Steve Kerr cannot believe CP3's staggering assist-to-turnover ratio pic.twitter.com/r0lIy1Tg7t— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 7, 2023
The Warriors’ traditional starting lineup — Curry, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Green and Kevon Looney — played 14 minutes against the Pistons. They were outscored by 12 points, getting pummeled to begin both halves.
That continues a concerning trend. That five-man group, typically the best lineup in the NBA the last couple of seasons, has performed poorly to start the season. It’s been outscored by 23 points in its 67 minutes together, spread over six games.
“It’s still early. It’s still a small sample size. I’ll lean into the fact that they’ve been a great group for three years now,” Kerr said. “But it’s a combination of some slow starts — Draymond being out for camp, Wiggins obviously having a slow start — that group hasn’t found its connection defensively. That’s where they’ve made their mark in the past. We’ve always had a great defensive rating with that group. So far, it’s not good at all. They need to step it up defensively.”
This is also the third time Curry has averaged 30 points on 50-45-90 shooting splits through his first eight games in a season — a feat no other NBA player has done.
Curry has also led the Warriors outright in scoring in all eight games, the longest streak to begin a season by a player at age 35 or older.
“He is one of the hardest workers to play the game,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson told ESPN of Curry’s hot start. “The sky is the limit. He might change the narrative of what it looks like to be elite till you’re 40. LeBron [James] is doing the same and Steph is following suit.”
“Without him, it was primarily Steph and sometimes Draymond”: Warriors’ Bruce Fraser on how Chris Paul has revitalized their offense (Exclusive) | Sportskeeda
Fraser: “Some teams just want to make Steph work. Steph can get off the ball now with Chris playing together. Chris can bring the ball up. Chris can playmake. Chris can set up our offense. In the past without him, it was primarily Steph and occasionally Draymond. With getting another play-making ball handler and leader, that in itself will take the workload off of Steph. It also gives us versatility in other ways offensively. Steph can be on and off the ball. We also have another high-IQ player that can distribute and score. Chris can still score. He hasn’t shot it well this season yet. But no one is worried about that. He’s a playmaker and scorer, a high IQ vet, a really good leader and a really good culture piece for our team. Chris is a pro and in great shape. He’s been a great fit for us.”
It's official: Chase Center and the San Francisco Bay Area will host the 2025 All-Star Game pic.twitter.com/3W9OkPmzxy— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 6, 2023
2. Harden needs to evolve.
It’s encouraging to see Harden pick up where he left off in the pick-and-roll, but playing with stars like Leonard and Paul George will require him to show more layers to his game. Come playoff time, especially, those two will be receiving more creation opportunities, which will leave Harden off the ball.
In the first half, while sharing the floor with Westbrook, Harden spotted up from behind the arc in the corner and on the wing. When the ball found him on one occasion, he passed up an open look and swung it to the corner. In the second half, he and Leonard both passed up open 3s on the same possession. For some strange reason, Harden’s still not jacking off-ball shots, even though it’s an efficient play.
“So that’s why I say, I’ll take responsibility for that,” Silver told Andscape. “We’re sending mixed signals. And if we want guys to treat this like a real game, and again, this is not about Finals intensity, it’s just a fun game. But if we want players to treat it that way, we have to treat it that way. And so, it means that the introduction is going to have to be a little bit shorter and halftime’s going to have to be a little bit more typical, starting in Indianapolis.”
Hollinger: It’s Nuggets, Celtics and everyone else, plus NBA In-Season Tournament madness | The Athletic
For 2023-24, what stands out is that both teams are thriving despite overhauling their rotations this offseason. Boston added Kristaps Porziņģis and Jrue Holiday, seemingly cashed in its Marcus Smart stock at just the right time and spent its first five games putting up absolutely goofy numbers: A team built on defense is also No. 1 in offense after hanging 155 on the Indiana Pacers.
The Celtics are outscoring opponents by a mind-blowing 25.7 points per 100 possessions with Jayson Tatum on the court, launching 3s at the league’s second-highest rate while making 38.9 percent of them, while all but eliminating corner 3s from opponents’ shot charts. More quietly, the Celtics also are pounding opponents on the offensive glass on their rare misses. The only quibble is with the second group, where recently extended Payton Pritchard has struggled and offseason trades thinned out other options.
In case you missed it at Golden State of Mind:
In the past we’ve seen Wiggins transition to more of a playmaker role when his scoring is absent, but this year he has just six assists in more than 200 minutes of action.
His on-ball perimeter defense is still very strong, and he’s been doing a good job lately of being active on the offensive glass to keep things alive. But otherwise, it’s been tough to watch.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
Curry’s prolific three-point shooting is exceeding even his incredbily-high standards for bombing away from deep. He’s averaging 5.7 threes per game, and has drilled 40 of his 82 attempts. That puts him on pace for 468 thre-pointers in 82 games, which would shatter his own record of 402 triples in a season. That’s slightly ahead of Chris Paul, who is on pace to make 25 three-pointers this year.
In the Eastern Conference, some guy who Nemanja Bjelica shut down in the 2022 NBA Finalswon Player of the Week. Good for him, I guess.