I was tempted to write an extended piece on the Miami Heat's first game of the preseason and another on their game last night with the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the preseason everyone says that we shouldn't take away too much from what we see or put too much stock into what the results are. But since the Warriors beat the Clippers by 40 on Friday night I think there are a few things we can be happy about, not without a brief disclaimer though first.
In the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers were not very effective in moving the ball in their preseason slate this year. Now that the regular season has started they still are not very effective in that area and happen to be 0-4 because of it. The 49ers did go undefeated in the preseason but as you know, NFL starters don't play entire halves so typically its backups vs. backups. In the NBA teams typically play their starters between 25-30 minutes a night. In the NFL the plays are very simple and you don't see a lot in terms of adjustments or formations. The same can be said for the NBA but since basketball is more of a free flowing sport with far less structure, I tend to argue that we can and should take some things away from the preseason. And as the 49ers offense has proven, certain things in the preseason carry over into the regular season.
This is a localized study obviously intended specifically for the Warriors. I didn't need to wait to see the Heat in the preseason before I declared them eventual champions as soon as I saw "The Decision". For the W's though, I almost spent the $30 it would have taken to watch them play Blake Griffin and the Clippers on Friday night since the game wasn’t televised. I will be watching them play DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings on Sunday though so check back for some analysis. At any rate, the Warriors have been a bit of a mixed bag over the last few preseason schedules, their records were as follows:
4-4 in 09’-10’
4-2 in 08'-09'
7-2 in 07'-08'
5-1 in 06'-07'
3-5 in 05'-06'
Last year of course we were not healthy, traded our second best player in November and the team was filled with turmoil throughout the season. In 08'-09' we didn't have Monta for the regular season or preseason but we were still successful for those first six practice games in October. I guess you can attribute that success to it being "The preseason!" In 07'-08' we finished the year with 48 wins so the preseason record had some validity to it I guess you could say.
So what can we decipher from the W's successes and failures in their performances that don’t actually count? Since this is a positive blog we will choose from their last successful regular season for a comparison. They put up 111.3 points a game in the 2008 preseason and finished the year scoring at an even 111 per night once the real games started. They ended up giving away 2.1 points per game more than they did on their preseason schedule but their preseason offense was an accurate indication of what came to be.
Now the 06’-07’ season was quite similar to this one in terms of optimism. Hiring new coach Don Nelson then and Keith Smart now are making fans reminiscent of the positive changes that came when Nelson arrived. That team was expected to be decent with an outside chance of making the playoffs, which they did. The same thoughts apply to this year’s team. So since we will now be breaking down the preseason games, let’s take a look at some of the keys from last night’s performance.
Monta Ellis-22 points, 8-11 FGs, 4-4 3FGs, 4 assists & 2 steals
Stephen Curry-18 points, 6-7 FGs, 3-3 3FGs, 6 assists & 2 steals
We all know this will be the strength of this team so it was nice to see that Monta has truly molded his game to fit with Curry’s. Obviously he was in a sharing mood and his efficiency shows that he was taking good shots. As for the rest of the team the Warriors out rebounded the Clippers which will be the stat that should change the most for them this year thanks to David Lee. Since we’re just one game in and I was only able to see highlights we’ll stop here for now.
Tomorrow night they will be playing another team with low expectations and something to prove sot the Kings will provide a good barometer of things to come, in my preseason opinion, take from it what you will?