Sometimes you just need to be pushed a little.
After defeating the Utah Jazz 107-100 last night, the Golden State Warriors have a three-game winning streak against playoff-caliber talent on their hands. But is this a fluke or are the W’s on their way to being a good NBA team? Well, it depends on how you look at it.
If you look at it from a numbers perspective then yes, the Warriors have gotten better. Take a look at how SBNation’s Tom Ziller breaks it down:
The team’s scoring margin (-2.7) has improved (-3.6 last season). The team’s offense has improved (to No. 11 from No. 14). The team’s defense has improved (to No. 27 from No. 29). The Warriors were 18-23 at home last season; they already have 19 home wins with 11 more to go. Maybe these are marginal improvements, but they are improvements. And after decades of quick fixes and rampant failure under Chris Cohan, improvements, however small, matter.
True, statistically speaking the Warriors are better than they were last year. But is that really a good measuring stick? The Warriors were pretty bad last year, and those improvements are nominal. I think we should look at it from a different perspective. Like how the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami remarked last night after the game:
The Warriors, on the end of a back-to-back, on the road, pulled out a gutsy victory over Utah–which is not at its best, but is still a playoff-level team, that was at home. (Also on a back-to-back, but ending it at home, which is easier. For UTAH. Again: Not a criticism of the Warriors.)
I asked the Warriors to prove they were better than in years past by winning on the road, and they promptly won on the road. How hard was that, fellahs?
Still pretty hard considering they’re 7-18 on the road. That isn’t going to cut it in the Western Conference. If only we could move the W’s to the East, then we’d have a playoff team! But since we can’t, and we don’t, we will have to keep moving forward one game at a time. Things like beating a top tier team on the second night of a back-to-back matter. Having a slightly improved defense matters. It shows the players and fans that there is light at the end of the tunnel. If The Warriors take all of the little victories and lessons learned along the way and build on them, I think it will eventually equate to winning more games. They have 27 more chances this season, starting with the Celtics on Tuesday. Let’s hope the W’s can pick up where they left off.