The Warriors suited up for a basketball game that mattered for the first time in more than nine months, and their play in the 2020-21 season opener reflected that fact. Golden State was beaten badly by old friend Kevin Durant and the Nets, 125-99.
Forward Draymond Green didn’t play, but guard Stephen Curry did. He struggled to mesh with his new teammates, finishing with 20 points on 7 for 21 shooting, hitting just 2 of 10 3-point shots, though he did have 10 assists.
The rest of the team struggled as well, and this amounted to a preseason-type game for the Warriors as they try to gel as a unit, notably with new wings Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins. The only problem is the game counted. But coach Steve Kerr knows the team is a work in progress.
Here’s what he told Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle after the season-opening loss.
Kerr can’t afford to burn the tape because he has a lot of teaching to do before this team can rise to playoff-worthy level. The coach is digging in his heels.
Here’s more insight from the coach, courtesy of NBC Sports’ Drew Shiller.
The lack of effort was noticeable to the naked eye, and Kerr’s comment confirms that. But help is on the way with the exuberant Draymond Green, who is set to return from a foot injury within the week. His agressive, in-your-face style (even with teammates) should kick Golden State into another gear.
Plus, rookie James Wiseman looked incredible, especially as the game got out of hand and he could stretch out and get comfortable. He looked good early, too, with an emphatic dunk for his first NBA bucket, on an assist from Wiggins. He finished second on the team in scoring with 19 points and six rebounds on 7 for 13 shooting. He flashed a tremendous shooting touch for a 7-footer, in what is an extremely positive development for the Warriors.
Wiseman, at just 19 years of age, as a lot to learn just like his team, including Green and Curry. They all have to work together to find their way. It was a rocky start, but Kerr is confident his team can progress as the season rolls along. Now, all the Warriors have to do is actually put in the work and see the results.