For a half-decade, Steve Kerr coached the NBA's behemoth, roaming the sideline as Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson rained fire on the entire NBA.
Now, as the Warriors prepare to open the 2020-21 season in Brooklyn against Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Nets, Kerr is on the other side of things.
“I probably deserve this, given that I was coaching a team like that for five years,” Kerr said while laughing, via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “So, it’s probably about time I have to face this, where you’ve got all these weapons, all these players who can hurt you. Obviously Kevin and Kyrie, but so many of their support players are capable of having huge nights.
"We know what we’re in for in terms of a team that is capable of exploding like they did against Boston the other night, so we’ve got to be ready. The only thing you can do is try to lock in on your keys and take away the easy stuff: not give them transition buckets where they get behind the play, where you’re just giving up something without even a fight. You’ve got to be ready to battle every possession and make things difficult.”
The Warriors were expected to vault back into NBA title contention this season after spending last season at the bottom of the NBA with Curry and Thompson out because of injuries. But Thompson's devastating torn Achilles altered the expectations a bit, as Curry and the Warriors will arrive at Barclays Center on Tuesday night as the NBA's great unknown.
In some ways, the Nets are in a similar boat to the Warriors. Durant missed all of last season while rehabbing the ruptured Achilles he suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He has looked close to the Durant of old during preseason action, but we don't know how Durant, Irving and the Nets will work under first-year coach Steve Nash.
The Nets are expected to contend for an NBA title. The Warriors, meanwhile, hope Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr. and James Wiseman can gel quickly and make Golden State a factor come playoff time.
The Warriors have gone from the hunted to the hunters in short time. They'll get their first test Tuesday when they face the man who once made them almost unbeatable.