The Golden State Warriors enjoyed their abbreviated offseason and it showed.
Head coach Steve Kerr openly criticized his players for lacking conditioning during the early portion of the season. The Dubs lazed on defense, intent on outscoring their opponents.
What followed was disappointing outcomes and a 4-3 record.
It was particularly bad last Sunday, when Golden State lost to the Detroit Pistons at home by eight points. The Warriors committed a season-high 25 turnovers and allowed their opponents to shoot 44.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Those are both unacceptable numbers for Kerr.
“This has to do with a complete lack of focus, fundamentals,” the fourth-year head coach told reporters after the game. “We’re throwing the ball all over the place. Some passes are just hitting guys in the shoes, even when they’re not turnovers. It’s focus and execution.”
Since those comments, the Warriors buzzed through their next three opponents — beating the Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets by a combined 67 points. During that span, the Dubs averaged 13 turnovers per game and allowed their opponents to shoot 31.5 percent from deep.
Kerr was pleased with his group’s effort, even after Golden State’s play lulled in Colorado.
“There was never a moment where I was angry with the way we played,” he said. “Shots weren’t going in, and we had to think about execution.”
Different issues will arise as the season goes on. Kevin Durant’s injury last year taught us that. But it seems the Warriors have overcome their early season doldrums and are starting to put together performances that please their coach.
Losing to a bottom-half Eastern Conference team like the Pistons should do that. They’ll get a chance for redemption against another one of those groups tonight, when they host the Miami Heat at Oracle Arena.
The Heat, like Detroit, are a below-average shooting team. If they manage to catch fire, you can expect Kerr’s mood to do the same.