Warriors

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

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USATSI

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.

The Warriors are going to be fine.

Eventually.

They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.

After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.

“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.

“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”

It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.

Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.

It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.

“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.

“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.

For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.

And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”

The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.

Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”

That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.

“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”

Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.

“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”

He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.

That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.

Draymond responds to Embiid: 'Man, I love that dude'

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AP

Draymond responds to Embiid: 'Man, I love that dude'

Draymond Green and Joel Embiid are two of the biggest trash talkers in the NBA. 

After the 76ers blew a 22-point halftime lead to the Warriors on Saturday, Embiid tweeted "we know what it feels like to blow a big lead" to take a jab at the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals two years ago. 

Green finally saw the tweet and it looks like it's all fun and games between the two. The Warriors' defensive star says he's "looking forward to playing against you (Embiid) for years." 

While tweeting the response, Green had even more to say. 

In the Warriors' 124-116 win over the 76ers on November 18, Green scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished eight assists. Embiid scored 21 points to go with eight rebounds.

Why did David Lee retire? Warriors impact on NBA 'did limit my options'

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USATSI

Why did David Lee retire? Warriors impact on NBA 'did limit my options'

Last season, David Lee appeared in 79 games (10 starts) for the Spurs, averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds over 18.7 minutes a night.

He doesn't turn 35 years old until April 29.

But over the weekend, he officially announced his retirement from the NBA.

On Tuesday, the two-time All-Star explained his decision during an interview with Greg Papa and Bonta Hill on 95.7 The Game.

"I kind of had a little bit more of a strict criteria coming into this offseason. At the most I wanted to play another two years, and as you know -- I had another injury last season, so a lot of the summer was spent rehabbing.

"And with the NBA changing right now, the Warriors have caused a lot of teams in the league to say either we're gonna try to put as many guys on one team as possible to try to compete with the Warriors, or we're gonna go super young. So it did limit my options."

[POOLE: In his own way, David Lee was a launching pad for the new age Warriors]

You know the story: When Steve Kerr arrived in Golden State, Lee was slated to be the team's starting power forward. But after he injured his hamstring during the preseason, Draymond Green became the starter and Lee never got his starting role back.

In July 2015, Golden State traded him to Boston. Lee was waived in February 2016 and finished the season in Dallas.

So what is Lee going to do next?

"I either wanted to be in a situation where I was on a team that could be a contender -- which once again as you know limits it to maybe six teams if we're being generous -- or a team where I could play significant enough minutes to really be worth coming back and to feel like I was doing something meaningful.

"And while I had a couple opportunities, that criteria wasn't really filled. And at the same time, I actually got a call from a couple of my very good friends that I met while I was a Golden State Warrior -- that run an unbelievable venture capital firm and are doing incredible things in the Bay -- and offered to have me come work for them and have some very exciting things that could happen in the future.

"When the offers didn't come in the way that I wanted them to -- although I could go be someone's fourth big man on a team that's gonna win 30 games -- I decided to roll the dice and to try something new and I'm really excited about my decision."

Lee's new venture will have him flying back and forth between New York and the Bay Area.

So it's quite possible that Warriors fans will bump into Lee at some point soon...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller