BOSTON – Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr let the cat out of the bag several hours before Thursday night’s tilt at the TD Garden with the Celtics.
He was planning, albeit quietly, for a season like this one for the Warriors mini-dynasty, which included three titles in four years.
“The last two years and I would urge everybody (back in the San Francisco/Oakland area), ‘Enjoy it while it lasts,’ “ said Kerr. “And now we’re in regroup mode, and this is how it works. This is life.
“And I’d like to think that our organization, our team of coaches we’ve all handled losing with grace,” said Kerr. “That’s really important because it helps establish your identity and it helps you move forward to try to get back to winning ways.”
This is a bit strange. The Warriors not only fell off the cliff, but they are having a problem this winter getting near the mountain.
They have taken worst-to-first and turned it on its head, literally going from the NBA Finals (lost 4-2 to the Toronto Raptors) to worst team in the NBA at 10-38, losing 14 of their last 15.
Obviously, there are legitimate reasons, as in they lost three of the top 10 to 15 players in the league to free agency (Kevin Durant) and injury (Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, who has played only four games).
“It’s a lot tougher to cover 25 feet than it is 18 feet,” said Kerr, who still is NBA record-holder for 3-point percentage at 45.4 percent.
But the Warriors, under Kerr, have been noted for other things like toughness, defense and easy hoops around the basket.
That’s where the only healthy Warrior from The Big Four, Draymond Green, comes in.
Probably the sorest loser in the league, Green is still trying to adjust to losing nearly four out of every five games.
But be mindful he signed a four-year, $100 million extension last August, knowing this year would be different.
“I do look at myself as a winner,” said Green. “It’s not easy. This has been an adjustment. But I am a leader on this team. We have a lot of young guys. Part of my job is showing them what hard work really is, that losing is unacceptable.”
As for Kerr and the Warriors picking up where they left off, meaning the 2020-21 season? Not so fast.
They have issues at center, meaning they don’t have one. And they need to find bigger pieces beyond a healthy Curry and Thompson.
Three weeks ago, Curry was caught on video courting the reigning MVP and top center in the league, Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, at the Chase Center in San Francisco:
“Let’s do it. Come on, man.”
Curry had the gall to do it as he was about to shake hands with the Bucks No. 2 star, Khris Middleton, just two feet away.
There is another issue confronting the Warriors will have to confront next year and beyond. The competition is better.
The two L.A. teams are great. The Bucks, Nuggets, Sixers and, last night’s foe, the Celtics could be on the cusp of being “great.”
“I would urge everybody, enjoy it while it lasts,” said Kerr. “We’re in regroup mode, and this is, this is how it works. This is life.
“It’s not gonna last forever, unless you’re the Patriots or the Spurs. So, this (losing) is inevitable.”
When Kerr was informed that Patriots fans aren’t ready for this “re-grouping” and could probably use his pep talk, he smiled.
“Oh those poor Patriots fans,” said Kerr. “I’m so devastated for them. I don’t know how they can go on.”
You can email Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kerr knew C’s would be good
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has talked about the “high-flying” Celtics for a few years now, commending coach Brad Stevens at every opportunity.
When it came to this upcoming season he had a better view of what was to come than most when he was an assistant coach for team USA at the FIBA World Cup in China for a month over last August and September.
“I was with four of them,” said Kerr, referring to Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
“I could feel the chemistry existed (between them) and I could tell within one day of practice what a incredible leader Kemba is, a high character, fun person to be around,” said Kerr. “Watching those four guys together I knew they were going to click. So this is not surprising at all.”
He also has followed Gordon Hayward recent play, another plus for the C’s.
“I’m really happy for (him), that he’s back now I know he was off to a great start and then suffered another injury,” said Kerr. “There’s a lot of luck involved. You have to have to have good fortune and good health and I hope they stay healthy now but they’ve been knocking on the door for a few years. They got a great roster, a great coaching staff, great management. They’ve done it all right, here.”