A puncher's chance: Warriors shaping up as scary playoff team
Curry could be back next week, and Golden State is starting to put it together
Sure, the Golden State Warriors haven’t been three games above a .500 record all year, but they’re poised to do it tonight. In what has been an improbable season all the way through, the Warriors are somehow coming together without Stephen Curry or Andrew Wiggins. When the highest draft pick in years couldn’t find a role in Golden State and they traded for a player they had just let walk away in the offseason, it could have gone south quickly.
But instead, the Warriors are starting to look like they’ve got a puncher’s chance.
Though Wiggins remains out indefinitely for personal reasons, Curry’s status was updated by the team yesterday. He’s resumed on court activities - all the way up to scrimmaging - and is rumored to be eyeballing next week for his return.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (32-30) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (33-31)
WHEN: Thursday, March 2nd, 2023 // 7pm PDT
WATCH: NBCSBA; TNT
Blog Buddy: 213 Hoops
Playoffs are coming, and the Warriors are coming along
For tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the stakes are fairly high. In a tight Western Conference, these interconference battles are twice as important. The play in tournament starts in about a month (April 11th) and while the Warriors don’t necessarily love where they are, there’s a whole lot to feel good about in Golden State.
Klay Thompson is looking lethal, stepping up as a leader on the court and the stat sheet right when the team needed him to be their captain the most. Draymond Green’s stepping right back into the destructive defensive force that prides himself on stopping whole teams, not just any one specific player.
But more importantly, the Warriors are showing flashes of looking scary.
Remember, still no Curry or Wiggins. Gary Payton hasn’t stepped on the court yet. There are some serious reinforcements coming.
And meanwhile, there are a lot of elements falling into place for the Warriors. For a team that leans so heavily on their identity, there wasn’t much question about what this roster would have to look like should the puzzle come together. Kevon Looney has been incredible recently. One of the best bargains in the NBA - and certainly on this team - Looney has emerged as one of the best rebounders in the league. According to Cleaning the Glass, he’s in the 86th percentile when it comes to defensive rebounding rate, and 91st percentile on the offensive glass. Whew, that’s pretty good!
Another way that the Warriors are starting to figure themselves out is that Jordan Poole is starting to settle down with his turnovers. A true Steph disciple, Poole’s loosey goosey style are jaw dropping in both good and bad ways sometimes.
This graph is a little visually backwards, in my opinion, because the higher value is actually worse. The lower Poole can dip on this chart, the better. Over the past four games, he’s managed to curtail his turnovers - which is going to get him halfway back to normal compared to last season. If Poole’s shot comes back and he gets the turnovers under control? Watch out!
All together, there’s a lot of elements that are lining up for the Warriors. It’s been a white knuckled ride that’s far from over, but Golden State is looking real punchy.
Every game matters, and the Warriors are going to win this one to finally get three games over .500. I’m pretty sure.