NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Golden State Warriors

By: Jared Williams

Team sports are so often a microcosm of life. Quotes like, “I’ve failed over and over and over in my life. And that’s why I succeed” (MJ), aren’t exclusive to weight rooms or locker rooms; those fabled words are pinned in elementary school classrooms and line the halls of Fortune 500 companies.

Yet, the sports to life analogy is about more than motivation and the necessity of hard work. I’d argue that throughout this sublime season Warriors fans have felt a complaint so often felt in politics, “the national government doesn’t understand the workings of our local area”. Or in Warriors terms, “the national media doesn’t fully understand our Warriors”.

This isn’t an indictment of the national media. Heck, I only write about one NBA team and I can hardly formulate publishable thoughts about that one team -national media members cover the entire league! But I do want to clear up some misconceptions.

The Warriors are 20 games from beginning the playoffs. That means only 7-10 Steph Curry scoring supernovas, 10-12 defensive masterpieces courtesy of Draymond Green, and an undefined number of semi-dirty plays by Andrew Bogut that no one notices, before the NBA’s CPO fans (Christmas & Playoffs Only) are officially introduced to the NBA’s best team. Now’s the time to right those media wrongs, starting with myth number one:

Myth #1: Steph Curry’s More Replaceable Than Harden, Lebron, or Westbrook

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns

“Replace Curry with DJ Augustine. I think the Warriors still probably win 50-55 games.” -Bill Simmons

Statements like these are the crux of the Curry doesn’t deserve the MVP argument -they penalize Curry for his supporting cast. Meanwhile, Lebron’s got a guy who 6 months ago was considered a top 10 player in the whole league (Love) and the MVP of the 2014 FIBA World Cup (Irving), Westbrook shares the court with the reigning MVP (Durant), and Harden’s running mates include a center (Howard) who averaged 26 PPG, 13.7 RBG, and 2.8 BPG in last year’s playoffs. But Curry’s supporting cast is markedly better than those guys’?

I cannot overstate this enough: Curry generates a 4 on 3 for the Warriors’ offense nearly every time he runs the pick and roll. Why? Opposing teams run both the screener’s defender and Curry’s defender at him almost every time he comes off a high screen. And it makes sense. According to Synergy’s advanced stats, we know that Curry’s 2nd in the league in points per possession and 1st in the league in Effective Field Goal Percentage when he’s the ball handler in a pick and roll.
Effective Field Goal Percentage: field goal percentage adjusting for the fact that a three-pointer is worth 1 more point then 2 point field goals.

4 on 3s mean corner 3s for Barnes, shooting space for Klay, and a max contract to the name of Draymond Green (probably). In the advanced stat literately designed for this argument of player value, Wins Above Replacement, Curry ranks 7 players ahead of Westbrook, 2 ahead of Lebron, and narrowly trails Harden for the top spot. So don’t tell me The Beard, The Receding Hairline, and whatever Russell Westbrook is, are more valuable to their team than the Baby-Faced Assassin is to the Warriors, it’s just not true.
Wins Above Replacement: the number of wins or losses a player earns in comparison to a “replacement level player” (typically a rotation guy) at their position.

A quick side note for Westbrook lovers: the Thunder are 2 and 7 in Westbrook’s 9 highest scoring games. In Curry’s 9 highest scoring games the Warriors are 9 and 0. You tell me which one is MVP behavior.

NEXT: An All-Star Bench

3 Responses

  1. Gatling Gun

    In regards to the Simmons quote about Augstin and Curry, when did he say that? Googled around but could not find any reference to it.

    • Jared Williams

      It’s from this Monday’s BS Report with Zach Lowe. It’s at least 3/4 into the podcast. Thanks for reading the piece.

  2. Draymond Green MVP

    Wow I men wow learn’t something new by reading this. The Warriors defence goes from 1st to 14th when Green is off the floor, that is flabbergasting!! That means Green could basically make any team in the league improve drastically by himself!!
    That is Hakeem and Rodman levels and could possibly mean that Green is Golden States most important player!! Golden States defence is much better than their offence so it tells you everything you need to know.