Editor's note: Grant Liffmann and Drew Shiller are the co-hosts of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, they will drop their Outsider Observations on the state of the Dubs, and this time, it's Grant's turn.
The Warriors have won eight of their last nine games, and their offense is firing on all cylinders. It's time to check in on the stars and see how they are faring over this stretch.
Let's start with Steph Curry. It would be a massive understatement to say that Steph is shooting well right now. Even for his own standards, the last three games in particular have been historic.
Steph has made 28 3-pointers in three games, and in two of those, the Warriors have needed every single one to win. Over the last nine contests, he is averaging 33.1 points on 51 percent from the field and nearly 47 percent from deep, which is staggering -- especially since he is averaging nearly 14 3-point attempts per game.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote how I believed Steph needed the ball in his hands a little more, rather than playing him off the ball. It seems as if the coaching staff made a point to do exactly that.
During the nine-game stretch, Curry has averaged six assists per game, including two games of eight and one game of 14. These numbers resemble those of the last few seasons, and show an important shift in using Steph's playmaking abilities.
Kevin Durant, meanwhile, has taken the quality-over-quantity approach these last nine games. During this stretch, his scoring average of 26.2 points is lower than his overall season average, but his efficiency has been outstanding. He is shooting over 52 percent from the field and nearly 48 percent from deep, and has now had two games in a row in which he made five 3-pointers.
He only accomplished that feat once in his first 36 games played.
While those numbers tell an impressive story, the trend that jumped off the page was not about what he's doing on the court, but more about what he is not doing, and that is forcing shots. Durant led the team in field-goal attempts Wednesday night against the Pelicans, which shouldn't come as a surprise since he is one of the premier scorers in NBA history.
What is shocking, though, is that it was the first time Durant led the team in attempts since Dec. 19 at Utah, which is 13 games ago. You will not hear Durant complain about this trend -- his nature is to be a team-first player who thrives on being as efficient as possible and being a good teammate/distributor. And yes, the team has been rolling offensively, so it would be hard to nitpick right now and find flaws.
But I can guarantee you when the playoffs come and the contests become harder, the Warriors will want Durant and Curry sharing the load of shots on a nightly basis.
You're allowed to say Klay Thompson has had a couple shooting "slumps" this season. He is one the best shooters in the history of the game, so when he is struggling to make wide-open shots over long stretches, then there is no other way of labeling it. But when Klay gets going, the Warriors start rolling.
Did I just rhyme?
It's no coincidence that it was nine games ago that Klay broke out of his slump. Over this nine-game stretch, he is averaging nearly 26 points per game, shooting 53 percent overall and 49.4 percent from deep. With this hot streak, Klay has increased his season 3-point percentage from 33 percent to nearly 37 percent, a meteoric rise for a player who already has attempted 344 shots from deep this season.
With DeMarcus Cousins returning, I have questioned how the Warriors will adjust to having so many unselfish but elite scorers on the court. I could see many of the stars passing up open shots in order to get their teammates better looks. But I don't believe that to be the case with Klay. If I had to make a guess right now, I'd say that in Friday night's game in which Boogie returns, Klay will lead the Warriors in shot attempts.
As he said when KD arrived, "I'm not sacrificing sh*t."
Finally, we come to Draymond Green. I've written about how I expect Draymond to be the guy most affected by Cousins' return. I believe his shot attempts will decrease even more than they already have, and his defensive responsibilities will go back to his comfort zone of playing "free safety." What is important for Draymond though, while he excels at almost everything on the court, is keeping the opposing defense honest by being able to hit 3-point shots at a reasonable clip.
Over the last nine games, he has exceeded all expectations. Draymond has shot 38 percent from deep during this stretch, including an outburst of four made 3s against the Pelicans. In my opinion, a most-effective Draymond simply needs to shoot around 33 percent from deep.
Anything over that, like he has been shooting recently, is found money.
But let's forget Draymond's shooting for a moment and focus on what he does best: defense and playmaking. His defense has reached elite levels yet again, and his ability to share the rock has been impressive. Over the last two games, Draymond has 27 assists, his most in consecutive games since the 2015-16 season in which he had 30.
Better yet, he has turned over the ball just twice the last couple games. Over the last nine games, he is averaging nearly nine assists per game and about two turnovers. That is incredible efficiency.
DeMarcus Cousins returns Friday, and the team as we know it will change dramatically. There will be chemistry and strategy adjustments and some hiccups along the way.
Ultimately, everyone expects the Cousins addition will make the Warriors as dangerous as ever. Which is crazy, because guess what?
They already are.