The Golden State Warriors have made it 15 of 15 to start the 2015-2016 NBA Season, looking so much better than anyone else in the league, and impossible to judge by comparing them to teams in the league this season. The numbers suggest a dominance we haven’t seen since the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls, going 72-10 that season, still the best regular season record in NBA history.
The Warriors are now the third team in NBA history to open a season with a 15-0 record. The only others are the Washington Capitols from 1948-1949 (a team that folded in 1951) and the Houston Rockets from the 1993-1994 season, when Hakeem Olajuwon led them to their first NBA title. The Los Angeles Lakers (2-11 so far this season) stand in the way of owning the record of 16-0 on their own.
That’s what Stephen Curry is averaging so far this season. He has never finished a season averaging more than 24 points per game, and he’s doing it all in 35.1 minutes a night. Last season after 15 games he was averaging “only” 24.3 points a night. He’s not dishing out as many assists, but he’s hitting 51.4% from the field while taking almost five more shots per game.
111.8, 96.8 and +15.0
The Warriors don’t just have the best record. They’re the best team when it comes to offense, defense, everything. They are leading the NBA with 111.8 points per 100 possessions, 4.3 rating points better than the next best team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. They are fifth in defensive efficiency with 96.8 points allowed per 100 possessions. Their net rating of +15.0 is by far better than anyone else’s. They have the best effective field goal percentage (55.9%) and the best True Shooting ratio (59.2%), with the Cavaliers coming in second on both metrics.
A little bit more about percentages. The Warriors aren’t the only team in the league that have turned the 3-pointer into their main weapon. However, no one does it as well as them, making 41.6% of their shots (were 39.8% last season), while taking 30 shots per game. Only the Houston Rockets shoot more threes than them, but they’re hitting less than 30% of them.
The Warriors have won their 15 games by 216 points so far. Only five times have they won by less than 10 points, and never by less than four, none of their games becoming a one possession situation. They’ve won just two of their games by 20 points or more (including beating the Grizzlies by 50).
The question now is whether or not the Warriors make that mark by the Chicago Bulls from 1995-1996. Right now, the Warriors seem better than that, don’t they? While the Bulls didn’t have a 15-0 start (“only” 13-2), after a 5-1 start they had a stretch of 36 wins in 38 games. Their longest winning streak was 18 games and had a four-game stretch within the win streak in which they won by 24, 29, 26 and 27. The Bulls’ best 15 game run saw them beating teams by 17.5 points a night. They went 12-4 against the six other teams in the NBA that won at least 50 games, including 2-0 sweeps of the Spurs, Jazz and Lakers. They were 25-3 against the Western Conference. They finished the year, including the playoffs, with an 87-13 record, losing just once in the three series leading up to the finals. The Warriors weren’t too far from that mark last season, and this year they seem capable of making a little bit more history on their way to another NBA title.