Where the Warriors play their home games this coming season will look a lot different than last. How the Warriors play those game will look a lot different, too.
Steve Kerr confirmed as much, as the Warriors head coach told The Athletic's Joe Vardon that Golden State's season is far more likely to resemble his first year at the helm rather than the most recent.
"That first year we had to implement everything -- that takes time,” Kerr said. “It’s exciting, and that’s what we’re going to do with the new group, so that’s really exciting.
“That part excites me," he continued. "It’s going to be much more similar to Year 1 for my staff."
As you might recall, that first season worked out just fine for Kerr & Co., as the Warriors won 67 regular-season games on their way to the franchise's first NBA title in 40 years. He'd obviously love for the season ahead to conclude the same way, but Kerr knows the Dubs have their work cut out for them.
Kevin Durant is gone, as are Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins. That's a lot of star power with championship experience that will be missing from the locker room, but Kerr argues there's an even tougher loss to overcome.
"Klay (Thompson) being out is really the big change,” Kerr admitted. “Losing Kevin, Andre, Shaun, obviously, those are huge losses. Losing Klay on top of all that really changes the way we’re going to have to play at both ends. Klay was always an integral part of everything. Movement on offense, but also the guarding of the ballhandler on defense, switching onto bigs. So until he gets back, we’ve got to re-imagine everything and adapt accordingly."
After tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the Finals, Thompson is expected to miss a significant portion of the coming season.
D'Angelo Russell, acquired in a sign-and-trade with the Nets, will be counted on to make up for the missing offense, but there will be growing pains in acclimating the new players on the roster.
"Lot of new beginnings, new arena, new roster, and probably some new things, style of play, strategy,” Kerr explained. “We’ll figure that out as we go. You always have to see how it looks on the court before you can really establish your identity. I’m excited about the challenge and it’s amazing it’s only a couple weeks away."
Indeed it is.
Chase Center has already opened its doors for its inaugural events, and Opening Night will be here before we know it. When it does arrive, the Warriors won't be unveiling a new championship banner, and from a symbolic standpoint, that's just fine with Kerr.
"We can’t stop and think, ‘Are we this team?’ ‘Where do we stand with the hierarchy of the league?’” Kerr said. “Forget all of that, let everybody else discuss that. It’s part of the fun, we get it, of following the NBA, but we can’t let it be part of our own identity because we don’t control the narrative. We control what we can do on the floor and just be as good as we can be and see what happens."