Warriors

Warriors GM Myers evaluates first half, 'special camaraderie'

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Warriors GM Myers evaluates first half, 'special camaraderie'

If the Warriors can’t quite comprehend the magnitude of their accomplishments prior to the All-Star break, it is because they entered this season with three primary concerns and all of them were legitimate.

They were coming off the longest season in team history, which also meant the shortest offseason in team history.

The head coach, Steve Kerr, who led them to their first championship in 40 years made it only two days into training camp before taking a medical leave of absence.

And, finally, there is the very real “championship hangover,” which often afflicts teams after being fitted for crowns.

[RELATED: Jordan to Klay: 'Go ahead and go break the record']

Those concerns were rinsed away in a shower of victories, 24 in a row to start the season, and 48 in the 52 games prior to the All-Star Game.

The Warriors are winning at a historical pace and general manager Bob Myers, who always aims high, grapples to find an apt description for the season thus far.

“Pick a superlative that is a positive,” Myers told CSNBayArea.com.

“The adversity that we faced was on the coaching side,” he continued. “And we’ve dealt with that and met that challenge, and hopefully have overcome it. If you would have told me Steve would miss that many games, and that we would now be entering the break with him back and the record we have, we’d be very, very pleased. It’s been a good year.”

Most pleasing aspect of this season, according to Myers, is the way the Warriors have handled success – by stalking even more of it.

“We have to be really happy with the response coming off of a championship, as far as not resting on your laurels, not feeling yourself too much, just coming with the same competitiveness,” he said. “They’re respecting the game, respecting the process, working hard in practice, sharing the ball and the egos are not getting out of hand.”

[RELATED: All-Stars weigh in on Warriors, chance at breaking Bulls' record]

Most of the roster was assembled by the current front office, with the most influence provided by CEO Joe Lacob, executive board member Jerry West, assistant general managers Travis Schlenk and Kirk Lacob and Myers.

They inherited only one player on the current roster, Steph Curry, who happens to be the league MVP and centerpiece of the franchise. Everyone else, coaches and players, has been drafted or acquired since Peter Guber and Lacob purchased the team in November 2010.

When Myers looks for reasons behind the improvement – the Warriors were 43-9 through 52 games last season – he points to two players in particular.

That would be Draymond Green and Curry, along with the coaching staff. Curry’s numbers in most categories are better. Green’s numbers, in every pertinent category, have risen.

“A lot of the improvement is our coaching staff,” Myers said. “They deserve some credit for putting them into position to succeed. The players certainly deserve credit for figuring out each other’s strengths and how to compliment each other on the floor.

“Draymond and Steph have developed a special camaraderie – along with Klay (Thompson) as well – that has them finding ways to help each other on the court offensively and defensively.”

[RELATED: Poole's NBA awards at All-Star break: Warriors clean up]

All of which has resulted in a 48-4 record and conversation surrounding the Warriors posting the best record in NBA history. And, moreover, midseason routs of the Cavaliers and Spurs – the teams considered the biggest threats to the title – has put appreciable distance between the Warriors and the rest of the NBA.

No rational person could have seen this coming.

The Warriors have vanquished the doubts. The short offseason was a speed bump. The void created by Kerr’s absence was filled by interim coach Luke Walton, the rest of the coaching staff and the players, particularly Curry and Green.

And rather than suffering from championship hangover, the Warriors seem to have been energized by the achievement.

When picking a positive superlative, one comes to mind: Extraordinary.

Kyrie Irving frustrated with questions about friendly Kevin Durant video

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USATSI

Kyrie Irving frustrated with questions about friendly Kevin Durant video

In a season where the Warriors have a chance to cement themselves as one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, what could happen this summer is stealing headlines.

Especially if you're Kevin Durant Durant. 

Even when the Warriors star forward won his second NBA All-Star Game MVP, all anyone could talk about over the weekend was a video that surfaced of Durant and Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving. Here's the gist of the clip: two superstar friends are laughing and having a conversation with each other. Simple, right?

Oh, and both players could be free agents this summer and join up as teammates.

Irving was asked about the video Wednesday and a frustrating exchange ensued between point guard and reporter. 

From the social media uproar, Irving goes on to say, "This is the stuff that doesn't make the league fun." Here's the full transcript and video of his responses. 

Durant has had his own issues with the media. He went silent for nine days before unleashing a tirade during a Warriors postgame press conference.

[RELATED: Warriors 'have no idea' what Kevin Durant will do in free agency]

The good news for both players is this -- basketball is back. All-Star break is over and games can again be the focus when talking about both of these players. 

Well, maybe.

Five issues Warriors must confront to clear path to another championship

Five issues Warriors must confront to clear path to another championship

OAKLAND -- The Warriors reconvened Wednesday, settling in for a sprint they hope ends with triumph in June. Knowing what lies ahead and recognizing the clearest path to that goal, they scrimmaged for maybe the fourth time since preseason.

There are five issues that, if not solved, could derail hopes for a third consecutive championship and one last Warriors parade through the streets of Oakland.

Here are those issues, in order of importance:

1) STAYING HEALTHY

This is easily the most essential component, though much of its fate is more dependent on luck than any other factor.

This is about more than keeping the five 2018 All-Stars -- DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson -- upright and productive. That’s the obvious.

[RELATED: Kerr explains how rehabbing Cousins was 'pain in the a**']

But it can’t stop there. The Warriors come out of the break with six games in nine days. They have five back-to-back sets over the final seven weeks, including three over the final 18 days.

“Our health will be the No. 1 priority, over everything, entering the playoffs,” coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday. “If we need to rest guys, we’ll rest ‘em.”

To get Playoff Andre (Iguodala) and Peak Draymond, for example, it’s imperative to manage minutes.

2) COPING AMID THE NOISE

The Warriors pride themselves on their positive culture, citing their work/fun balance as a primary aspect of their success. That will be tested like never before.

Durant’s impending free agency already has been a source of agitation for some, and it has not always been kept in the locker room. It was at the crux of the very public squabble between Durant and Green in November.

It could get worse. On top of teammates already teasing KD about joining the Knicks, we now have All-Star Weekend chatter and video of Celtics free agent Kyrie Irving (also speculated as a future Knick) and Durant having one-on-one conversations.

[RELATED: Dubs reportedly 'have no idea' what KD will do this summer]

This is not going away. How the Warriors navigate this will take plenty of skill. One more wrong move could threaten their goal.

3) DEFENDING WITH A VENGEANCE

The Warriors were a top-10 defense four years running -- until last season. They finished 11th in defensive rating, but dialed it up in the postseason to finish No. 1.

With 25 regular-season games remaining, they are 15th. That won’t be good enough. Can they crank it up before the postseason? Can they find it in the postseason? They are acutely aware of the matter and believe believe they know how to fix it.

“Our communication on the defensive end could get better,” Green said. “Everything on defense for us over the course of the last three, four or five years, it’s been second nature because we’ve been playing together. You can call a switch and the other guy will just know to switch.

[RELATED: Outsider Observations: Dubs face questions down backstretch]

“We’ve added so many pieces this year that it’s not second nature. You have to communicate a bit more. We weren’t necessarily great at that, so we’ve got to improve upon that.”

4) SECOND-UNIT COHESION

Kerr has spent four months tinkering and adjusting with his rotations. He’s not done, either. As long as there are matchups to consider and inconsistencies impacting decisions, this could be fluid.

The important thing here is to find a group that won’t open the second and fourth quarters surrendering much of, if not all of, the cushions built by the starters.

That means, for the most part, finding offense when Curry and Durant are resting. It has been an issue for much of this season, and it often forces the Warriors to win the game two or three times before it’s officially won.

[RELATED: Report: Warriors have mused about making run at Giannis]

That means getting offense from Thompson and Cousins and also a third party. Could be Iguodala. Could be Jonas Jerebko or Alfonzo McKinnie. Could be the player who fills the open roster spot (assuming one is signed). Has to be somebody.

5) TAKING BACK ORACLE

The Warriors in Kerr’s first two seasons were practically invincible at home, going 39-2 each year before dropping to a superb 36-6 in 2016-17.

They lost that touch last season, posting 29-12 records both home and away.

The Warriors are 22-7 at home this season, the last at Oracle Arena. With 14 dates remaining, anything less than 12-2 could imperil chances of getting the No. 1 overall seed. It won’t be simple -- unless they master the four aforementioned factors.