The Golden State Warriors have won two of their first three games, but as far as they’re concerned they might as well be winless.
Head coach Steve Kerr intimated as much following the team’s 106-100 win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, a game that was much closer and left in doubt for far longer than it should have been. Here’s what he said, per ESPN.com’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss:
“We were frustrated in the first half. You guys can all see it. This is not coming easily,” Kerr said. “We have a new team and a lot of different faces, but even for the returning guys, it’s a different mix.”
So much for the new-look Warriors avoiding the learning curve endured by most other superteams through NBA history.
Indeed, it has proven much harder for Golden State to balance the presence of Kevin Durant with incumbents Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. You see glimpses of it working during every game, but only for certain stretches. The result has been a 29-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs, at home, to open the season, and a pair of much-too-close wins over projected lottery teams (New Orleans Pelicans and Suns).
Time will heal the Warriors’ offensive wounds. They rank 13th in points scored per 100 possessions at the moment, according to Basketball-Reference, and that’s with their Core Four shooting worse than their respective career averages from three-point range.
Defense is a different story. The Warriors are sporting a bottom-five points-prevention unit, with no clear solution to their turnstile stylings. They very clearly miss interior deterrents Festus Ezeli and Andrew Bogut; the combination of Zaza Pachulia and David West just isn’t the same.
Still, the Warriors’ biggest problem, as of now, boils down to an embarrassment of riches. They can and will figure things out eventually. They have too much talent, all of which should inevitably complement one another.
But if Kerr is saying things like this in January, as Golden State nears the season’s halfway point, then yeah, it’ll be time to worry.