Good Morning Dub Nation,
The dichotomy between the Golden State Warriors’ 29-7 record at home versus their 7-27 record on the road has been well documented this season. This discrepancy makes it easy to see why the team has constantly hovered around the .500 mark, with the latest evidence being the team’s current eight-game winning streak at the Chase Center as opposed to their nine-game losing streak everywhere else.
A recent article from The Ringer aimed to find the source of the Warriors’ road woes. The article claims that Golden State’s problems can be attributed to opposing teams shooting 8 percentage points better from the three-point line against them on the road than at the Chase Center – nearly doubling the differential of the next closest team.
It’s a real mystery because they allow essentially the same shot quality regardless of where they play. Based on factors like shot location and defender distance, Second Spectrum’s shot-quality model estimates that Warriors opponents should be shooting only 0.3 percentage points lower on 3s at the Chase Center than elsewhere, a much smaller margin than the actual difference.
Instead of shot quality, then, the discrepancy appears to be the result of shotmaking. In San Francisco, Warriors opponents have shot 3 percentage points worse than expected from distance, according to Second Spectrum. In other cities, Warriors opponents have shot 4.9 percentage points better than expected.
That comes out to a home-road split of about 8 percentage points. For context, in the last five seasons before this one, according to an analysis of Second Spectrum data, the largest gap for any team was only 4.3 percentage points, from the 2019 Pacers. The Warriors, again, have that beat by nearly double!
The reasons as to why this is happening could be a combination of many things. The Warriors’ lack of point of attack defense causes overhelping in the paint, leading to wide open opportunities for opposing three-point shooters. This problem gets even more amplified when factoring in how role players tend to play better in front of a home crowd – especially when going up against the defending champions. According to The Ringer, however, a lot of these problems can be simply attributed to historically bad luck.
The problem is limited in scope to opponent 3s, yet it’s still massively important because the modern NBA is such a make-or-miss league. I’ve scoured the data and film, and I still haven’t been able to discern any convincing reason why the Warriors defense is so much worse on the road, beyond a sense that they’re suffering from a historically weird run of luck.
Head coach Steve Kerr agreed with this sentiment as he referenced the article in a recent interview with 95.7 The Game. He called their opponents’ shooting differential at home versus on the road “unheard of” as he shared his thoughts on the topic yesterday.
“The shooting differential and percentages for our opponents home and road is just unheard of,” Kerr said. “You look at all the data, all the shot charts, all that stuff — it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I do think there have been some close losses on the road that we really could have closed better and done a better job finishing games. We didn’t and that has definitely hurt us, but some of it is shooting variability and it’s kind of a weird deal.”
The hope is that eventually this will even itself out, but the Warriors are running out of time as seven of their final 12 games will be on road. At sixth in the West with a record of 36-34, Golden State needs every win possible to keep pace in a tight Western Conference race.
Here are the rest of today’s stories:
In case you missed it from Golden State of Mind:
- Warriors sign alleged creep Anthony Lamb to full NBA contract
- Steph Curry questionable for Friday’s game
- Player grades: Warriors vs. Clippers
- Draymond Green facing suspension after 16th technical
- Steve Kerr says the Warriors ‘came up short’ despite Curry’s 50-point night
Other Warriors News:
- What in the World Is Going on With the Warriors’ Home-Road Splits? (The Ringer)
- Steve Kerr: Rumors That Wiggins Won’t Return are “Just Speculation” (95.7 The Game)
- Warriors’ Draymond Green suspended 1 game after 16th technical foul (The Athletic)
- Steph Curry might buckle, but won’t break amid Warriors maddening season (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Warriors Well Represented in NCAA Tournament (NBA)
- Michael Jordan in talks to sell majority stake in Hornets, sources say (ESPN)
- Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic and why this NBA MVP race just got good (ESPN)
- Giannis Unplugged: On MVP race, surging Bucks and why he’s ‘f-ing desperate’ to win it all again (The Athletic)
- Lonzo Ball will undergo cartilage transplant surgery (NBC Sports)
- Atlanta Hawks sign Bogdan Bogdanovic to multi-year extension (NBA)
A tweet to end the week:
Stephen Curry celebrated his 35th birthday on Tuesday. Despite his age, the Chef showed no signs of slowing down as he cooked up a 50-point performance in the Dubs’ most recent game against the Los Angeles Clippers. In honor of that, enjoy this Curry highlight reel as Dub Nation looks forward to plenty more years to come.