Fans see it and perhaps occasionally feel it, but every competitor on the Warriors payroll is living it.
The failure to achieve a winning streak of as much as four games, a feat the Warriors accomplished 35 times between 2014 and 2019.
The constant experimenting in search of complementary and productive rotations, the first-quarter lethargy, the fourth-quarter collapses, the postgame soul-searching.
For an organization rebuilt from ashes to platinum – the most recent of the four NBA franchises to win three championships in four years – being imprisoned by mediocrity can drop boulders on the spirit.
You don’t have to look hard to see coach Steve Kerr trying, sometimes without success, to disguise his anguish with words of perspective.
“Yeah, I sent him that text today. I did. I did,” general manager Bob Myers said Friday. “I said, ‘This is tough, man. This is hard.’ In the same breath we both kind of chuckled that we've seen the other side of the coin, too, with a roster that didn't need much -- obviously every roster needs refining, but one that stood alone pretty well. So, we can't complain.”
There hasn’t been much real complaining. Who would gripe loudly, during real-life tragedies and a deadly global pandemic, about not winning as often as they’d like?
The Warriors entered the weekend with a 22-23 record, on the unstable far end of the Western Conference postseason spectrum. The 15-50 record last season was easily explained by roster defections and severe injuries, but this season has been an ice-cold dose of reality.
Which is why Kerr can appreciate such small gestures as supportive text message from the GM. The highest levels of franchise is not always in harmony with the coaching staff – even with the Warriors – but it is understood that bruises are a part of growth and development.
“Oh, man, I’m so lucky to work with Bob and to work in this organization,” Kerr said. “We have an unbelievable group. I get so much support, and I never doubt any of that support.
“What we try to do is address everything head on. Bob and I have such a great relationship that he can bring up anything to me and vice versa, and we don’t take it personally because we know we’re both trying for the same thing.”
The players, particularly influential veterans Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, are coping with the same dissatisfaction. They want to win. They’re accustomed to winning as a matter of routine. That routine has been torn away this season.
The Warriors, top to bottom, believe the best days of this season have yet to come – and that they will come. Moreover, they believe they can withstand the current status because most of the key players – certainly Myers, Kerr and Curry – have a broad view of basketball and life.
“I think we all look at his recent history, but he has been through it – it wasn't like he just walked into the NBA and everything was perfect for him,” Myers said of Curry. “Individually, certainly team-wise. So, he's got a great grasp of, an appreciation for what we were, what we are, what he went through with his own injuries and own path to success, and the own questioning of his ability, albeit at a different level.
“Even at superstar status there's pressure on a guy like that. There's pressure on him being a leader of a team, when it's great, when it's in the middle, and when it's not so great. It's not something I put in him and take credit for. It's something that he has, and you just watch him walk around.”
As the season slides toward the two-thirds point, all is not well with the Warriors. But listening to the principles, they seem quite a distance from believing all does not seems lost.