The Golden State Warriors move the ball in a manner that can only be described as artistic. The ball darts around the perimeter, and zips in and out of the paint, like a hummingbird circling a garden and grabbing a sip of nectar.
The Dubs’ passing brilliance was articulated last year in the form of 30.4 assists per game. That mark was tops in the league by more than five assists per game, and was the highest clip since the Showtime Lakers in the 1984-85 season.
You might think, then, that coach Steve Kerr is happy with the team’s passing. But that is not entirely the case, and it only took a few days of training camp for Kerr to break down an opportunity for huge improvement, as described by Drew Shiller of NBA Sports Bay Area:
We are the most unselfish team around, but we’re probably an average passing team in terms of our fundamentals. Our guys see everything and they move and they pass and cut; they’re totally unselfish. But you see on tape a lot a guy catching the ball at his shoe laces instead of in his shooting pocket.
Kerr’s critique is accurate: For all of Golden State’s selflessness, ball movement, and vision, there are plenty of times where the team is focused on passing the ball to the right player, rather than to that player’s right spot. Furthermore, silly and unnecessarily difficult passes have plagued the team in recent years, and last season’s assist totals were partially offset by having the eighth-most turnovers in the league.
Despite that, the Dubs had one of the greatest offensive seasons in NBA history. If they’re able to increase the quality of their passes this year? Well, that’s just even more unfair.