Twenty-three games into the season, the Warriors are an even-keeled 13-12, although their play each night ranges from electric and energetic to lackluster and lethargic.
Golden State has shown promise of being a playoff-caliber team, and the Warriors likely are, if they can improve on their consistency. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise though, as coach Steve Kerr predicted before the season his team would experience plenty of growing pains as they discovered a new identity.
Between their surging wins and frustrating losses, the Warriors are pretty much exactly what they should be at just above .500. However, now that Kerr has a sizable sampling of his team's performances, he can rely on two stats that usually dictate his team's outcome.
"I look at two stats now every single game," Kerr said on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" on Wednesday. "Do we rebound and do we defend without fouling. I believe that if we do those things that we’re going to win. Unfortunately we haven’t done it often enough to create a large sample size."
Even with Steph Curry capable of scoring 50 on a given night, the Warriors have demonstrated the need to play as a collective unit, with each player fulfilling a designated role, if they want to be successful. Gone are the days where Golden State can blow opponents out of the water simply by showing up. Now, execution is needed and it's clear where.
"We are now No. 3 in the league in defensive field goal percentage," Kerr said. "We’re forcing a ton of misses. That’s a great sign when you’re trying to build a defense. It’s the No. 1 thing you look at, how many misses are we forcing?"
"But the possession doesn’t end until you get the rebound," he added. "If you’re giving away free points because you’re hacking guys, and getting to bonus too early and getting to the line 30 times, which we’re doing right now, then you just take away your best chance to win."
Currently, Golden State ranks 17th overall in rebounding. The Warriors face a good test against the Orlando Magic, who rank No. 7, when they square off Thursday at Chase Center.
For Kerr, he'll continue to use the stat to measure his team's success -- or lack thereof.
"It looks to me if we rebound and avoid fouls," Kerr said, "we’re going to win more often than not."