Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors against the LA Clippers

4 biggest positives for Golden State Warriors after first 2 games of the 2021-22 NBA season

Kunal Sethi
ANALYST

"Beat LA" chants were buzzing in the Bay Area as the Golden State Warriors won their first two games, against the LA Lakers and LA Clippers.

Stephen Curry has been electrifying so far, and the Dubs have gotten a lot of people talking about their title chances. As of now, the favorites to come of the Western Conference are the LA Lakers, but several analysts now believe the Golden State Warriors might pull it off instead.

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.@stephenasmith thinks if Klay Thompson comes back, the Warriors can win the title 👀
8:36 PM · Oct 22, 2021

If you consider last season's NBA playoffs and the 2021 preseason, LeBron James and co. have now lost their last 11 games in a row. That doesn't bode well for their contender status. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors have won their last seven games, and show no signs of slowing down.

The Warriors' next seven games are against the Kings, Thunder (twice), Grizzlies, Hornets, Pelicans (without Zion Williamson) and Rockets. Fans have already started dreaming of a 9-0 start, and given the form the Warriors are in, that looks quite possible,

Although they have played just two games this season, a lot of positives can be drawn from the Golden State Warriors' performances. On that note, let's take a look at four of them:


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#1 Golden State Warriors have incredible bench depth

Golden State Warriors bench in the 2021 NBA preseason [Source: USA Today]

Andre Iguodala's return has been amazing for the Golden State Warriors. When the 37-year-old first joined the team, everyone assumed he was going to ride the bench and sail off into the sunset as a veteran locker-room presence.

However, unlike the Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem, Iguodala is ready to contribute whatever it takes to win, both on and off the floor.

Steph Curry on Andre Iguodala: “When he came here, there was that narrative that he was just a locker room presence, a veteran chaperone…He made it clear from Day 1 he still has a lot left in the tank.”
11:20 AM · Oct 20, 2021
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The first game against the LA Lakers saw incredible contributions from the Warriors' non-starters.

To put that in perspective, the Lakers have assembled a superteam with the likes of Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo coming off the bench. However, the Warriors' bench still outscored the Lakers' 55-29.

Nemanja Bjelica and Damion Lee scored 15 points apiece, while Andre Iguodala had 12. Otto Porter Jr. who was phenomenal in the NBA preseason, received just 11 minutes in that game.

Staples was star-studded tonight: LeBron! Russ! AD! Melo! Rondo! Dwight! Steph! Draymond! Wiggins! And Bjelica took over the game.
10:24 AM · Oct 20, 2021

In their next game against the LA Clippers, coach Steve Kerr decided to switch things up and try a new lineup. Bjelica, who was a huge factor in the opening-night win, suddenly received fewer minutes, and Porter Jr. who was a non-factor in the first game, got big minutes. But things still worked. Otto Porter Jr. scored four points on 2-3 shooting, grabbed seven boards, dished out two assists, and was +13 on the court.

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It goes to show you how much arsenal they truly have at their disposal and how anybody on any given night can show up and contribute. The Warriors can try and experiment with a variety of lineups, as they have significant depth in every position, and their players can fill in many roles.

These two wins become even more impressive when you consider that the Golden State Warriors were undermanned, which brings us to our next point.


#2 Golden State Warriors have great players rejoining the action later in the season

Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors on the bench [Source: USA Today]

One of the most noteworthy things from their last two games is that the Golden State Warriors won two close contests without Klay Thompson, James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga.

Fans are raving about Moses Moody's contributions on the court ,and Kuminga was picked even higher than him in the 2021 NBA Draft. Meanwhile, Wiseman is a seven-footer who averaged 12 points and six rebounds a game last season, and Klay Thompson needs little introduction.

Thompson is arguably one of the top five shooters in NBA history who can heat up like a microwave at any given point in games. The sheer number of record-breaking performances Thompson has put up is mind-boggling. His much-awaited reunion with his Splash Brother, Stephen Curry, would make the Golden State Warriors a more formidable team.

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ESPN's Stephen A. Smith discussed the Golden State Warriors' title credentials on the show First Take, saying:

"If Klay Thompson comes back healthy...the Warriors might win it all...Steph Curry is the greatest shooter god ever created...and then I think about Klay coming back, who is one of the top five shooters in the history of basketball."
"Then we think about the rest of this crew - I'm looking at Jordan Poole...Andrew Wiggins...Wiseman coming back...the pick up of Otto Porter. I'm just looking at this roster right now, the Warriors may win it all."

The LA Lakers have had chemistry issues to contend with at the start of the season. The LA Clippers don't have Kawhi Leonard for at least another seven months, while the Denver Nuggets are without Jamal Murray.

The Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers did not make many offseason improvements, while the rest of the teams in the conference aren't title contenders. If Klay Thompson gets back entirely healthy or is even 85% of his All-Star self, it isn't far-fetched to say the Golden State Warriors might be one of the top four seeds in the West.


#3 There is great playmaking in the entire roster

Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry are all excellent passers.
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Everywhere you look on the Golden State Warriors' roster, there is great playmaking and unselfish passing.

Head coach Steve Kerr has built a culture of a 'pass-first' mentality, so everyone is always looking for a teammate for a better look. After being in the training camp and practicing with the team, even rookie Moses Moody showed signs of good passing. He played just three minutes and 42 seconds against the LA Clippers, but bagged two assists in that limited period.

“Everybody’s either a threat to shoot or is going to make the right play —move the ball. High IQ is huge.”

Steph Curry says it means a lot to have teammates that pick up the slack when he’s struggling. 💯
11:30 AM · Oct 20, 2021

Stephen Curry believes everyone on the roster can make the right play, and it will be a good season if the team buys into the system of ball movement. Nemanja Bjelica is an excellent passer and playmaker out of the center position, which was on full display on the opening night against the LA Lakers.

You can tell Draymond Green is enjoying his frontcourt offensive fit with Nemanja Bjelica: “I didn’t know Belly could make plays like that off the dribble. I had no fucking clue.”
01:08 AM · Oct 13, 2021
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Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala have showcased their passing prowess for years. Head coach Steve Kerr spoke about the team's system on 95.7 The Game's 'Damon & Ratto' after opening night, saying:

"When I've been here, we’ve always played a style that really encourages passing from every spot...The way our system is designed, the way Steph and Draymond, the way defenses respond to Steph. We’re just best when we have guys who can pass on the floor."

On opening night, the Golden State Warriors recorded 30 assists as a team on 41 made baskets, and had just two turnovers in the final 17 minutes of the game. In the next game, they had 27 assists as a team on 43 buckets, which is also an incredible ratio.

Steve Kerr on the rearranged roster: “I thought the other night was an example of what will happen when teams blitz (Steph Curry). We’ve got a lot of weapons. Not just shooters but passers. We scored 121 points on a night when Steph went 5 of 21.”
05:55 AM · Oct 22, 2021

#4 Stephen Curry is in amazing shape and form

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors against the LA Clippers
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One thing that everyone has learned from the past two Golden State Warriors' games is that Stephen Curry is in prime shape.

Several analysts, such as Skip Bayless from Undisputed on Fox Sports, have suggested that Curry has "been hitting the weight room" and bulked up his upper body. An interesting takeaway from Curry's performances is that the 6' 3" guard had ten rebounds in each of his last two games.

Curry dropped a 21-point triple-double on the opening night against the Lakers, along with ten boards and as many assists. The two-time MVP still called his performance 'trash' because of his poor shooting; he shot 5-21 from the field.

However, many know that the Golden State Warriors won the game because of him. Curry's ability to draw defenders and double-teams on the perimeter is incredible as that opens up looks for teammates.

Steve Kerr on the impact Steph Curry has even on an off shooting night: “He can call his game trash all he wants, but he’s the reason we got all those looks in the fourth quarter.”
05:56 AM · Oct 22, 2021

Stephen Curry followed up his 'bad' shooting night with a 45-point outburst against the LA Clippers. He started the game scorching hot, shooting 10-10 from the field, with 25 points in the first quarter itself.

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So @StephenCurry30 had a night...

💎 Named to #NBA75 before tip
🔥 25 1Q points on 9-9 shooting
🔥 45 in the game
🔥 Go-ahead triple to lift @warriors
10:38 AM · Oct 22, 2021

Although it has been just two games, the fact that the Golden State Warriors' best player is in perfect form and is playing at an MVP level is noteworthy. No matter who the personnel on the team are, Curry's health and shooting form need to be on point. If Curry is feeling it, the Golden State Warriors are too.

The thing about Steph Curry isn’t that he’s capable of obliterating an opposing defense, it’s that he can do it so often. @YourManDevine: theringer.com/nba/2021/10/22…
00:05 AM · Oct 23, 2021

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Edited by Bhargav
 
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