After the first 10 games of the 2018-2019 NBA season, this is what I can say about the World Champion Golden State Warriors:
- Steph Curry is in the best basketball shape of his career, both physically and mentally. He is averaging 32.5 points per game, 5.9 3’s while shooting 51% from the 3-point line, 6 assists per game, and 5.4 rebounds. His floor leadership is his best asset this year as he is spreading the court and finding the open guy. Steph is leading the league in so many categories (or near the top), the media have finally been forced to come to their senses and “mention” Steph as a possible MVP candidate… DUH… Steph is LOCKED IN !!!
- Kevin Durant is having the best year of his career averaging 28.3 points per game, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and shooting 40% from 3 while playing great defense. He is by far the best offense weapon in the NBA and perhaps in NBA history. KD is LOCKED IN !!!
- Klay Thompson is the best two-way player in the league. He always gets the toughest defensive assignment night after night because of his defensive skills. His offense may suffer some nights but his defense is stellar every night. After getting off to a slow start shooting-wise, Klay is back to form and is averaging 20 points per game, 4 rebounds, and has developed his skill to drive to the hoop and pick up fouls. Against the Bulls in Chicago, Klay went off and made the most 3’s in NBA history, 14 of them breaking Steph Curry’s record of 13. He scored 52 points in 27 minutes or more points per minute than when Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a game. The most amazing stat in Klay’s record breaking game is that he dribbled a total of 9 times ( I didn’t miss a trailing 0) for his 14 3’s… He is the best catch-n-shoot pure shooter in the history of the NBA. When, Klay broke Steph’s record, it was Steph who was the happiest guy on the court. It was Steph and KD who kept feeding Klay the ball encouraging him to break the record. This defines the Warriors… team play and going to the hot hand. Klay is LOCKED IN !!!
- Draymond Green is the glue of the team. He does everything. His stats are consistent in all categories (8.4 points per game, 8.5 rebounds per game, 8.5 assists per game). What his stats say is that he comes close to getting a triple-double every single game. He is the game’s first ever Point Power Forward. What this means is that after getting rebounds, he brings the ball up-court much like a Point Guard and calls out the play or finds the open guy. What his stats don’t show is that Dray is the Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY). Draymond’s ability to guard his guy, then anticipate passes and switch to guard other players and steal passes or block shots of bigger players is remarkable. It was insult to him and to the organization that Dray was not even voted onto the 1st team defensive team last year. Draymond is on a mission this year to secure the DPOY and his play is reflecting his mission. Dray is LOCKED IN !!!
- Although not an All-Star, Damien Jones has become the athletic Center and player that the Warriors have been training him for. After the Warriors won their 3rd World Championship Title in 4 years last year, Steve Kerr turned to Damien and told him that “Next year is your year”. I don’t think Steve was prophetic, I think Steve knew that Damien was ready after 3 years of hard work. That hard work is paying off big time this year. Damien is LOCKED IN !!!
So all the starters are LOCKED IN, but they can’t play 48 minutes per game. What makes this team so special this year is that they have accumulated the best second/third team players that I’ve ever seen. At Center, Kevon Looney has taken his game to the next level after playing like a beast in last year’s playoff games. Jordan Bell can play both Center and Power Forward and is still learning the game. Both Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala look much fresher this year than last year. And Quinn Cook has improved his game at Point Guard after blossoming last year. But, the two additions to this year’s squad who are having a huge positive impact are Alfonzo (Zo) McKinnie and Jonas Jerebko. Both guys hustle like crazy and they have a natural instinct to find and get the ball. Zo is averaging 13.3 minutes, 6.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and is shooting an astounding 59% from 3. Last night against a very good Timberwolves team, Zo played 27 minutes including all 12 minutes of the 4th quarter, had 8 rebounds and scored 8 points with a slam dunk and a dagger 3 pointer to ice the game. Zo is LOCKED IN !!! Jonas is averaging 16.2 minutes, 7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and is shooting a great 44% from 3. Like Zo, Jonas has a nose for the ball and gets the tough rebounds when it counts. Lastly, both Zo and Jonas play great defense which is the cornerstone to the Warriors game.
So, all 5 starters from a World Championship team are LOCKED IN. The next seven players off the bench are all LOCKED IN. Sound scary for the rest of the NBA? Nope… DeMarcus Cousins (Boogie) hasn’t boogied yet. When he starts to boogie, that will be down-right SCARY!!!
The power rankings for the rest of the teams in the NBA don’t really matter.