OAKLAND, Calif. — It doesn’t take a basketball savant to figure out that Kevin Durant would add an additional layer of scoring capability to the Golden State Warriors.
Initially, many feared Durant would either not have enough shots to find his rhythm or take shots away from Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. But now 20 games into the season, it is safe to say that neither the former nor the latter are true.
The Warriors scored 138 points while shooting 62.8 % from the field, an NBA high for any team this season. In fact, you have to go back 24 years to find the last Warriors’ squad that shot a higher percentage from the field in a single game.
The Dubs’ 21 three-point attempts against the Suns are the fewest they’ve shot in a game this entire season. Yet, Golden State still managed 14 made three’s.
But what truly makes this team scary (apart from having three of the top-six best offensive players in the league) is their improved ability to get to the free-throw line.
Golden State is averaging three more attempts from the charity stripe this season then they did last season. While this seems like a subtle increase, it is the difference between being towards the bottom of the NBA (23rd in 2015-16) to being in the top 10 —9th in 2016-17, 6th in FT % —in terms of free-throw shooting.
The Warriors’ one offensive flaw in seasons past has been their inability to get to the free-throw line, thus, overlying on contested jumpers. However, with the addition of Kevin Durant, the Warriors now have an added layer of offense via the free-throw stripe.
This means teams can no longer dare the Warriors to make hasty drives to the bucket by hugging the three-point line. This strategy now feeds into yet another strength of the now seemingly unstoppable Warriors’ offense.
Via Warriors PR
- The Warriors gave up 14 offensive rebounds that resulted in 21 second-chance points for the Suns. No bueno.
- Golden State is now 25-2 (.926) all-time while playing in their Slate Night alternate jerseys.
- Golden State’s starting forwards combined for 21 assists (Draymond Green: 13; Kevin Durant: 8) — the most combined assists by Warriors’ starting forwards since starters were first tracked in 1970-71, per the Elias Sports Bureau.
- JaVale McGee tallied a season-high 11 points off the bench.
- David West scored 10 points, his first game in double-digits as a Warrior.
- Andre Iguodala led the team with six rebounds and is the first reserve to lead the team in rebounds in a game this season.
- Draymond Green served up a season-high 13 assists to go along with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
- Kevin Durant scored 20 points on just SEVEN shots. Holy efficiency.