Steve Kerr has made a habit of being transparent this season, something that’s always been part of the Golden State Warriors coach’s persona, whether he like it or not. He’s been transparent in his compliments, his critiques, and his concerns.
He maintained all preseason long that he really liked where the team was going to be in a few months. Not now. Not next week. But in a few months.
He maintained that stance after Tuesday’s 125-99 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, and he extended it to a few of his players. He said Andrew Wiggins had a rough game, but will be great for them this year. He said James Wiseman is raw, but showed how good he eventually will be. He said Steph Curry struggled, but he loves the Curry we’re going to see this year.
And he said that the Warriors looked like a team that had two weeks of training camp, and that he’s excited about who they’ll be in a few months.
For fans, that may not be soon enough. But if Game 1 of 72 is any indication, it’s an honest appraisal.
The Warriors showed signs of why Kerr — and many others, including yours truly — remain high on the Dubs.
Wiseman, despite missing the entire preseason and making his NBA debut against an elite team, had 19 points and 6 rebounds on 7-13 shooting in just 24 minutes. The defense struggled, but at times the length of Wiseman, Wiggins, and Kelly Oubre Jr. provided glimpses of how disruptive it can be. Curry was not himself shooting the ball, but looked healthy, strong, and athletic, and occasionally pulled and popped in a way that reminded of 2016.
You could see the vision, but the Warriors sure bungled the execution.
Bad nights happen. But even if you adjust for the amount of open shots the Warriors missed and contested shots the Nets made, it wasn’t a close game. This was a good old fashioned ass kicking, and it served as a reminder that Kerr has been mentioning the future for a good reason.
He knows they’ll be good then. He’s less certain about now.
The Warriors are a work in progress. They’re emphatically a work in progress.
Some of it — Curry’s shot, and Draymond Green’s health — will have the wrinkles ironed out in a matter of days. The rest — Oubre and Wiggins finding their comfort level, Wiseman developing, the bench gelling, Kerr finding his rotations — will take a good bit longer.
The Warriors will try and tread water as they put things into place. They’ll be good — of that I’m nearly as confident as Kerr.
But it might take a while.