, the Warriors next biggest test is a seven game cross-country road trip that features two sets of back-to-back games.
But one thing to remember is that this is the NBA. Even players on the worst teams are still some of the best hoopers in the world. The Warriors squeeked past a pretty bad Brooklyn team at home last Saturday thanks to a missed Brook Lopez tip-in at the buzzer. They are playing with a supreme level of confidence right now and have the luxury of possessing the best fourth quarter shot maker in the game in Steph Curry.
The scariest thing about this team is that they don't even have their head coach. You can not underestimate the importance of a team's continuity in the game of basketball.
LH: Last year, the Warriors were one of the best teams in NBA History. The common sentiment was that they'd still be dominant this season, but perhaps take a half-step back from a run that seemed unsustainable. Are they as good, better, or slightly worse this year? I know they're 12-0, which says better, but do you think they'll continue this all season?
AF: Their start this season totally caught me by surprise. It's unclear how much influence Steve Kerr has on this team on a day-to-day basis during his leave of absence, but what is most amazing about this 12-0 start is that they are doing this all with an interim head coach.
As I stated before, continuity is key to having a great team, just look at the Spurs. The front office pretty much kept the entire roster from the championship squad a year ago in tact. They are the most complete team from top to bottom in the NBA.
Offensively, the Warriors are better. Defensively they are just as good, if not leaving some room for improvement. With that being said they still have one of the five best defenses in the NBA. What I think they gained most from last season is experience and confidence, which can go a long way for young players in this league. Festus Ezeli is better than last season, as well as Draymond Green and Steph Curry.
They have the necessary depth and experience to continue winning all season. The Warriors have a legitimate chance to challenge the record for most wins in a season, but it's still early so we will call that wishful thinking. It will be interesting to see what happens when Steve Kerr comes back, or dare I say IF Steve Kerr comes back (only kidding). I
As a whole, this team is better than last year, which is down right scary.
LH: You guys know Luke Walton is gonna be the Lakers' next HC when Kerr comes back, right?
AF: I don't care if Red Auerbach was coaching the Lakers, that organization will never move forward until Kobe Bryant retires. It's like watching Al Davis drag the Raiders into the depths of oblivion.
I think Walton would be a good fit for the Lakers with their abundance of young talent. Goes to show how much basketball brain-power makes up the Warriors' coaching staff.
What's most crazy is that all of the Warriors wins are being attributed to Steve Kerr, who currently has a career coaching record of 79-15 in the regular season. So no matter when the Warriors lose Luke Walton will remain undefeated. He has a great basketball mind and I wish him luck where ever he goes.. unless its the Lakers of course.