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Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors

The 50-40-90 club is an exclusive club for only the best and well-rounded shooters in NBA history. In our base ten society, these established benchmarks are an extremely arbitrary but fun way to determine who the most efficient scorers are.

The definition is simple: shoot at least 50% from the field, 40% from 3-point range, and 90% from the free throw line, and as long as you meet the minimum number of required shots, you’re in the club. It’s a difficult feat to accomplish because not only must a player be an amazing shooter to hit that rate of 3-pointers and free throws, they must be well-rounded enough as a scorer to be well above average in efficiency to cross the 50% field goal percentage threshold.

In recent years, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry have accomplished it once. Steve Nash accomplished it four times! The only other active player to come close is Jose Calderon, who would’ve passed the thresholds if he had hit two more of his field goal attempts in 2008.

This year, three Warriors are closing in on the benchmarks. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant are three of the best shooters and scorers in the league, and the fact that teammates might achieve this distinction is ridiculous.

Steph Curry is perhaps the most likely to make the 50-40-90 club (again!). He is currently shooting 48.5% from the field, 40.3% from three, and 93.4% from the line. After struggling with his three point shot early in the season, he bumped his three point rate up almost two percentage points in the Warriors’ win against Memphis on December 30th. All he has to do is shoot a little better from the field.

Kevin Durant is almost there as well. He’s shooting 50.2% from the field, 39.5% from three, and 89.1% from the line. While I do predict his field goal percentage to stay above 50%, he’s rarely shot 40% from three and 90% from the line in his career. If the Warriors’ offense returns to its early season levels, he’ll make it.

Klay Thompson is the only Warrior completely safe on 3-point percentage, hitting 45.0% of his threes. But his 48.4% from the field and 88.5% from the line will be tough for him to improve on, considering those are his career highs. Still, a strong finish to the season can easily push him over the edge.

The 50-40-90 mark is probably antiquated, and definitely a little meaningless. But it reveals how historically great Curry, Thompson, and Durant are, and how lucky Warriors fans are to have them all in their primes.

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Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are facing a tough showdown—not on the basketball court, but in a U.S. district court, where a judge has ordered the team to trial over its smartphone app, which allegedly recorded fans’ conversations.

The Warriors’ app bills itself as a way for fans to keep track of scores and stats. But while fans were watching the game, the app was watching them, fan LaTisha Satchell claims in a lawsuit. One of the app’s promotional tools allegedly turns a user’s phone microphone on and keeps it on, recording everything within earshot and relaying data back to the Warriors and a tech company, possibly in violation of wiretap laws.

“[The Warriors] gained access to tens of thousands of microphones belonging to consumers who downloaded the Warriors App and turned their mobile devices into bugged listening devices,” the suit alleges.

The unlikely snooping program started as an effort to sell merchandise and ticket upgrades, the suit contends. The Warriors wanted to know when fans were on Warrior-owned property, and how long they stayed there. The app tracked this through audio “beacons” that played through special transmitters in their arena and stores, the suit alleges. The app listened for those beacons and sent customized advertisements to a user’s phone.

An app user sitting in the nosebleed seats at a Warriors game might get a notification suggesting they upgrade to tickets with a better view. A fan in the gift shop might get an alert about a special promotion on merchandise.

The Warriors’ technology partners said fans were fine with the notifications.

“You’re not going to get mad at the Golden State Warriors and go to some other arena instead,” the CEO of the company that installed the beacons told Bloomberg earlier this year.

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Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors

DALLAS – A week ago, it seemed nothing could stop the Warriors. Their depth appeared so overwhelming that NBA teams pondered if any weaknesses existed. The Warriors’ discipline appeared so consistent it suggested they could run on autopilot.

Instead the Warriors have lost two of their first three games, matching their worst three-game start since 2009-10 under Don Nelson, the season they finished 26-56.

It’s absurd to think the Warriors could crash to those depths. They remain the heavy favorite to win their third NBA title in four years. There is no sign of panic.

“If you ask anybody in this locker room, nobody was expecting us to be playing at the level we left last year,” Warriors center Zaza Pachulia said after the 111-101 loss in Memphis on Saturday night. “That’s normal. Maybe it’s even good. That way we work harder and prepare ourselves for April, May and June.”

The Warriors have coughed up double-digit leads in losses to Houston and Memphis, and nearly squandered their cushion in their win over New Orleans. After vowing to finish in the top-five in defensive efficiency for the fourth consecutive season, the Warriors have allowed 117.7 points per game. Opponents are shooting 47.1%. And turnovers; despite a training-camp emphasis on passing, the Warriors have made 52 turnovers in three games.

Defending NBA champions are vulnerable to complacency. NBA coaches, Larry Bird once said, tend to lose their influence on players after three years. That led Warriors coach Steve Kerr to crack: “I’m in year four, aren’t I? I’m on the clock.”

Turning serious, Kerr said: “I was really lucky coming into this organization at the right time when players were really entering their primes. The thing I try to do is keep it light and fresh and let the assistants do the talking and hopefully my voice doesn’t get too old on them too quickly.”

The Warriors have suggested their problems lay elsewhere.

After having reduced practice time due to a compressed preseason schedule and a week-long trip in China, the Warriors have admitted feeling behind both with their conditioning and rhythm. The Warriors suggested those issues have contributed toward their struggles to defend without fouling.

Kerr called that a “major problem… Our habits are really bad. A lot of reaches, a lot of silly ones late in the shot clock.”

Stephen Curry has been the biggest offender. He was called for four fouls in Houston and five in Memphis. That wreaked havoc on Kerr’s substitution rotation. Saturday night in Memphis, he kept Curry in the game after he was called for his third foul in the second quarter. Moments later, Curry picked up his fourth foul.

Curry knows what he must do.

“You can still play aggressive defense and not reach,” Curry said. “I’ve done it my entire career just being conscious of where my hands are and where my body is. You play physical, the ticky-tack stuff and you’re literally reaching in and trying to get a steal and overzealous. That’s the stuff that can get you come back and bite you.”

While Curry accepts responsibility for the Warriors’ foul trouble, Durant takes the blame for the team’s turnover problem. Of the 52, Durant has 19.

“I’m just rushing,” Durant said. “I need to calm and settle down and I guess that will ignite the whole team. If I turn the ball over, it’s contagious.”

Still, a win Monday night at Dallas — the Mavericks are 0-3 — would give them a 2-1 trip.

“If we go 2-1, I’m happy with that,” Klay Thompson said. “2-1 on the road trip, that’s a good outcome.”