We believe there is a divide among older professional basketball fans and those under the age of 30 years old, and it concerns the Golden State Warriors.
Older fans think the wide open, shoot the three point shot at all costs way is a fad, and teams that do this on a regular basis won’t be able to win consistently.
Younger fans love Stephan Curry and his style of play, which included pulling up on fast breaks to shoot threes instead of taking the ball to the basket.
The latter’s opinion has been buoyed by the Warriors triumph over a depleted Cavaliers’ team in last year’s Finals, and by Golden State’s 14-0 start this season.
First of all, there isn’t as much difference between the two teams as you think. While the Warriors rank 2nd in the NBA in three point shots attempted (actually Houston is first proving that it is the players, not the system), the Cavs are 5th in the league.
The difference is Golden State is making 41% of those shots thus far. And they made 40% a year ago.
The more experienced fans (of which group we belong to), would love to see opposing teams get physical with Curry, Klay Thompson, and the other Warriors.
But Golden State is a very good defensive team too, holding their opponents to an NBA low .458 field goal percentage against.
We believe this is because other teams try to play the Warriors’ game against them, and they simply aren’t as good. This results in bad shots for opponents.
In last year’s championship series, the wine and gold did not fall into that trap. They pounded the ball inside, and while the Warriors are long, they don’t have a lot of bulk, so you can attack them at the rim.
And let’s not forget that Steve Kerr’s crew did have some luck in the playoffs, getting wins over New Orleans (without Jrue Holliday), Memphis (Mike Conley was hurt), Houston (no Patrick Beverley to harass Curry), and of course, Cleveland without Kevin Love for the entire series, and Kyrie Irving for the last five games.
That’s not to minimize the title, but it is pointing out the facts.
Our point is the NBA season is about a month in and already we are hearing how the Cavaliers should do things like the Warriors.
Especially, when it comes down to handling minutes.
LeBron James is averaging 36.2 minutes per game, but some of that is because of the double overtime game vs. Milwaukee where James logged a season high 45 minutes.
In reality, of the 13 games Cleveland has played, James has totaled 36 or more minutes just six times.
In the Warriors’ 14 games, Curry has been on the floor 36 or more minutes nine times.
Curry is averaging 35.6 minutes per night, and has taken the most shots in the NBA this season. Will that take its toll as the season goes on?
Look, the Warriors are very good. They are the defending champions. And they are about to tie an NBA record for the best start ever if they win their next game to go 15-0.
Meanwhile, the Cavs have gotten off to a great start too at 10-3, and last night they easily defeated their opponent in the Eastern Conference finals a year ago, without Irving, Iman Shumpert, Mo Williams, and Timofey Mozgov.
Three of those players were starters in the conference finals a year ago.
So, don’t envy the Warriors, but instead, respect what the Cavs are doing despite playing all season without two of their top ten players, and now they won’t have four of those guys for the next couple of games.
Being the best team in November and December doesn’t get you anything.
David Blatt, LeBron James, and the Cavaliers are using the San Antonio model. It is better to be playing well in March and April.
That doesn’t mean Golden State can’t sustain it, but we will say if they can, they may be the greatest team of all time.