The Warriors are fun again. Unlike last regular season’s slog, the Warriors have been playing with joy and energy so far this season. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are performing alongside each other better than ever before, and each game features fireworks reminiscent of the 2015-2016 regular season.
As expected, the Warriors’ defense hasn’t been great to start. Their defense is only thirteenth best in the league, but I’m not concerned: when Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green put in the effort, the defense becomes one of the best in the league. Last year, they were similarly lacking defensively in the regular season, only to boast the best defensive rating among all playoff teams on their way to another championship victory. They should be able to turn on the switch on that end in the postseason.
The difference this season is on the offensive end. Let’s be clear: the offense last season was still a top-30 offense of all-time, according to Basketball Reference. If the Warriors maintain their current 121.5 offensive rating for a full season, it would be the best in league history—by a whole six points.
The Warriors are putting up outrageous efficiency, leading the league in both total threes and three-point rate. They’re shooting a ridiculous 58.0% on two-pointers and lead the league in assists and points per game. They’re playing at a faster pace than last year, although almost every team is.
The recipe for success this year is the continued development of chemistry between Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Earlier in their time together, there was a little friction about how the offense should be run with both stars on the court. The Warriors seem to do better when Curry is handling the ball, but Durant’s unrivaled ability to just get a bucket is too enticing to resist.
This year, they’re found a flow where both of them can find efficient looks. According to Curry himself, “It’s more of an understanding of how we’re going to get into our actions, how we’re getting the ball in the right spots on the floor and how shot distribution goes. Whatever the game calls for on any type of night, we know how to respond to that. A lot of it is unspoken, to be honest.”
Draymond Green is currently averaging 8.5 assists, a career high. Damion Jones is doing a fine job as a finisher and lob threat. Off the bench, Jonas Jerebko, Alfonso McKinnie, and Kevon Looney make up a much improved bench unit.
The Warriors’ offense can be even better. Klay Thompson is just beginning to find his rhythm offensively and should get into more of a rhythm once his three-point shot feels consistent again. DeMarcus Cousins should be an offensive threat when he returns and could really help the bench units with their scoring.
When it all comes together, Warriors fans get plays like this: an improvisatory dance between stars who know each other so well.