No games until Thursday so it seems like a good time to write a bunch of words about stuff concerning the Golden State Warriors.
I'm not the biggest fan of power rankings because, to be honest, they don't mean anything. It's fun to look at current trends and updates with teams but people who are up in arms about where their home team is ranked aren't caring about the right things.
Or maybe this is just a person who is used to seeing his team ranked in the lower half of rankings talking.
I'm really not sure when the last time the stench of optimism was so shrouded with an air of impending gloom but this high ranking has me feeling a bit nauseous. Most writers have this ranking in mind thinking that Andrew Bogut will be back soon.
Without looking at stats and just watching every single game this season, it is clear that the Warriors have gotten markedly better at rebounding the ball.
Even though Andrew Bogut has barely played this year, the combination of Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins (surprise!) at the center position has helped on the glass. It also doesn't hurt that Harrison Barnes is averaging 7.57 boards in his past seven games.
Now it's stats time - I just had to preface this earlier with a bit of eye test stuff to loop you in.
Your Dubs are currently ranked third in Defensive Rebound Rate, grabbing 75.24 percent of all defensive boards (per Hoopdata). This is a bit fluky as it's only been 14 games and teams like Toronto and Indiana are ranked first and second, respectively. But the obvious improvement in the way that the Warriors are playing is easy to see.
The rebounding percentage is attributed to their ability to force a bunch of missed shots. They are tied for third in the NBA in opponents field goal percentage, at 43.1 percent a game. They are also ninth in the league in Opponents True Shooting Percentage (which adjusts for three-pointers and free throws) at 51.7 percent (per Hoopdata).
Explains some of the ugly games the Warriors have been playing in but if they win, who cares?
Not so fast. They are currently ranked 24th in the league shooting threes, coming in at a paltry 32.5 percent.
Most of the issues can be attributed to bad shot selection. Despite Klay's recent improvements, he is still shooting without his feet set and early in the shot clock. Without any true penetrators and big man to play through (Ahem, Bogut) there aren't enough open threes to go around.
However, Curry and Klay have been heating up in the past few games and Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes have also began to shoot more with confidence. Expect that number to go into the upper 30s by the end of the season.
Also expect Mark Jackson to give Barnes a higher portion of touches in the offense which should lead to more penetration and open attempts for shooters.
Barnes is the Warriors' best penetrator with his deceptive athleticism and surprisingly solid post-up game. If he can get his handle down, watch out.
Player Trending Up
It would be easy to pick Harrison Barnes here after that "Dunk of the Year" poster he put Nikola Pekovic on. He should have more offensive opportunities going forward after his latest slew of good games as well. But the player I see that's been playing much better of late is Stephen Curry.
Not only has he shot better and made better decisions with the ball, but he's become the unequivocal leader of the team.
His season statistics still aren't pretty, as he's shooting just 43.1 percent from the field but the progress he's made has been trending up the past few weeks. Curry sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter of the Mavs game but came back to lead his team down the stretch and in OT to grab a win.
There's also been more showmanship from Curry lately too. From him waving his arms to get the crowd involved, bouncing off his teammates during warmup intros and this.
That's your $44 million leader. And he's getting better.
Somehow got through that without thinking about his ankles. Good work all around, people.
Player Trending Down
I don't want to pick on an injured player here but the Warriors have looked so much better without Richard Jefferson on the court.
With Barnes playing more minutes and Green picking up the slack, the Warriors have excelled with both players on the court so far.
Take Green's defense on Kevin Love for example. No way Jefferson can do the same. Barnes and Green also let the shots come to them in the flow of the offense whereas there were points in the early season I saw Iso-Jefferson plays. Needless to say, it wasn't pretty.
Flashbacks of 2009 Devean George be damned.
That contract will be hard to get rid of and it isn't like Jackson will just bench a veteran because of injury when he comes back. We've just got to hope Barnes and Green keeps up the great play so Jackson will have no choice but to keep giving them minutes.
Also would like to direct my readers to the highlights of the third-place Lakers game last night. Not only is it somehow Kobe's 200th "Flu Game" but watching him jack up shot after shot while his teammates stand around like middle school kids at a dance is pure "LOL" material.