Coach Steve Kerr has seen a lot in his basketball life, including abundant championships as a player and coach. And that’s a good thing, because it seems as thought there’s a lot to sort through early in this year’s Warriors campaign.
For instance: Golden State is outpacing expectations with its 5-4 record thus far, but it’s starting lineup has been outscored by the opponent. Most notably, new starting guard, Kelly Oubre, Jr., has struggled mightily with his shot. According to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, the starting five of Oubre, Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and James Wiseman has been outscored at the start of games 67-49 so far.
So will coach Kerr switch it up? He says no, and the reason hearkens back to the Warriors championship dynasty from not long ago.
“It’s hard to find a rhythm with that group, because there are a lot of moving parts, but I’m really committed to it because of the defensive potential,” Kerr said, according to Simmons. “If we want to be a great defensive team, that’s the lineup that makes the most sense. If we can start every game with a really good defensive stand through the first part of the first quarter, it sets a good tone for the rest of the game. I’d rather commit to our defense right now and sort out our offense.”San Francisco Chronicle
Now that’s exactly what I want to hear: a commitment to defense. Kerr is obviously still aware of the problems scoring field goals, however. That’s why he he’s been playing more stretches of “small ball” with reserve shooters Damion Lee and Mychal Mulder, along with Green and reserve Eric Paschall taking turns playing center in place of Wiseman.
But defense is what took the Warriors to a championship level — along with their ability to score, of course — and defense is almost definitely the No. 1 factor in all of Kerr’s other championships, as well. So he’s staying the course while still making moves to generate offense. So far, it’s working, and playoff aspirations for the Warriors are still intact.