The first game of the 2020-21 NBA season is full of storylines as the Golden State Warriors look to get back to their dynasty status against the new-look Brooklyn Nets.
One major storyline from this matchup is Nets superstar and former Golden State two-time and, back-to-back, Finals MVP Kevin Durant facing his former team, and some teammates with his new franchise. Another is if some of Durant’s former Warrior teammates are even friends with him anymore due to the way his exit from the Bay Area unfolded.
As that has already proven to be the case, one storyline that’s going unnoticed is what it will be like for Golden State head coach Steve Kerr to be on the opposing end of facing a stacked team against one of the NBA’s best. For years, Kerr was on the opposite end having to coach Warriors teams that were usually, head and shoulders above the pack with their abundance of talent.
Tonight, and to start the season, that won’t be the case and Kerr knows it.
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What Coach Kerr Said
Knowing that he could be walking into a very difficult situation, Kerr spoke about the matter saying he “probably deserves” what’s coming for him on this side of the spectrum.
I probably deserve this given that I was coaching a team like that for five years. So it’s probably about time I have to face this where you’ve got all these weapons, all these players who can hurt you. Obviously Kevin and Kyrie, but so many of their support players are capable of having huge nights.
Kerr hasn’t been quiet about what the Warriors will have to do in order to be successful. One of the team’s keys during their Finals runs was a Top 10 defense within the NBA and he knows this mixed group will have to come together to be able to achieve the type of success they have in previous years.
We know what we’re in for in terms of a team that is capable of exploding like they did against Boston the other night, so we’ve got to be ready. The only thing you can do is try to lock-in on your keys and take away the easy stuff: not give them transition buckets where they get behind the play, where you’re just giving up something without even a fight. You’ve got to be ready to battle every possession and make things difficult.
Warriors First Two Opponents Are Tough
As if the Warriors aren’t already having to climb uphill this season after losing All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson for the year, right Achilles injury, and just now getting back star forward Draymond Green and former #2 overall draft pick James Wiseman, both tested positive for coronavirus, they have a tough schedule to start right out of the gate.
Not only will the team face the Nets, who many favor to make the eastern conference finals, but their next game will be against the reigning two-time, and back-to-back, MVP and last season’s Defensive Player of the Year, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Previously, the organization put together an intriguing package for him in hopes to acquire him to jump-start their path back to the Finals. Yet, it was to no avail as Antetokounmpo ultimately signed an NBA record extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. Now having to face the Nets and Bucks in back-to-back games, Kerr, per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, is optimistic that the challenge will help the team realize where they are in the early rankings.
I don’t mind at all starting against two of the best teams in the league…Let’s take on the best and see where we stand before we push forward.
Warriors open with Nets and Bucks. Steve Kerr: "I don't mind at all starting against two of the best teams in the league…Let's take on the best and see where we stand before we push forward."
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 22, 2020