- Teams: Golden State Warriors (10-7) at Detroit Pistons (6-13)
- Date: December 5, 2012
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
With the Golden State Warriors set to make their lone appearance of the season at the Palace of Auburn Hills tonight, Piston Powered reached out to Jack Winter of Warriors World to get his take on the Warriors.
Worth noting: Patrick Hayes submitted his thoughts about the Pistons over at Warriors World and the post can be found here.
The Warriors seem to be much improved this season despite Andrew Bogut’s limited minutes played this season before finally getting shut down indefinitely. How have the Warriors done this?
The Warriors owe their early success to two areas in which Bogut was supposed to and will eventually help them the most, defense and rebounding. Golden State ranks 13th in the league in defensive rating by allowing 101.1 points per 100 possessions, a feat hardly worthy of traditional heavyweights like Chicago and Boston but a major step in the right direction for a team that finished 27th in the same category last season. And it’s hardly happenstance that their almost-prowess on that end coincides with a huge, huge spike on the glass; the Warriors are the NBA’s best defensive rebounding team this season after finishing dead last in 2011-2012. Talk about a turnaround.
Golden State was expected to improve in both areas with Bogut manning the paint, but he’s played a grand total of 73 minutes for the Warriors this season. And even if he was healthy, such a steep ascent and general culture change on the defensive end would still be met with at least slight surprise. This has never been an organization known for making hay defensively, but Mark Jackson’s already changed that just a month into his second season as head coach. When the Aussie returns, don’t be surprised if the ‘Dubs take another step up the defensive ranks and Golden State’s winning ways continue.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are quite possibly the best young backcourt in the NBA, and yet there are times where they just look underwhelming. Thoughts?
What is the best attribute of both Curry and Thompson? Absolutely rare and deadly shooting acumen from the perimeter. These are two of basketball’s purest marksmen, with lightning quick and effortless releases combined with supreme balance and deft touch.
The problem for both thus far this season is that their on-court results haven’t aligned with that rightful reputation. Curry is shooting just 41.8% from the floor and Thompson has been even worse, at 37.5% overall and a dreadful 32.2% from three-point range. Part of that has to do with new roles that mean more responsibility and aggression off the dribble. Curry, in particular, has struggled finishing in the basket area more than anywhere else.
Another, potentially more damning issue? Both these guys are best playing without the ball, coming off pin-downs, curling around screens, and flaring to the wing or corner to catch-and-shoot. It’s likely both will get better playing as creators, and Golden State definitely needs them too presently and long-term to reach their offensive ceiling. Until then, the acquisition of Jarrett Jack looks more important than anyone anticipated, as Jackson routinely plays a three-guard lineup to get his best shooters going in the scoring column.
Andrew Bogut, Carl Landry and Jarret Jack were acquired prior to the start of this season. Which player has been the best out of the three so far in this relatively young season?
Bogut’s been AWOL for the vast majority of the season so he’s out of the running, but that doesn’t make the choice here any easier. Both Landry and Jack have been awesome for the Warriors so far, each providing a huge spark off the bench offensively and selling the team on a new identity of toughness and accountability.
Jack gives the team some much-needed offensive flexibility in the wake of Brandon Rush’s season-ending injury in the opener. He allows Curry to slide off-ball to shooting guard for several minutes a game, and works especially well in concert with Curry and Thompson. Jack can defend two backcourt spots for the most part, too, and has even served as a sometimes isolation scorer.
Landry, meanwhile, might be the league’s most underrated performer this season. He’s been a devastating scorer by any measure, shooting a red-hot 57% from the field despite a lot of one-on-one opportunities and registering a 20.77 PER. He’s even been better defensively than expected, allowing Jackson to play he and David Lee together during Bogut’s extended absence.
Though I wouldn’t know from experience, this feels like a parent being asked to choose their favorite child: every answer is right but every answer is wrong, too. Gun to my head, it’s Landry by the smallest of margins, but each has easily been among the league’s best offseason acquisitions.
The winner of the game will be…
Golden State. The Warriors have bounced back strong after every loss this season, only dropping two in a row in an overtime loss to Denver on November 10th. After a disappointing loss last night, Jackson will have this team ultra-focused to begin this long, very important road trip, and that means a GS win on the road. It won’t be easy, though; Detroit’s been a different team since Kyle Singler took Rodney Stuckey’s place as a starter.