SAN FRANCISCO — About a year ago, the Golden State Warriors were entering training camp while navigating what coach Steve Kerr then called the biggest crisis during his tenure in San Francisco. That incident was never fully resolved, fracturing the camaraderie within the locker room and ultimately plaguing their success on the court.
When the Warriors traded Jordan Poole for Chris Paul in July, there were some questions on whether the move would improve team chemistry — getting rid of one player who was at the center of last season’s drama and replacing him with someone who has a history of rivalry with the franchise and some of the key players.
But now, one week from media day, both Kerr and newly appointed general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. feel confident that the chemistry and connectivity within their team is at a high.
Players up and down the roster have made a concerted effort to build chemistry before training camp. Golden State’s cornerstones — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — have organized several workouts during the summer in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas for both their veteran and younger teammates.
Paul even took a 6 a.m. flight from his Los Angeles home to make one of the runs in San Francisco.
“So these guys are all in on making it work and us having a great season,” Dunleavy said at a news conference Monday. “I really feel good with where we are at in September. [We’ve] got a ton of work to do, but I think the foundation is in a good place right now.”
Some of the work the Warriors have to do is figure out their starting lineup and fill their final two roster spots — both of which are expected to gain clarity during camp.
“We basically have six starters the way I look at it, and only five can go each night,” Kerr said Monday. “I haven’t decided yet what we’re going to do … We are going to try different combinations and take a look. Obviously, all six guys are going to play a lot of minutes for us. But you know, if this is going to work then everybody has to embrace it regardless of who is starting and who is not. It only works if the whole team buys in.”
As for the open 14th and 15th roster spots, Golden State has hosted around 40 to 50 players over the last few months for workouts. A source told ESPN that one important piece of criteria for anyone looking to make the roster is someone who will help them build off their already established connectivity — someone who won’t be a distraction and someone happy to be the final member of the team.
Beyond that, though, there is no specific position or player the Warriors are targeting.
“I don’t think we have our sights set on any one thing right now in terms of a guard, a big, a wing, a young player, an old player,” Dunleavy said. “We are kind of open, and I think that’s a great position to be in where we have flexibility and can kind of evaluate to see what’s the best for our team.”
How last season played out for Golden State has been a source of motivation as the team approaches the start of the year. It’s one of the reasons players pushed to have workouts together. It’s why they’re trying to be unselfish when it comes to playing time.
“When you lose in the second round and you feel like you’ve had a disappointing year, it’s a lot easier to come in and be focused,” Kerr said. “It’s a lot easier for me to come in as a coach and be more demanding, and I think the players will expect that, too.”
Of course, it’s easier said than done. And that is the next step in putting the Warriors’ newly found connectivity to the test.
Source : ESPN