Steve Kerr preaches importance of avoiding small sample sizes

OAKLAND — Strong defense has defined the Golden State Warriors since Kevin Durant’s injury, at least when they’ve won games.

And according to some metrics, their defense has been even better than it was before when the Dubs were at full strength.

But head coach Steve Kerr knows better than to hang his hat on the results of 11 games.

“I know that’s a small sample size,” Kerr said after Thursday’s practice, “and I know the last five have been dramatically better than the first seven.”

Even this late in the season, the desire to get carried away with incomplete data is pervasive. Take the reaction to Shaun Livingston’s shooting this season as an example.

Entering March, Livingston was shooting a hyper effectively 56.6 percent, a noteworthy figure for a guard. He’s shot 25 percent since as he’s regressed to the norm.

Livingston said there’s been no clear-cut explanation for the dropoff, although he did appreciate seeing some fall against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, when he went 3-for-4 from the field.

Kerr was again the voice of reason, pointing out Livingston “takes five shots a game, if that,” leading to more variance in his shooting numbers, which currently stand at 52.4 percent.

Durant remains on track

The Warriors haven’t altered Durant’s outlook since he was injured on the last day of February.

The team said then that it would re-evaluate after four weeks. With that timeframe expiring next Wednesday, Kerr remains in a wait-and-see mode.

“Seems he takes a new stride every day,” Kerr said.

Durant is expected to join the Warriors during their Texas road trip in which they play in Houston and San Antonio on back-to-back nights, and then be evaluated upon returning to the Bay Area on Thursday.

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