Warriors play at their best when these statistical trends occur

Warriors play at their best when these statistical trends occur

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

How many times have you heard these statements?

"The Warriors are at their best when they take of the ball."... "The Warriors need to shoot more 3s" ... "It's important for the Warriors to get out in transition"

I'm guessing you have heard them quite a bit. But are there statistics to show that they are true? Let's take a look at some key statistical indicators that show when the Warriors are at their best.

The Warriors are 27-2 this season when they have an assist-to-turnover ratio over 2.2 assists to every one turnover

There it is -- the Warriors truly are better when they take care of the ball. It has been well chronicled that the Warriors have games where they become careless and even a bit reckless with their passes, leading to high turnover totals. And yet, the Warriors STILL lead the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.13 assists to every turnover.

The biggest reason for that impressive ratio is their historically high assists totals since Steve Kerr installed his offense five years ago. With the high volume of passes, ball movement, and assists, naturally, turnovers will come as well. But when the Warriors find a way to do a little better than their season average and boost their assist-to-turnover ratio by a small margin of 0.9, all of a sudden they are practically unbeatable. 

Warriors are 31-1 this season when they shoot 40 percent or better from three-point land
Warriors are 12-3 this season when they attempt 40 or more three-pointers
Warriors are 7-15 this season when 57.5 percent or more of their total points are made off 2-point field goals

Here is the part that many Warriors fans fuss about. The Warriors have arguably the two best three-point shooters of all time on their team, so why don't they shoot from deep more often?

Well, these stats should just make the clamoring grow louder.

The Warriors rank third in the NBA in three-point percentage at 38.3 percent. So when the Warriors simply shoot 2 percent better from deep than their season average, yet again they are practically unbeatable. 

Every game has a different feel and each opponent's defensive strategy will dictate the way in which the Warriors will attack with the ball. If the opponent is sending defenders aggressively towards the three-point line, then it would make sense for the Warriors to exploit them in the paint.

However, as the stats show, when the Warriors shoot a high-volume of three-point field goals, they become very hard to beat. When the Warriors make a majority of their points from two-point range, it usually means they have struggled shooting the ball from deep, and therefore they are a much lesser team. 

While the team does not "live or die" by the three-point shot, the Warriors are nearly immortal when they are hitting their shots from deep

Warriors are 27-5 this season when they score 20 or more fast break points
Warriors are 26-0 this season when they have an effective field goal percentage over 59 percent (EFG % explained here)

When the Warriors get into transition and push the pace, they are at their best. The Warriors are tied for second in the NBA in fast-break points at 19.1 per game, so yet again, when the Warriors play just a bit better than their average, they become a dominant force.

The reason I included the effective field goal percentage statistic was to show that the team does not only become more efficient when hitting their three-point shots. Their field goal percentage rises considerably when in transition and getting easy uncontested baskets, which therefore raises their effective field goal percentage.

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Warriors are 17-2 this season when they attempt 25 or more free throws

It is hard to draw fouls when a team completely lives behind the three-point line. That is why it is always important for the Warriors to stay aggressive and attack the rim as well.

The more the Warriors push the pace and force the defense to scramble, the more fouls they will draw. The team is fifth in the NBA in free throw percentage at 80 percent, so when they get to the line, they rack up a lot of free points.

It is no wonder that the Warriors are very hard to beat when they constantly go to the charity stripe. 

How John Stockton ruined Steve Kerr's chances of going to Gonzaga

How John Stockton ruined Steve Kerr's chances of going to Gonzaga

Warriors coach Steve Kerr played his college ball at the University of Arizona.

Why didn't the eight-time NBA champion go to Gonzaga instead?

Well, there's a hilarious story that provides the answer. Kerr recently was a guest on the "Scorebook Live Today" podcast with former Gonzaga guard Dan Dickau, and shared the details.

"So they were recruiting me my senior year. And I didn’t have any offers in the middle of my senior year, but I was getting some interest," Kerr explained. "Gonzaga sent me a letter, made a couple calls and they said, ‘Hey, we want you to come on a visit when the season’s over.’ And I said, 'Great.' I was excited. It was my first visit anywhere.

"They said, ‘Just bring your stuff -- you can play when you’re up here.’ I said, 'Perfect.' And I go up and see the campus, see the locker room, meet the coaches -- all that stuff. And they said, ‘Hey, our guys are going to play pickup. You should go join them.’ I said, 'Perfect.'

"Put my shoes on. I joined the pickup game. And I’m being guarded by a guy named John Stockton (laughter). He had just finished his senior season. He was getting ready for the draft. I’m a senior in high school. And I knew who he was because I was a basketball fan, and growing up on the West Coast I had heard of him. But it was a different time back then. You didn’t have all the games on TV and everything. So, I didn’t know that much about him.

"John proceeded to wipe the floor with me. He stole the ball from me, he scored on me at will. It was a total embarrassment. They basically took me into the office and they said, 'You know, we’re, we’re going to go in a different direction (laughter).’ So I always blamed John Stockton for ruining my future at Gonzaga."

Now that's some funny stuff.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Fortunately for Kerr, it all worked out in the end. He had a fantastic career at Arizona as he helped lead the Wildcats to the 1988 Final Four.

And needless to say -- it must have been pretty sweet for Kerr to make the game-winning/series-clinching shot against Stockton and the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals.

[RELATED: Kerr credits Westbrook for one of his favorite quotes ever]

Before we go, we have to address one detail. Kerr's visit to Spokane must have been in the spring of 1983 because he graduated high school soon thereafter. This means that Stockton wasn't yet preparing for the NBA draft because he was the No. 16 overall pick in 1984.

Oh well. No big deal. The story still stands.

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2020 NBA Draft sleepers: Can Jaden McDaniels develop into Kevin Durant?

2020 NBA Draft sleepers: Can Jaden McDaniels develop into Kevin Durant?

Editor's note: As the Warriors prepare for the 2020 NBA draft, during which they will have a lottery pick for the first time since 2012, NBC Sports Bay Area will present a twice-weekly series spotlighting two players expected to be evaluated. This is the seventh of a 12-part series over the next six weeks.

The long and exceedingly lean physique is reminiscent of a Brandon Ingram or a Jonathan Isaac or a Chris Boucher. Or even a young Kevin Durant.

That the resume is as thin as frame partly explains why Jaden McDaniels is a bit of a sleeper. After one season at the University of Washington, there is a chance he’ll sneak into the lottery but it’s more likely he’ll be drafted later in the first round.

Potential is why McDaniels is on the radar of NBA teams, including the Warriors. If Golden State trades out of the top five and drops toward the middle of the draft, McDaniels likely will be available. His game is, at his best, is stellar.

McDaniels is as comfortable playing above the rim as pulling up from deep. Despite being 6-foot-10, he handles well enough to score off the dribble. In his collegiate debut, he scored 18 pounds, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots in an upset win over mighty Baylor.

Indeed, it is McDaniels’ combination of small forward finesse and power forward length that caught the attention of opposing coaches and NBA scouts.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Those scouts already knew McDaniels was a five-star prospect at Federal Way High in the Seattle area. They’d already seen the clips, including those in which McDaniels, perhaps bored, would finish in transition by lobbing balls off the backboard to himself for dunks.

They also glimpsed red flags. McDaniels was prone to turnovers. His shot selection was spotty. There was some inconsistency insofar as some nights McDaniels was the best player on the floor and other nights he was liability to the Huskies.

It also will concern front offices that McDaniels displayed fits of immaturity. That was a factor in him leading the Pac-12 Conference in technical fouls with six. He also fouled out eight times in 31 games. At one point of the season, McDaniels was benched by Huskies coach Mike Hopkins, who was displeased with a spate of fouls and poor judgment.

McDaniels is, in this regard, not unlike teenage Marquese Chriss, who struggled in his first three NBA seasons but exhibited clear signs of maturity after joining the Warriors last fall.

McDaniels, however, has a deeper basket of pure offensive skills and possesses the ability to defend at least three positions. The comps in most mock drafts – such as Ingram and Isaac – are not so much about what he is than about what he can be.

If McDaniels, the younger brother of Hornets guard Jalen McDaniels, matures nicely contains his emotions and adds 10-15 pounds to his frame there is a reasonable chance he can become a star. It’s rare that someone with his size/skill combination comes along.

[RELATED: Could Cassius Winston follow Draymond?]

Some team will be willing to take that chance. McDaniels is a longshot for the Warriors, but any play they make for him will come only after they’ve gone beyond the tantalizing gifts and come away convinced their culture can help him reach his ceiling.

Jaden McDaniels

Position: Forward
Class: Freshman
Birthdate: Sept. 29, 2000 (19)
Hometown: Federal Way, Wash.
2019-20 stats: 13.0 points (40.5 percent FG, 33.9 percent 3p, 76.3 percent FT), 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 blocks.
Height: 6-foot-10
Weight: 200
Wingspan: 7 feet
What they’re saying: “You know the funny thing is, and I don’t mean funny to make a joke, but only really good players can lead a league in (turnovers and fouls). You go take a look at the all-time leaders on those lists and it’s nothing but Hall of Famers. I say that to say, how good must Jaden be to where he’s giving you so much that it outweighs those things you don’t like? And the answer is, he’s really, really good. Now as a coach, you have to ask yourself: ‘What can I live with and how can we curb some of those erratic behaviors?’” – former Warriors coach and current NBA/NCAA analyst P.J. Carlesimo, to the Seattle Times.