- Abbie Parr/Getty
- Steve Kerr said the Golden State Warriors need to “reset” and re-focus their priorities.
- While Kerr said he doesn’t focus on individual games with his team, he said he sees larger trends that need fixing.
- At a time when the rest of the NBA seems to be falling apart with infighting, the Warriors are cruising along, and it seems as though Kerr is simply looking for ways to motivate his team.
The NBA seems to be falling apart.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are fighting and blaming Kevin Love, the San Antonio Spurs are “disconnected” from Kawhi Leonard, and the Milwaukee Bucks fired Jason Kidd, which “devastated” Giannis Antetokounmpo.
And those are just three major storylines of the last week. The Washington Wizards had a team meeting that didn’t solve anything, and then were blown out by the Dallas Mavericks as Mavs point guard J.J. Barea said nobody likes John Wall.
Damian Lillard had a meeting with Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen to ensure the team is focused on winning.
The NBA has had several on-court altercations in the past two weeks, highlighted by the Houston Rockets confronting the Los Angeles Clippers in the Clippers’ locker room.
Elsewhere, teams like the Charlotte Hornets are considering blowing it up and trading Kemba Walker, though team owner Michael Jordan may not be fully on board.
In the midst of all of this, the Golden State Warriors say they need to “reset.”
The Warriors’ drama is different from other teams. The Warriors aren’t perfect, but they’re close to it. Teams with championship aspirations often drag through the regular season as they await the postseason when things really begin. But the Warriors aren’t even most championship teams. They’re first in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating, and their net rating – the total by which they outscore teams per 100 possessions – is still the best in the league.
But head coach Steve Kerr sees some problems with his team. When the Warriors lost to the Rockets on Saturday, they turned the ball over 19 times and sent the Rockets to the free throw line 29 times. That’s sloppy, and the Warriors have always battled sloppiness.
Yet Kerr’s reaction to it tells you all you need to know about the Warriors.
Kerr said with this team, he doesn’t care about individual games. He cares about trends. And too many turnovers has been a trend recently.
— Melissa Rohlin (@melissarohlin) January 22, 2018
So, Kerr told reporters, he sees a trend with his team and it’s time to “reset” and get them back on track.
“There are key points in the year where we have to hit the reset button in terms of our priorities and now is one of those times,” Kerr said. “This is an important week for us in a standpoint of we need to take care of the ball, we need to be smart, make good decisions. If we do that, we’re really really hard to beat.”
Kerr has echoed similar sentiments before. He said on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” in December that he was expecting his team go through ebbs and flows.
“It’s just human nature. The motivation wanes a little bit, and the edge, you lose your edge,” Kerr said, adding that the team doesn’t have much internal drama.
“There’s a malaise that has settled in,” Kerr said. “It’s a long way off until the playoffs start and we just don’t have that same edge that we’ve had the last couple years. And I’m perfectly fine with it because, like I said, it’s human nature and we’ve got to kind of in some ways pace ourselves and get to the end of the year.”
It’s worth considering what that “malaise” is, though. Since beginning the season 4-3, the Warriors have gone 35-7. Two weeks ago they outclassed their biggest rivals, the Cavaliers, who appear to be falling apart and going through the exact type of slog that Kerr described.
The Warriors can’t get too comfortable, and Kerr knows that. The Rockets do appear to be a potential threat to the Warriors, the Spurs will always be around, and talented teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves are jelling and starting to improve.
But at a time when drama seems to be pervading through the league, it’s hardly noticeable that the league’s clear-cut best team is cruising right along, even if Kerr doesn’t think so.