2017-18 Kia Season Preview
One Team, One Stat -- Golden State Warriors make the most of their talent with historic assist rate
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2017-18 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Golden State Warriors, who shared the ball in historical fashion.
Last season’s Warriors recorded assists on 70.5 percent of their field goals.
That was the highest rate of the last 13 years and the fifth highest rate in the last 60.
The Warriors have enough talent to rank as a top-five offensive team without much cohesion. Klay Thompson (1.10), Stephen Curry (1.09) and Kevin Durant (1.05) all ranked in the top 16 in points per isolation possession among the 107 players who isolated at least 50 times.
But their ball movement makes the most of that talent and is a big reason why the champs set records for the highest effective field goal percentage (56.3 percent) and the most points scored per 100 possessions (113.2) in *NBA history.
* Effective field goal percentage [(FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA] can be calculated for every team in the league’s history, but possessions [FGA + (0.44 * FTA) + TO – OREB] can only really be estimated for the last 40 seasons (since turnovers started being counted in 1977).
Secondary assists (where there was a prior pass within two seconds and one dribble of the pass that was recorded as an assist) can be a better indicator of ball movement than assists themselves. And the Warriors’ 9.6 secondary assists per game were 2.8 more than any other team.
Almost every player shoots better off the catch than off the dribble. Last season, the league had an effective field goal percentage of 53.0 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers and just 42.5 percent on pull-up jumpers.
In his move from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Warriors, the percentage of Durant’s jumpers that were off the catch increased from 36 percent to 46 percent. He had an effective field goal percentage of 63.7 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers, the eighth best mark among 122 players who attempted at least 200.
Curry, meanwhile, was assisted on 52.4 percent of his field goals, the highest rate among starting point guards. His effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoot jumpers was 67.6 percent, which ranked fourth among the 122 players who attempted at least 200 (and first among 16 players who attempted at least 400).
Though he shot poorly, Draymond Green was still a critical part of the Warriors’ offense. He recorded an assist on 36.5 percent of his possessions, the fifth highest rate in the league and the highest among non-point guards.
Durant went from the team that ranked last in passes per possession each of the last two seasons to the team that ranked ninth (in 2015-16) and 10th (last season). He went from 3.8 isolations per game (seventh most in the league) in ’15-16 to 2.5 (20th) last season.
The Warriors have ranked in the top 10 in passes per possession even though they had the league’s shortest possessions on average. They’ve been the league’s most dangerous team in transition, which is where their unselfishness begins. Their 8.5 *pass-ahead passes per game ranked fourth in the league.
* Pass ahead = When the ball is passed from the backcourt to the frontcourt, traveling at least 18 feet toward the basket.
Even late in close games, the Warriors remained unselfish. With the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, they assisted on 64.0 percent of their buckets. That was not only the highest rate in the clutch, but also higher than the overall assist rates of 28 of the other 29 teams.
The Warriors have set a new standard for teamwork. It extends to their defense, where they’ve ranked in the top four each of the last four years. It’s scary to think that, in Durant’s second season with the team, they could have better chemistry on both ends of the floor.
WARRIORS NOTES – GENERAL
- Were the first team to win its first 12 playoff games (eventually winning their first 15) and finished with the best record (16-1) in postseason history.
- Were one of only four teams in the last 40 years to rank in the top two in both offensive and defensive efficiency, joining the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (first and first), the 2009-10 Orlando Magic (second and second), and the 2014-15 Warriors (second and first). Their NetRtg of plus-12.1 points per 100 possessions was the second best of the last 40 years, trailing only the ’95-96 Bulls’ mark of plus-13.3.
- Had the best record (32-10), the best offense (113.6 points scored per 100 possessions), and the best defense (101.8 allowed) in games played between the league’s 16 playoff teams.
- Outscored their opponents by 22.4 points per 100 possessions in the third quarter, the best NetRtg for any team in any quarter since by-quarter numbers started being tracked in 1996-97. Had the league’s best third-quarter offense and its best third-quarter defense.
- Have ranked in the top 10 in pace in 34 of the last 36 seasons, including each of the last 13.
WARRIORS NOTES – OFFENSE
- As noted above, their effective field goal percentage of 56.4 percent was the highest mark in NBA history, topping the record they set the season before (56.3 percent). They led the league in field goal percentage in the restricted area and from mid-range, in the first 12 seconds of the shot clock (59.9 percent) and in the last 12 seconds (51.7 percent).
- Were one of only two teams (Philadelphia was the other) that was worse than average in each of the other four factors (offensive rebounding percentage, turnover rate and free throw rate) on offense.
- 18.5 percent of their possessions were in transition, the highest rate in the league. Curry (6.0), Durant (5.7) and Klay Thompson (4.2) ranked second, fourth and 10th in fast break points per game.
- According to SportVU, they ran just 40.6 ball screens per game, the fewest in the league. They averaged just 19.3 drives per game, also the fewest in the league.
- Have ranked in the top four in 3-point percentage in each of the last eight seasons.
WARRIORS NOTES – DEFENSE
- Have ranked in the top three in opponent effective field goal percentage (and in the top five in opponent 3-point percentage) in each of the last four seasons. Last season, they ranked No. 1 in opponent effective field goal percentage in the regular season and in each of | the four | rounds of | the playoffs.
- Ranked in the top 10 in regard to opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area (ninth), on other paint shots (first), from mid-range (seventh), on corner 3-pointers (third), and on above-the-break 3-pointers (first). No other team ranked in the top 10 in more than three of those areas.
- Allowed their opponents to take 64.0 percent of their shots from the restricted area or 3-point range last season, up from 57.4 percent in 2015-16. That was the second biggest increase in the league.
- Had the league’s best defense after the All-Star break last season, allowing just 100.0 points per 100 possessions.
- Grabbed only 74.9 percent of available defensive rebounds, the second lowest rate in the league. Only New York and Brooklyn gave up more second chance points per game.
WARRIORS NOTES – LINEUPS
- Had the two best lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. The “Death Lineup” – Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Durant and Green – outscored its opponents by 23.9 points per 100 possessions in 224 minutes together. The Warriors’ starters – Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Zaza Pachulia – were the league’s best defensive lineup and outscored their opponents by 23.1 points per 100 possessions in 532 minutes together.
- Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Durant and Green was also the best lineup (minimum 50 minutes played) in the postseason, outscoring its opponents by 32.9 points per 100 possessions.
- Curry led the league with a raw plus-minus of plus-1,015. Green (plus-820), Thompson (plus-801), Durant (plus-711) and Iguodala (plus-527) ranked second, third, fourth and sixth, respectively. Curry’s plus-minus of plus-245 in the playoffs was the best raw postseason plus-minus in the 21 years for which the stat has been tracked.
- Scored 118.1 points per 100 possessions with Curry on the floor and just 102.4 (a rate which would have ranked 26th in the league) with him off the floor. That (15.7) was the biggest on-off-court OffRtg differential among 277 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team last season.
- Allowed just 99.1 points per 100 possessions with Green on the floor in the regular season. That was the lowest on-court DefRtg among players who averaged at least 20 minutes in 40 or more games. The 98.6 points per 100 possessions they allowed with Green on the floor in the playoffs was the second lowest mark among players who averaged at least 20 minutes in four or more playoff games.
WARRIORS NOTES – INDIVIDUAL
- According to SportVU, Stephen Curry led the league with 84 3-pointers in the first six seconds of the shot clock, more than nine teams had total. Thompson ranked second with 79 and no other player in the league had more than 50. Thompson took only 5.3 percent of his shots in the last six seconds of the shot clock, the lowest rate among players with at least 300 total field goal attempts. Curry (7.9 percent) had the fifth lowest rate.
- Curry led all players with 2.2 secondary assists per game.
- Kevin Durant shot 78.2 percent in the restricted area, the best mark among players with at least 200 attempts there. Thompson (65.7 percent) and Curry (62.8 percent) ranked second and seventh in restricted area field goal percentage among guards with at least 200 attempts.
- Draymond Green led the league in defensive win shares. Opponents shot 43.9 percent at the rim when he was there to protect it. That was the second best rim protection mark among 56 players who defended at least five shots at the rim per game in 40 or more games.
- Among 156 players who took at least 250 shots in 2015-16 and 500 shots last season, Green (-7.0 percent) had the second biggest drop in effective field goal percentage, from 55.1 percent to 48.1 percent. Only Miami’s Josh Richardson (-8.3 percent) saw a bigger drop-off.
- Andre Iguodala had an effective field goal percentage of 72.7 percent in the first 12 seconds of the shot clock and 46.1 percent in the last 12 seconds of the shot clock. That drop-off of 26.6 percentage points was the second largest among 284 players with at least 100 attempts in the first 12 and 100 attempts in the last 12.
- Shaun Livingston was the only guard in the league to play at least 500 minutes and attempt fewer than 30 3-pointers. He played 1,345 and attempted three, with two of the three coming in the last four seconds of the shot clock.
- JaVale McGee had an effective field goal percentage of 73.2 percent in the playoffs, the best mark among 93 players who attempted at least 50 shots.
- Klay Thompson led the league with 9.3 catch-and-shoot attempts (1.8 more than any other player in the league), 7.1 catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts per game, and 78 corner 3s. Curry had an effective field goal percentage of 67.8 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers, the best mark among players who attempted at least 300.
- Nick Young had an effective field goal percentage of 56.4 percent last season. That was a career high and up from 44.2 percent the season before. That jump of 12.2 percentage points was the second biggest (behind that of Tony Snell) among 156 players who attempted at least 250 shots in 2015-16 and at least 500 last season.
NBA TV’s Warriors preview premieres at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
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