One Team, One Stat: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant dangerous off dribble
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2016-17 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 can shoot off the catch or off the dribble.
Last season, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were the only two players with an effective field goal percentage better than 50 percent on at least 200 pull-up jump shots, according to SportVU.
A ball-handler who can shoot off the dribble messes with your defensive game plan. These days, almost all defenses want to have their bigs sit back on pick-and-rolls and force pull-up jumpers. Great pull-up shooters make opponents change how bigs must defend pick-and-rolls and, in turn, how everybody else on the floor reacts to the action.
Now, the league’s two best shooters off the dribble are on the same team. Curry takes most (73 percent last season) of his pull-up jumpers from beyond the arc. He hit 85 more pull-up 3-pointers than any other player in the league last season.
Durant, meanwhile, takes most of his (65 percent last season) from inside the arc. And his 49.5 percent from mid-range (between the paint and the 3-point line) was the best mark among 86 players who attempted at least 200 shots there. (New teammate David West ranked third.)
The Warriors led the league in offensive efficiency last season, scoring 112.5 points per 100 possessions, but they only scored 102.9 per 100 with Curry on the bench. The Oklahoma City Thunder, meanwhile, scored 113.4 points per 100 possessions with Durant on the floor. Warriors coach Steve Kerr hasn’t staggered the minutes of his best players in the past, but he still has the opportunity to keep one or the other on the floor at all times.
Of course, Curry and Durant both shoot better off the pass than off the dribble. They combined for an effective field goal percentage of 65 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers last season. And in the minutes that they’re playing together, they should both see more catch-and-shoot opportunities.
Last season, the Warriors had the third best offense of the last 30 years, scoring 8.6 more points per 100 possessions than the league average. And that was with only one of the league’s two best shooters off the dribble. This year, they’ll have both and maybe, the best offense of all-time.
10 MORE WARRIORS NOTES
Golden State’s effective field goal percentage of 56.3 percent last season was the highest in NBA history, eclipsing the mark (55.4 percent) of the 2013-14 Miami Heat. They were the only team last season with an effective field goal percentage better than 50 percent from outside the paint.
The Warriors’ opponents, meanwhile, had an effective field goal percentage of just 44.2 percent from outside the paint, the lowest rate in the league. According to SportVU, 45.1 percent of their opponents’ jump shots were catch-and-shoot, the lowest opponent rate in the league. And only 18.9 percent of opponent 3-point attempts came from the corners, also the lowest opponent rate in the league.
Golden State assisted on 68.0 percent of its baskets, the highest rate in the league. And, according to SportVU, it recorded secondary assists on 33.5 percent of their assists, the highest rate in the league. The next highest mark was 29.1 percent (San Antonio Spurs) and the league average was only 24.3 percent.
They outscored opponents by 20.0 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter, the best mark by any team in any quarter since 1996-97, when the Utah Jazz outscored opponents by 21.9 in the third period.
Over the last two years (including postseason), they’re 121-1 in games they’ve led by at least 15 points. The one loss was against Minnesota on April 5.
The Warriors outscored their opponents by 1,070 points with Draymond Green on the floor and by 1,022 points with Curry on the floor. Those are the two best plus-minus marks since the league started tracking play-by-play in 1996-97. Klay Thompson’s mark of plus-836 is the sixth best mark in that time.
Thompson hit 61 more catch-and-shoot 3-pointers than any other player. He was the only player assisted by two different teammates at least 100 times last season (170 times by Curry and 161 times by Green). Among players that logged at least 1,000 minutes both seasons, Green saw the league’s second biggest increase in assist ratio from the season before. He recorded assists on 32.8 percent of his possessions, up from 22.8 percent in 2014-15.
After scoring 113.1 points per 100 possessions through the first two rounds, they scored only 104.9 over the conference finals and Finals. They were held to just 100.6 points per 100 possessions over the last five games of The Finals.
Shot 13-for-24 (54 percent) on clutch 3-pointers through the first three rounds of the playoffs, but 0-for-7 on clutch threes in The Finals.
In the playoffs, they outscored their opponents by 140 points in 879 minutes with Green on the floor, but were outscored by 35 points with 278 minutes with Green on the bench.
NBA TV’s Warriors preview premieres at 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.
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