After signing Kevin Durant in the offseason, the Golden State Warriors were supposed to win 74 games and an NBA title.
One game into the season, however, 74 wins do not seem likely; as for the championship, check back in a few months.
“Well, look, I don’t think they’re going to win 70+ games,” NBA-TV analyst Sekou Smith said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I don’t think that’s the goal for that team at all. I certainly don’t think they expect to go out and get smoked the way they did last night by San Antonio, but there are going to be some growing pains.”
The Warriors were embarrassed on their home floor Tuesday, losing to the Spurs, 129-100. It’s possible that the 2016-17 Warriors could be similar to the 2010-11 Heat, who started 9-8 and needed time to gel as a team.
“(After LeBron’s slow start in Miami), I was thinking, ‘Man, this thing could blow up in their face,’” Smith recalled. “I think we probably ought to be a little reserved in our judgment on this Warriors team right now. They got some issues to work out, some chemistry issues.”
And some paint issues. The Spurs were dominant down low, with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge combining for 61 points and 19 rebounds. Golden State was out-rebounded 55-35, including 21-8 on the offensive glass.
“Andrew Bogut’s importance to that team was never more evident than last night when the Spurs are just going to the rim and getting whatever they want around the basket,” Smith said. “A guy like Bogut, with his shot-blocking ability and his passing ability, is going to be sorely missed. But I’m not ready to throw dirt on the Warriors at all. I still think they’re going to be the team that comes out of the West, and I think they’re going to be really difficult to deal with right around Christmas-time. They’ll hit their stride, and they’ll be tough to deal with down the stretch.”
Kevin Durant had 27 and 10 in his Golden State debut, Draymond Green had 18 and 12, and Steph Curry had 26 and shot 50 percent from the floor. Based on that, you would think things well well for the Warriors.
Can Steve Kerr fix these problems and manage these egos?
“He’s got to manage one ego in particular,” Smith said. “I think we saw (problems) last night with he and Draymond Green kind of going back and forth early in the game when Draymond was arguing with the refs after a missed shot and didn’t get back. San Antonio got three chances at a basket when Draymond was still arguing. Steve Kerr, I’m not a lip reader, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t speaking Spanish when he told him to get up the floor and play some defense.”
Green, of course, is known for the occasional outburst.
“Look, Draymond’s issues are mostly between Draymond’s ears,” Smith said. “He’s always fighting this need to prove himself. I don’t know that he needs to do that anymore. He needs to be the same energetic, vocal leader he’s been but without some of the antics and without some of the over-the-top foolishness. I think if he does that and Steve Kerr can get him to curb some of that enthusiasm for just being over the top and clapping in guys’ faces and that sort of stuff, I think they’ll be fine.”