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Just one week into the season, the Warriors have been plagued by the same issues through all of their games: transition defense, lack of ball movement and too much fouling.
The Warriors have been consistent with their message — that it will take them some time to get settled with their new personnel and rotation, especially as players such as Klay Thompson regain full conditioning. They aren’t panicked.
However, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he hasn’t felt a sense of urgency from his team to address its issues, and therein lies the bigger problem.
“It takes a little time,” Kerr said. “We’ll get there. I am very confident in that. But our guys need to come together and there needs to be a sense of purpose. We have to figure out what that means.”
Guard Jordan Poole was one of the lone Warriors to play with a sustained amount of urgency against the Pistons, finishing the night with 30 points, scoring 15 of them consecutively in the third quarter. Stephen Curry led the team with 32 points. They were the only two Golden State players to score in double figures.
“We just got to pick it up,” Poole said. “A couple of guys talked in the locker room about our urgency and how we need to get it together. So that’s definitely a point of focus.”
Golden State has allowed at least 125 points in four of its first seven games, just the second time it has done so in franchise history. The last time was in the 1962-63 season, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information research.
The Warriors also have allowed 854 points so far this season — the most allowed by a defending champion through seven games in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. They have the No. 21 defensive rating in the league.
The Warriors have long followed the philosophy that their signature free-flowing and high-powered offense stems from solid defense. Right now, forward Draymond Green says the Warriors’ offense — whether it be floor balance or lack of ball movement — is killing their defense.
“The reality is you can’t correct every issue,” Green said. “For us, it’s pinpointing the things that are really hurting us. Some things that are hurting us, won’t beat you. So you don’t worry as much about those. But things that are hurting us and actually beating us, we need to pinpoint exactly what that is. Once we can do that, then we can go in and figure it out.”
Green said they are still figuring out the specifics of their ongoing issues. One reason for that is the Warriors are dealing with a sense of unknown, as they’re in the process of relearning how to play with one another while integrating a new, much younger second unit.
With the departures of Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr., the arrivals of Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green, and the increased workloads of Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman, Golden State nearly has a completely different rotation than its championship team.
“When you are playing younger guys, it definitely makes it tougher to execute on both ends of the floor, but by no means is it the young guys’ fault,” Green said. “They have a part in it like we all do. We have to figure those things out, but it’s not solely their fault. Working them in changes things, but we can blame them. Frankly, I don’t think any of us are playing that great on both sides of the ball.”
Curry added: “The effort has been solid, but when it’s not cohesive when we’re not all on the right string, you can have guys try to do the right thing, but it doesn’t lead to any results.”