The Golden State Warriors are off to a hot start in the 2021-22 NBA season.
They are leading the league in points (115.9) and assists (29.6) per game.
Steve Kerr’s crew is also third in field goal percentage (47.2), fourth in three-point percentage (37.1), and second in rebounds (48.3 per game).
On defense, they allow 102.3 points per game, the fourth-best in the league.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 9, 2021
Their opponents, through 11 games, also shot a league-worst 42 percent from the field.
These numbers portray the Warriors’ hot start, dropping only one game in overtime against the Memphis Grizzlies.
But despite their impressive showing early on, questions still linger about the squad.
2. Can They Maintain This Pace?
At some point, the Warriors will slow down because they’ve had an easy schedule so far.
Throughout their 10-1 run, they’ve defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder twice, a Brandon Ingram-less New Orleans Pelicans, and the lowly Houston Rockets.
Also in the mix are the Charlotte Hornets, who do not play a lick of defense, and the Atlanta Hawks, with a superstar who finds the regular season boring.
The Warriors also defeated the two Los Angeles teams in consecutive matches, with the Clippers missing Kawhi Leonard’s services.
GARY PAYTON: II
DUNKS TONIGHT: II pic.twitter.com/AlZwVPlQJ1
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 11, 2021
These advantages allowed them to win seven games by double digits.
Likewise, eight of their first 11 games were at home, wherein they play solid.
Jordan Poole is hunting that MIP award 😎 pic.twitter.com/s1wkGnCUoo
— Warriors Nation (@WarriorNationCP) November 8, 2021
However, the more challenging part of their schedule is about to arrive as they play six of their next ten games on the road.
During that stretch are games against the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Phoenix Suns
Golden State will also visit the Hornets and the Clippers, who have winning records at home.
If the Warriors achieve a winning record through this gauntlet, it’s right to declare them a legitimate contender.
1. Will The Return Of James Wiseman and Klay Thompson Disrupt Their Chemistry?
You can’t have enough scorers on an NBA team because some players can take over if one of them is on a slump.
Reports have it that Wiseman might return during Thanksgiving week while Thompson might see action again before Christmas.
Those timetables are not yet certain, but getting both of them will make Golden State downright scary.
Steph Curry went to the bench the other night for a specific conversation with James Wiseman. Curry wanted to discuss a play that will be a lob over the top to Wiseman, once he returns, instead of a bounce pass to Looney.
Here's video and Wiseman's telling of it. pic.twitter.com/DDC6Fgb4ZT
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 1, 2021
If they’re this good without those two, what more with those two?
However, it will take some games before Wiseman and Thompson get their groove back.
But once they find their rhythm, the Warriors will have a good problem stretching their rotation.
Their bench will be the envy of other teams with Lee or Wiggins potentially sliding to the bench.
Steve Kerr when he finally insert Klay Thompson into the lineup pic.twitter.com/5PmswMIKHN
— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) November 8, 2021
That’s a puzzle that other coaches might not solve because their reserves give the same firepower as their starters.
It won’t be perfect initially, though, because they have to figure out combinations that click.
Those struggles will be short-lived, and they will solve the log-jam sooner than later.