It has been a tumultuous start to the Warriors’ 2020-’21 campaign, but coach Steve Kerr couldn’t be more encouraged by what he’s seen of late from his team.
Even after Golden State's 108-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, Kerr was impressed by the Warriors' continued improvement and was especially encouraged by what he believes is still to come.
"The mood is good," Kerr said while speaking to reporters Thursday. "I think our team understands that our ceiling is a lot higher than where we are right now.
"There are a lot of teams that are finished products out there already, teams that have been together for a long time that know who they are and are executing at a really high level. Teams like that don’t have the same potential for improvement and growth that we have. That’s exciting to me, and I think our team understands that and recognizes it."
While the Warriors still are a far cry from the dynasty that reached five straight NBA Finals, Kerr has consistently advocated for the talent of his squad, preaching patience while new teammates figure out their designated roles and flow.
That standard hasn't changed. Golden State still will need much more time to fully reach its potential. However, Kerr couldn't be more pleased with the early progress.
"We have a lot of work to reach that ceiling," Kerr said. "I think the team feels good about where we are defensively. After the first couple of games, we were kind of a mess defensively. Everybody saw it. We weren’t ready for the season.
"Now it feels like we’re ready," he added. "Last night was a good example. We played one of the best team’s in the league. They played a great game defensively, they really made it tough on us to score, but we did the same thing."
The Warriors' loss to LA on Wednesday easily was a contest they could've won, even without Steph Curry in the final minutes. A scrappy second unit of Damion Lee, Kent Bazemore, Brad Wanamaker, Andrew Wiggins and Eric Paschall opened the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run, putting Golden State up by six. Ultimately, the Clippers would drain a few clutch 3-pointers late in the stanza to seal the game, but the Warriors' vastly improved play did not go unnoticed by Kerr.
Not usually one for moral victories, the 2015-16 Coach of the Year knows plenty of work remains in front of him, but he admits that it's imperative his team continues to recognize their strengths and improvements every game.
"I think we have to be realistic about where our team is at right now and what we need to do to get better," he said. "We have to recognize the signs that we’re improving and recognize the weaknesses that we need to shore up."
The team will get a quick window to tweak any changes. The Warriors welcome the Clippers back to Chase Center on Friday for a rematch. They'll host the Toronto Raptors on Sunday and the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday to close out their first homestand before setting out on a three-game road trip that concludes with a showdown against the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Plenty of tests await the Warriors in the upcoming weeks, but if they continue improving on their current trajectory, they should be in good hands.