- Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, takes you inside the team as only she can throughout the season with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #AskKerith
The Warriors arrive home from Texas at 13-12 after splitting a four-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs.
Some numbers of note include Steph Curry’s point totals versus the Mavs and Spurs: 28, 57, 32 and 32.
Steve Kerr believes this is the best Curry has ever looked, and the two-time MVP admitted he feels great after missing all but five games last season.
"I definitely feel the strongest I've ever been. I've got a lot of energy," Curry said Tuesday after the Warriors' win over the Spurs.
Let’s get to your questions!
I’ll answer in both languages. No!
Steve Kerr said he’s not going to “throw Steph out there for 40 minutes to chase wins.” He likes Curry at 34 or 35 minutes per game. Curry is averaging 33.7 minutes per game this season.
In 12 seasons, Curry’s average playing time is 34.3 minutes. Other point guards in the league have similar career averages. Looking around the West, Damian Lillard averages 36.4 minutes per game. Donovan Mitchell is at 33.8 and Chris Paul at 34.8.
The Warriors hope this is a playoff season. Curry cannot have an empty tank for the games that truly matter.
The counter-argument is the Warriors might not reach the playoffs if they don’t win more. Unleashing Curry, the best shooter in the NBA, during close games seems like the solution. That’s a tightrope the coaches have to walk. Kerr made it clear he’s prioritizing the long game for Curry’s health.
Could keeping Curry’s total minutes the same but distributing them differently be the solution? Steph would have to be on board and he likes closing quarters.
Let’s revisit what Curry said after Monday’s loss to the Spurs:
“Of course, I want to play as many minutes as possible ... But we’ve got to be in a position where we do things throughout 48 minutes that, that plan of attack works more nights than not. Obviously, we have to make certain reads and decisions.
“We shouldn’t have to play 40-plus minutes to win. We have to make those adjustments as a group ... It’s a nightly conversation of what we need to focus on, what we need to do better to win. Eventually, we just gotta execute, if we want to be the team we’re supposed to be.”
In the most diplomatic way, Curry is saying his minutes are not the issue.
The easiest solution would be for the Warriors to get more from players not named Curry, and for them to have the discipline to execute the game plan.
There are other places to look instead of Curry’s minutes.
I don’t want to be hard on you, but I will never understand the fans who want to trade Draymond Green. He recently had back to back games with 15 assists! That’s wild!
Those weren’t Green’s buckets, but they were his reads to hook up teammates. He facilitates on offense. It’s not a coincidence that Curry’s 57-point explosion happened on a night when Green dished out 15 dimes.
Green’s two-man game with Curry is extremely important. They trust each other. Green knows how Curry comes off screens, likes his dribble handoffs and which spots on the floor he’s racing to. Their relationship is like extrasensory perception because they know each other so well.
It feels repetitive to say Green does not need to score to be impactful. His assist-to-turnover ratio, his defense, his energy, his heart and his toughness are not things the Dubs will trade away.
I wouldn’t put major importance on plus-minus nor would I call myself an expert (ha!) but it is something I look at for a reference regarding who was on the court when teams built their leads.
When the Warriors were getting in huge first quarter holes early in the season, it was weird to see a postgame plus-minus for Steph at, say,minus-16. He clearly is not a poor player, but shooting slumps and bad defense impact numbers.
I view plus-minus as a clue about what happened. But it can be a unit stat disguised as an individual one.
There’s also single-game plus-minus and end-of-season plus-minus. The season-long snapshot fits a player’s trends for the year better than the single-game stat.
There are going to be some frustrating fouls this season. The refs will make wrong calls. While there’s no rewinding a game to fix a mistake, at least the referees show accountability for their gaffes after a game. That’s something. It’s a human situation with human error.
Errors don’t feel great when you’re on the wrong side of a close finish. Nor are lean-in fouls going away immediately. But if enough coaches grumble about them and if there’s enough outcry from around the league, it’s something the NBA and the referees may examine in the offseason.
I hope so. Juan Toscano-Anderson is homegrown. The long version of his story is here. The short version is the kid who took up basketball in third grade at a Warriors youth camp earned a G League spot with the Santa Cruz Warriors and leveraged that to become a trusted part of the rotation.
His play could force the Warriors into a tough decision. If they reward JTA with a guaranteed contract, they’ll have to waive someone else.
Kerr is glad that decision is out of his hands.
"When that topic comes up, whenever that is, I’ll be all for it. I’m a big fan," Kerr said. "I think Juan should be part of our team for many years to come."
Kerr does not know when Bob Myers will examine Toscano-Anderson’s situation. If the Dubs keep him as a two-way player, they’ll retain his rights.
I’ve asked around a little bit and the answer is either silence or no. The Warriors don’t seem to be in a hurry to make a roster move.