As they did in being run off their home floor by a title contender and being waxed on the road by team 40 prayers from reaching the playoffs, the Warriors this season will lose many more games by shockingly wide margins.
And because their talent is unexceptional and their roster is designed for errors, they won’t be able to do anything about it.
But they don’t have to accept it as lazily as they did against the Clippers and Thunder,
The level of apathy displayed by most of the Warriors, mostly on defense, was stunning. On a roster with so many new faces having so much to prove, being unaware on defense is a misdemeanor but being flat-footed, arms dangling at the sides, is a felony deserving of penalty.
But coach Steve Kerr isn’t in a position to bench players, because that might leave him without five players to send onto the floor.
In reviewing video of their 120-92 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday, there were too many instances of Warriors playing defense as if they’d never been coached and, worse, never known the hunger of desire.
It wasn’t much better on opening night last week in San Francisco.
It’s one thing for accomplished veterans Stephen Curry and Draymond Green to try to set examples by diving for loose balls and playing through obvious discomfort, as they have done in both games. It’s quite another for them to consistently be the hardest-working Warriors.
Understand, now, Curry and Green were plenty imperfect. They have a lot of corrections to make, and some blunders will be cured as part of the natural progress that comes with being overrun with new teammates.
But if the pattern this season is that of Curry and Green sprinting into battle, and then looking over their shoulders and seeing teammates strolling behind, the Warriors could lose 50 games.
Most of them by double digits.
And, moreover, it will get ugly in the locker room.
When Draymond pointed out last week that he has seen D’Angelo Russell play smart, spirited defense in scrimmages and, therefore knows he is capable, he was setting a standard for what’s acceptable from the team’s prized offseason acquisition.
And Russell isn’t meeting it.
Rookie Eric Paschall gets lost but generally seems to be working at it. Fellow rookie Jordan Poole brings it one minute and doesn’t the next two.
Big men Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman sometimes look confused but more often look apathetic and, the crime of crimes, passive. Chriss may be trying to curb his tendency to foul – it’s something he must fix to unwrap his potential – but Spellman simply looks lethargic
Veteran forward Glenn Robinson III needs to make shots, and he’s not. If only he were offsetting that with defensive effort and effectiveness. Nope. Not yet.
Maybe this will change organically, with players breaking more of a sweat in the wake of being outed by embarrassing video.
Maybe it will change because Draymond finds a way to reach his new teammates with a message that sinks in.
If it doesn’t change, this will be a properly uncomfortable season, with games as early as March being tossed into the trivia bin.