The Golden State Warriors begin the season with a 1-0 record after beating the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night. The team looked impressive in their first game, but they should be getting even better as the team gets into regular season form. The first positive sign of things getting better was on Thursday as Steve Kerr announced that starters Draymond Green and Klay Thompson should have their minutes gradually increased within the next couple of weeks.
Steve Kerr said he expects Klay Thompson and Draymond Green should have their minute restriction lifted to a normal regular season level within a couple weeks. Klay was at 20 in opener, Draymond 25. Maybe a gradual bump Friday vs Nuggets.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 20, 2022
Before the start of the season, Kerr expressed to the media that the team’s conditioning was not up to the Warriors’ standards.
“I don’t think we’re ready to have our top five or six guys play 30 plus minutes a night,” Kerr said prior to the home opener. “So, we’ve got to rely on our depth.”
Several things have factored into the lack of conditioning coming into the season: a long postseason run leading to a shortened offseason, a preseason trip to Japan which took up some of training camp, and a practice incident that required more focus on repairing team chemistry than doing cardiovascular exercises.
Thompson’s lack of conditioning most likely stems from a “mental block” which kept him from participating in any low-stake offseason basketball activities — a reference to the Achilles injury he sustained the last time he was healthy enough to play in an offseason scrimmage.
Thompson played in his first preseason game last Friday against the Denver Nuggets. In that game, he played 16 minutes and scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field with five made three-pointers. Thompson played again on Tuesday scoring 18 points on 20 minutes of action.
As for Green, his lack of conditioning is due to the practice incident that occurred with Jordan Poole. The now infamous punch reportedly caused a lot of drama within the team’s locker room which forced Green to step away from the team as he vowed to “fix himself”.
Because of this, Green returned in time to play in only 24 minutes during the team’s final preseason game. In the home opener, Green saw 25 minutes of game action while leaving his usual impact on the defensive end of the floor.
With an upcoming matchup against the Nuggets for the second game of the season, the Warriors will have to continue to rely on their depth and young players to carry more of the weight as Golden State’s pair of starters work their way back to elite playing shape.