Biggest reasons for Warriors success...
Very few had the Warriors as a 50-plus win team, which they’re on pace to do. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
The Golden State Warriors are at the halfway point of their season with a record of 26-15.
26-15? Yes, 26-15! The Warriors are smack-dab in the middle of one of their most intriguing, promising and exciting seasons in a long time. Sure, there was the “We Believe” playoff team of 2006-07, but that happened in a hurry, and toward the end of a season.
The following year most Warriors fans expected the team to be good, and it responded with going 48-34 – but missed the playoffs.
This year, though? Wow! Some thought the Warriors could be good, particularly if center Andrew Bogut were healthy. Most saw Golden State as a middle-of-the-pack team.
Optimists had them making the playoffs, pessimists had them missing the playoffs. Very few had the Warriors as a 50-plus win team, which they’re on pace to do. And even if a lone wolf or two had so much faith as to believe that this team could win 50, they surely didn’t see it coming without Bogut being a factor.
Here’s a midseason assessment of each of the Warriors’ players, with grade:
Barnes’ production fluctuates, but then again so does his playing time. That’s usually the way it is with rookies. Warriors coach Mark Jackson obviously trusts Barnes more in certain situations than others. Truth is that Barnes has been terrific and ordinary – like your typical rookie.
He gets B-minus because he made the team despite being undrafted and for that stuff he does at the end of the bench.
He’ll never be the player he was five or six seasons ago, but he’s definitely not as bad as he was last year. Biedrins is staying ready and giving the Warriors’ frontcourt minutes when they’re in a little bit of a bind. He still rebounds, but not much more.
He’s played only four games this season because of injury. The hope is he’ll be back soon, but whether that’s a week, a month or longer is anyone’s guess.
It’s funny. A lot of Curry’s numbers look like they’ve always looked during his three-plus years in the league, and his field goal percentage is significantly lower. But numbers be darned because it’s impossible to watch the Warriors and not acknowledge Curry’s been a big part of their success.
Ezeli is never going to be a big scorer, but so what? He defends, blocks shots and rebounds, and that’s good enough for the Warriors. When the story of this season is told, Ezeli should be a big part of it. With Bogut out, Ezeli has turned out to be the equivalent of a Festivus Miracle.
Who knows what position Green will play down the line or how effective a player he can become with long and consistent stretches? What’s important is that he’s found a niche – and contributed – on a winning team as a second-round pick in his rookie season. That’s pretty good.
Nobody on the Warriors has made more big plays or more big shots than Jack. When he was acquired in the offseason in a three-team trade, he seemed like a player who would help. But nobody saw him helping this much. Of all the Warriors’ players, nobody has had a better year than Jack.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson hasn’t given Jefferson consistent minutes, but that doesn’t mean Jefferson hasn’t been ready when his number is called. Jefferson has provided the occasional spark for the team, but more important, he’s one more savvy veteran in the locker room.
Jenkins has been a casualty of the Jack acquisition and of Curry’s big minutes. Simply put, Jenkins hasn’t been a consistent part of the Warriors’ rotation and hasn’t had enough of a chance to make a difference.
He’s settled into his role quite nicely and done everything the Warriors had hoped he would do … score and rebound off the bench, provide a little toughness and be a solid veteran influence on this largely young team.
Lee has been the Warriors’ most consistent player to date, the guy you know you’re going to get something out of night in and night out. He’s picked up virtually every aspect of his play from a year ago, not the least of which has been on the defensive end. His passing ability has given the Warriors an additional dimension.
Grade: No grade
Rush got hurt in the team’s home opener and won’t return this season.
Thompson has had erratic stretches this year, but he’s also shown the ability to get hot in a hurry and to have big scoring nights from time to time. He can be shaky with the ball and is prone to the brutal mistake or two, but did we mention his stroke when he’s feeling it?
Tyler has been going back and forth from the Warriors to Santa Cruz, and it’s fair to ask these days whether he’s part of the team’s future.