Moving forward, Liberty Ballers will conduct a question-and-answer session with someone possessing in-depth knowledge of the Philadelphia 76ers’ imminent opponent. Up next is Kendra Andrews, who covers the Philadelphia 76ers for NBC Sports Bay Area.
What’s one key matchup you’re keeping tabs on for this game?
The matchup I’m watching is Tyrese Maxey and Steph Curry. With Joel Embiid out, and Seth Curry and Tobias Harris questionable, Maxey is going to have to carry the load against the Warriors. As a guard whose defense is underrated, I’m interested to see how Curry does defensively against him. And, of course, Curry’s offense is out of this world. Following an “off” game against the Toronto Raptors (2-of-10 shooting, 12 points), Curry might be ready to explode.
What’s your assessment on Golden State’s season thus far and its outlook moving forward?
My assessment of the Warriors so far is extremely positive. I figured they would play well this season, but I didn’t think they would gel this quickly and look so good early on. They have an NBA-best 15-2 record, and while some of those games were against lesser teams, the dominance they’ve displayed in them is no fluke. Add Klay Thompson and, eventually, James Wiseman to the mix, and they’ll be pretty unstoppable.
How have the roster changes from last season allowed Golden State to thrive, and what are the other differences from last year’s team?
The biggest change to the Warriors roster this season is their depth. Last year, you’d hold your breath during non-Curry minutes, which is usually when they’d surrender the lead, or, if not, just stick with their opponent. They’d rarely build on any advantage. This season, they’re thriving in the Steph-less minutes. Curry had an off-game the other day, but it didn’t really matter because of how other players stepped up. That would have never happened last season. The Warriors are so deep that players who were fixtures in the rotation last season are now at the end of the bench. Every night, someone different steps up.
Biggest pleasant surprise of the season?
The biggest good surprise has been the Warriors’ rebounding. After finishing 22nd in the league in boards last season, they’re currently second. How they did it, I’m not quite sure. Kevon Looney is the only true center for the Warriors right now, and he’s been a tremendous rebounder, particularly on the offensive glass. Then, Draymond Green, Nemanja Bjelica and even the guards have been putting in work as well.
Biggest disappointment of the season?
I’m not sure there’s been a big disappointment — yet. The Warriors are at the top of or near the top of every statistical category right now. I suppose I’d say the biggest disappointment has been moments when the Warriors come out extremely lackadaisical to open games. Despite their record, they’re still not a team that can win in their sleep. But sometimes, they feel like they think they can. The good news is they have the talent to overcome those poor starts. Yet as they enter tougher stretches of the schedule, they may not be able to anymore.
What’s one thing Sixers fans should watch for in this game?
Monitor Jordan Poole. Coming off a career game against Toronto (33 points), how will Poole follow it up? But more than just his point total, I’ll be curious about his shot selection, which was great against the Raptors. Barometers for Poole’s progress are his shot selection, when/if he opts to attack instead of settling, and the effort he offers defensively.