How Stephen Curry having ball in his hands more could help Warriors


How Stephen Curry having ball in his hands more could help Warriors

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 Outside Observations on the state of the Dubs, and this time, it's Grant's turn.

I've heard what the fans are begging for: MORE STEPH CURRY! Many just want to see Steph get more shots, and others simply would like the ball in his hands more.

Let's first start with his shots, though, because you might be surprised how much Steph actually has been shooting this season.

Curry has been shooting 19.8 field-goal attempts per game this season, his second-most attempts in his career, just trailing his unanimous NBA MVP season, when he launched 20.2 per game (but didn't have to worry about making sure Kevin Durant was well fed with attempts). His 3-point attempts per game tell a similar story, as Curry is averaging 11 shots from deep, the second-highest total of his career and also trailing the 2015-16 campaign when he launched 11.2 per game.

When compared to last season, Curry is taking about three more field-goal attempts per game this season, including over one more shot from deep. Last season, Steph attempted 14 or more 3-point attempts in a game in three of 51 games played. This season, he has done that in 10 of 28 games played.

The truth is, Curry has been shooting plenty this season. Personally, I believe he should continue shooting around the exact amount he is now. BUT it would be nice to see the ball in his hands more.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr recently addressed questions regarding this subject, and answered that since the team is staggering Steph and KD, the unit Curry plays with to start the second and fourth quarters includes ball handlers such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. As Kerr said: "Steph is perfectly comfortable playing off the ball. Shaun can post up. I like the look of it."

Curry is highly skilled at moving without the ball, tricking defenders and running circles around those who aren't prepared to fight through multiple screens. He is shooting his best percentage from deep off catch-and-shoot attempts, making 46.4 percent. So the numbers don't lie when Kerr says Steph is perfectly comfortable playing off the ball.

And Kerr is right in that Livingston and others play best with the ball in their hands more. But so does Steph as a "playmaker," and he is one of the best players in the world.

[RELATED: What went right, what went wrong in Warriors' OT loss to Rockets]

When Curry plays with the ball in his hands, he starts dancing on defenders and can force opponents to send double teams, which automatically leads to better shots for his teammates. He is tied for his career low with 5.3 assists per game, which is no coincidence, considering you cannot feed your teammates when you do not have the ball. I'm not saying Curry should have the ball every single play, but perhaps more of a balance could keep defenses a little more honest and let the Warriors exploit the second units of opposing teams by unleashing Steph on them.

Keep in mind, all the current strategy as it is constructed will be turned upside down with DeMarcus Cousins' return. Kerr most likely will not stagger Durant and Curry as much anymore, letting Cousins, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green man the second unit. This would allow Cousins to get ample shot attempts since he will not be featured as frequently playing alongside the two MVPs to start the game.

So, perhaps these discussions are a moot point as of now, and we should just wait and see how Curry is used once Cousins comes back. Which probably is the approach the Warriors' coaching staff is subliminally employing as of now. But in the meantime, with every Warriors blown lead or loss, it becomes more apparent that Steph should have the ball just a little more. Even if it is just for entertainment's sake.

Andrew Bogut credits beer for improved condition in Warriors return


Andrew Bogut credits beer for improved condition in Warriors return

How many NBA centers can go coast-to-coast, dribble behind their back and convert a floater over another massive human, all while on the run?

After the Warriors' bounce-back victory over the Pistons on Sunday, it's safe to say there's at least one, and his name is Andrew Bogut.

That's the new and improved Andrew Bogut. The one that last played for the Warriors in 2015-16, well, let's just say he wasn't as agile back then.

So, what changed?

Beer, apparently.

"I don’t feel much different and I haven’t changed anything specific diet-wise," Bogut told The Athletic's Ethan Strauss. "Honestly, man, when I go back to Australia, I introduce a whole lot more beer to my diet. So maybe that worked. I have one or two beers with the family at night."

Now, before you get excited thinking you've found the new perfect diet just for you, Bogut has some sobering news for you:

It wasn't just the beer.

No, Bogut ascribed several reasons for his improved condition in his recent return to Golden State, many of which are related to the far less demanding playing schedule he had as a member of the Sydney Kings back in his native Australia, where the regular season consists of 28 games over a six-month stretch.

"It was much different,” Bogut said of the lighter schedule. “Sometimes we played once a week, sometimes twice, always on weekends. On the basketball side, everyone knows you get more rest. But I benefited from just being with my kids, knowing I’m going to be with them Monday through Thursday."

So, shorten the season and everyone will benefit, right?

[RELATED: Steph explains importance of regular-season finish to Dubs]

It's not that simple, as Bogut explained.

"Well, the quality of the games would definitely be higher,” Bogut told Strauss. “But, at the end of the day, your salaries would be much less. One of the harsh realities of why we’re some of the best paid in the world is because we play so many games. You’re going to get a lot of push back from players because their salaries are going to drop."

Alas, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

But your beer, on the other hand ... 

Steph Curry explains why final regular season games are important to Warriors

Steph Curry explains why final regular season games are important to Warriors

With nine games remaining in the regular season, Steph Curry and the Warriors are clinging to a half-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for first place in the Western Conference.

Equipped with one of the most talented starting lineups in NBA history and championship experience, one might expect the two-time defending champions to shrug at the importance of their final nine games, knowing they have the talent to beat any team on any floor once the playoffs start.

That, however, isn't entirely the case.

While head coach Steve Kerr has said he will prioritize the health of his team over the chase for the top seed in the West, Curry explained Sunday night why the final nine games are very important to the Warriors whether they capture the No. 1 seed or not.

"I think it goes hand in hand with how we want to finish the season," Curry said after the Warriors' win over the Pistons. "So, if we take care of our business more times than not in these last stretch of games then (the No. 1 seed) should take care of itself. And then, in doing that, you can judge, you know, how we've been playing defensively, you know, finding that offensive rhythm and balancing all the offensive talent we have out there on the floor, and building momentum. So, unlike last year where we were kind of depleted because of injuries and Houston was running away with that one seed, it's kind of a built-in goal to how we want to finish the year, so it's definitely important."

After suffering a blowout loss to the Mavericks on Saturday with Curry sitting out for rest, the Warriors responded Sunday, heeding Kerr's pregame message and bouncing back by beating the Pistons with a complete team effort.

Golden State's final stretch will begin Wednesday when Curry and Co. travel to the Grindhouse to face the Grizzlies.

[RELATED: Warriors have earned respect with 50-win season]

While the Warriors have been frustratingly inconsistent since the All-Star break, it appears they aren't waiting until the bright lights of the playoffs to turn on their laser-like focus.

That's bad news for the rest of the NBA.