Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green had some interesting comments last night after the team’s win over the Miami Heat. Green returned to the lineup last night after missing the last two games in the NBA health and safety protocols, and if you’re surprised with the Warriors hot start to the season so is Green.
“I must be 100 percent honest,” Green said, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. “I didn’t know we’d be this good. I think we are a damn good team, and I didn’t think we’d be this good, and especially this fast. Now in saying that, we have a long way to go. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not the first team to 30 wins or anything like that. It’s who can consistently get better, night in and night out, day in and day out, so that when April, May, and June come around you put yourself in the best position to win a championship.
“I truly, in my heart, believe we are doing that. We continue to improve in practices. We continue to improve in games, and that’ll set us up well as we continue to roll through this season. So I’d be lying if I told you this team would be as good as we are.”
The honesty from Green here is interesting given his usual confidence, but he’s in the majority here. Before the season the Warriors were expected to be in the playoffs, but with the uncertainty of Klay Thompson and James Wiseman’s injuries many didn’t think they’d get off to this good of a start.
Keys to the Warriors Hot Start
The big reason for the Warriors hot start this season beyond superstar Steph Curry and Green has been the play of their role players. Andrew Wiggins has had the most efficient season of his career so far, averaging 19.1 points per game, while shooting career bests 49% from the field and 43.5% from three. Jordan Poole is having the best season of his young career, scoring 18.1 points per game on 45.4% shooting from the field and 34.8% from three.
Golden State’s bench has also been huge for the team. The Warriors have four players (Damion Lee, Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II, and Nemanja Bjelica) on their bench averaging between 6.8 and 8.2 points per game. Kevon Looney has been a serviceable center for the team averaging 6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Rookie Jonathan Kuminga has also started to carve out more of a role recently, averaging 6.8 points in 12.4 minutes per game over the last 10 games.
With all those contributors the Warriors already have one of the deepest rosters in the league. Add in the expected returns of Thompson and Wiseman, the team should get even better as the season goes on.
Good to Have Green Back
In his return to the court last night, Green proved again that he is one of the league’s best Swiss Army knives. He had a game-high 13 assists to go along with five points, eight rebounds and four blocks. It’s the type of performance that shows just how diverse and valuable Green is to the Warriors.
This season Green is one of the best passing bigs in the league, according to Cleaning the Glass. His assist percentage of 32.9% ranks in the 99th percentile of his position and his assist-to-usage ratio of 1.85 is in the 100th percentile. Green also continues to be one of the team’s best defenders. His 2% steal percentage ranks in the 90th percentile and his 2% block percentage is in the 63rd percentile.
As the season heads to the midway point, the Warriors have had a great season so far and it really says a lot that even a veteran like Green has been impressed with their start. With the roster expected to return to full strength soon, the sky might be the limit for the Warriors.