Warriors Notes: Losing Streak, Kuminga, Kerr, Howard

The Warriors are thankful to return to home after going 0-5 on what Klay Thompson called a “road trip from hell,” writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. The defending champs are frustrated to be 3-7 — and winless on the road at 0-6 — but they believe they’re close to a turnaround. Coach Steve Kerr pointed to a 2-9 stretch last February and March, noting that even the league’s best teams run into adversity.

“There are times in the NBA season when things can go off the rails a little bit,” Kerr said. “A big part of being a great team, being a solid organization, is just understanding how to work through that.”

Kerr is placing an emphasis on boxing out and defending without fouling, two areas of concern that have cost the team in close games. Transition defense, where Golden State led the league last season, also needs improvement as the Warriors are 25th in points per shot allowed in transition and 23rd in field goal percentage allowed in transition.

“We just need to bring more of a sense of urgency,” Thompson said. “We had a long run last year, but 2022 is over. It’s time to kick into high gear and play that championship level of basketball that we’re used to. I fully expect us to do that. We know how good we are in this building. So I think we’re going to be off to a fresh start.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Jonathan Kuminga has been promoted to a rotation role after scoring 18 points in 38 minutes Friday night, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Kerr has been giving frontcourt minutes to James Wiseman and newcomer JaMychal Green, but it appears Kuminga is now the priority.
  • The Warriors are in the unusual position of trying to develop several young players while defending a title, Slater adds. Kerr talked about the difficult adjustment to the NBA now that players are spending less time in college. “What’s changed is we are now doing the work that college coaches were doing back then,” Kerr said. “But you don’t have the advantage of allowing a guy’s confidence to grow playing against inferior competition. You’re throwing him right into the deep end. It’s sink or swim for a lot of these guys. I don’t blame anyone for taking the money. It’s a lot of money. If a guy doesn’t come out and gets injured and has thrown $10 or $15 million away, how do you reconcile that? So it’s a really difficult situation. But I’d say for the league now and these players coming in, it’s not at all an ideal setup for success.”
  • Free agent center Dwight Howard said he would be a perfect fit for the Warriors during a recent appearance on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast. Howard said Golden State needs another center and he would welcome the opportunity to serve as a mentor for Wiseman.
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