Warriors Play at Their Best When These Statistical Indicators 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. 

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