SAN FRANCISCO – In the words of a scout, “The Warriors machine is back and buzzing.” He was quick to notice the absence of one player: Kelly Oubre.
The Warriors will face their former affair for the first time on Wednesday night, which most basketball experts believe does not fit well into Golden State’s “read-and-react” system when they host the 5-3 Charlotte Hornets.
With a 5-1 record in the second of eight home games, the Warriors’ early returnees are looking good in the off-season. Your biggest steps in the independent agency – Otto Porter, Nemanja Bjelica and Andre Iguodala – have already paid off with these victories.
Additionally, coaches and teammates say they fit the profile of “high IQ” basketball players who tend to be successful alongside the freeform stylings of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.
“We just added people who know how to play and move the ball,” said coach Steve Kerr. “On the first day of the camp it was already clear how well this team fits together.”
If you have it, you have it.
If you don’t, it’s even more obvious. And not everyone has gelled as quickly over the years as Porter and Bjelica. Both players’ ability to pass has sparked enthusiasm, and Porter’s hit rate of 43.8% from a distance ranks second on the team. While Bjelica’s shot has cooled, both players know where they are needed on the ground.
“I think over time guys make certain moves and you can kind of feel that,” said Green. “But if a guy doesn’t, you know right away. You know right away. It’s not that hard to see. You know right away. … I think we don’t have any this year (that don’t fit). We got our fair share, that’s for sure. ”
Owner Joe Lacob agreed, but also refused to give names.
“We had some problems with some players last year,” Lacob said on a recent NBC Sports Bay Area program.
The Warriors acquired Oubre in a deal with Oklahoma City after the 2019-20 season, and the former Kansas first-round pick provided a constant offensive while he was healthy. But his relationship with Golden State seemed bitter, and he commented after the season that he “wants to keep showing all the things I’m capable of and not being pigeonholed”.
Bjelica has credited Golden State’s offensive system for its revival, while Porter referred to the dressing room culture.
“It’s a very selfless group,” said Porter. “(We) hold each other accountable, and it starts with the head of the serpent. Steph (Curry) was an amazing leader and made sure everyone got acclimatized. ”
How do you find someone who fits your profile? There’s no metric Kerr knows better than a good old-fashioned feature film.
“Usually passing and cutting is a good barometer of whether a man can play. Does he keep moving the ball and make the cut at the right time when the defense shifts? ”Said Kerr. “If you see a guy on tape doing these things, it’s a pretty good sign he’s a high-IQ player.”
Oubre’s smooth transition to Charlotte shouldn’t be overlooked. With his fourth team in seven seasons, he signed a two-year deal worth $ 24.6 million. He is one of only two NBA players this year with multiple 20-point benefits from the bench and has started five more games.
His 14.5 points per game may look better on a stats sheet than Bjelica (5.8 ppg), Porter (6.3 ppg), or Iguodala (4.2 ppg), but the Warriors are thrilled with their contributions alongside scoring.
They helped the Warriors maintain their place in the NBA elite in terms of assists (28.7 per game; 2nd) and defensive efficiency (99.4 points per 100 possessions; 4th).
“I think the vets we added understand the NBA defense,” Kerr said. “We had a top 5 defense a year ago and we added Andre to the mix, one of the best defenders in the league and someone who knows our plans and covers and staff. … I just think we have a good groove. ”