I'm not really sure what superlatives there are left at the midway point of this regular season. These Golden State Warriors have done everything they could possibly do in a 39-game stretch. Forgot the postseason seedings, injuries, or anything else for a second. What is there to even pretend to worry about? The dream season continued in a Denver Nuggets shellacking, a team that had nary an offensive system or a clue how to defend the Warriors offense.
Stephen Curry was superb in just 25 minutes; cutting, anticipating passes on defense, and dropping dimes. Klay Thompson literally scored a point per minute he was on the floor. Andrew Bogut stayed healthy and the rest of the top players got to rest in their fifth game in seven days.
There are stats that accurately acknowledge the type of dominance this team has exhibited in this 33-6 start. They've reached 30+ assists in as many games as the San Antonio Spurs last season, in less than half of the time. They've tied the franchise record for consecutive home wins at 16. Steve Kerr is so happy in postgame he gives out two-minute speeches for the simplest questions.
But on Martin Luther King day, the Warriors impressed with another one of their strongest features: depth. James Michael McAdoo came out of high school as a lottery pick, struggled in several seasons at North Carolina, and had to toil in the D-League until receiving a call-up contract a couple days ago. In his first game, McAdoo tallied up 11 points on five shots, five rebounds, and a skyscraping block that sent ripples of euphoria through the Oracle crowd. For the rest of the game, he rolled to the basket when he needed, boarded when he had to, and constantly was the ball on both ends. He's a little bit like Kenneth Faried in terms of energy and lack of offensive depth. You can see why the Warriors like him when considering his 7'1" wingspan.
The Warriors are one of the few teams in the NBA that own a D-League affiliate right in their backyard. Not only that but a team that runs an offense that mirrors the big league club. The Houston Rockets also do something similar but their D-League offense is juiced up to the point where raw numbers have to be discounted. So far, Justin Holiday, Kent Bazemore, Reggie Williams (if we're going into the time machine), and Ognjen Kuzmic are success stories that can seamlessly fit into the big league game. Those players might not end up as much more than role players but it's a nice set-up of a burgeoning excellent system.
1. Jim Barnett on the broadcast opined that there is no way players now can pull off the player-coach system that Bill Russell so successfully did in the olden days. While that may seem obvious given the intricacies of today's game and just how much sheer information there is out there, it's not an opinion we're used to hearing. Ex-players are much more comfortable analyzing from their own perspective when they played. Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal still think post-up games matter. Or that threes are unsustainable. They don't consider the present game in its format. It was refreshing to hear Barnett do so, so eloquently.
2. Stephen Curry has improved his all-around game to the point where the slight dip in his three-point shooting (as it always does before the All-Star Break) matters not at all. In the first quarter, he created a turnover by reading J.J. Hickson's eyes and challenging the passing lane without losing eye contact with his man. Then he made a backdoor cut after a shot fake and got a pinpoint pass from Andrew Bogut. Throw in the dip in turnovers and Curry isn't just an off-the-dribble pull-up savant anymore. He's quite easily one of the top-five players in the league. But you all knew that already.
The Golden State Warriors stay at home to take on the Houston Rockets on Wednesday at 7:30 PST.