First, I apologize for the long delay in posting something new on Warriors Wire. I have been swamped at work with high school sports, the World Series and many other responsibilities. I’ve had to take a step back from this blog because of other demands on my time. So I apologize. I’m excited for a new NBA season and can’t wait to see how this Warriors team performs.
As most of you know, the Warriors open the regular season tonight against the Houston Rockets (7:30 p.m., CSN-BA), who gave up a double-digit lead in a 112-110 loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night. The Warriors came out of the preseason fairly healthy, though Stephen Curry is listed as day-to-day with an ankle sprain. I’d be surprised if Curry doesn’t play.
On the court, the Warriors looked different in preseason than this team has in the past couple years. New coach Keith Smart has insisted on running a more traditional offense, though the team is still trying to take advantage of its speed in the open court. But there is much more motion in this offense, particularly in the halfcourt, and the team is using its post players on offense much more than before. I think this is a change that will pay benefits in the future. Right now, it’s still a work in progress and has been difficult for Curry, who has struggled to adapt, as evidenced by his high turnover rate in the preseason (4.9 per game).
You can only take so much from preseason seriously, but there have been some positive developments on offense from the seven-game exhibition schedule. David Lee was as advertised, a crafty post scorer and strong rebounder, though his defense won’t scare anybody. Lee averaged 15.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.25 steals in 30.9 minutes in the preseason. He looks ready to go and his developing chemistry with Curry will be fun to watch. Other players who stood out in the preseason were Andris Biedrins (6.1 points, 8.0 rebounds in 23.1 minutes per game — he also made 3 of his 7 free throws which stinks but is an improvement from last season); Dorell Wright (he couldn’t make a shot, but he looks to be a complete player with decent rebounding, solid passing and passable defense. He averaged 11 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and nearly a steal and block per game); Monta Ellis (he was a mixed bag as usual — scored a lot of points, not always in an efficient manner and still looked like a strange fit with Curry in the backcourt. I think Ellis is great, but maybe not great for this team. We’ll see).
On defense, the team was an interesting study in preseason. Statistically, they were much improved from last season. They allowed only 100.3 points per game (112.4 in 2010), allowed opponents to shoot just 43.2 percent from the field (48.5 in 2010) and 36.6 percent from the 3-point line (37.5 in 2010) and outrebounded their opponents 47.1 to 43.0 on average (outrebounded 48.1 to 38.4 in 2010). That’s a huge improvement. If the Warriors maintain those numbers in the regular season, this team will be much better than most have predicted. We must caution that this was preseason, but even so, this team looks to be better on defense.
I think the Warriors will end up winning about 35 games this season, if everybody stays healthy. A win tonight against a Rockets team playing their second game in two nights would be a nice start to the season.