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18th Nov 2015

The numbers suggest the Golden State Warriors are having a historic start to the NBA season


Gareth Makim

They were lucky, they said. Didn’t have to play the best in the West, they said. Faced an injury-ridden Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, they said.

The Golden State Warriors have spent the summer listening to plenty of doubters after beating LeBron James’s Cavs in the Finals last June, and it looks like they are out to prove a point.

Still unbeaten through the first 11 games of the campaign, the Warriors, who go for win number 12 against the 7-4 Toronto Raptors tonight, have been laying waste to the rest of the league, to the point that there is already talk of a run at the record 72 wins achieved by Michael Jordan’s amazing 1995-96 Chicago Bulls squad.

But even being in that discussion cannot fully appraise you of the level the Dubs have been operating at over the first three weeks of the season.

– Only six teams have ever started better than 11-0 (Those 96 Bulls were 10-1 and also lost their 12th game).

– Reigning league MVP Stephen Curry has taken his game to a level never before seen in the league. The point guard is averaging 33.4 points per game, almost 10 points better than his previous career high, along with personal bests in steals (2.5), rebounds (5.1) and field goal percentage (51.7%). He’s not hogging the rock either, dishing 5.6 assists per game as well.

– Curry is making more than five three-pointers per game, way ahead of anyone in history, and is on pace to beat his own record of 286 threes in a season before the three-quarter point of the campaign.

– His Player Efficiency Rating, a metric to determine a player’s overall value on the court, of 35.40 would be the highest in the history of the league, and by some margin. The previous record of 31.82 was set in 1963 by legendary big man Wilt Chamberlain, ahead of Jordan’s best mark of 31.71 and LeBron James’s 31.67. Chamberlain, Jordan and James currently combine to own the ten highest PERs.

– They have won their games by an average margin of 16.3 points. The current record for point differential over the course of a season is 12.28, but the 71-72 Los Angeles Lakers.

– It’s not as if they have played an easy early schedule, by the way. Golden State have six wins over teams that made the play-offs last year, including a 20-point dusting of last year’s Western Conference finalists Houston and two victories, including one by an incredible 50 points, over the Memphis Grizzlies.

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors

– Oh, and they’ve done it all without head coach Steve Kerr, who is out indefinitely after back surgery. Assistant Luke Walton, who won two championships as a back-up with the Lakers and is just 35, has stepped in and the Warriors haven’t missed a beat.