The Golden State Warriors are currently in an unfamiliar position. They’re in the midst of a weird stretch that sees the team dealing with losses, injuries, drama and possible in-fighting. In the two-year leadership of head coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors have never been through these type of issues before. It has some viewing this team as very vulnerable to a collapse.
But the Dubs usually find a way to battle back from controversy, one way or another. Steve Kerr missing time due to his back injury? Luke Walton led the way to start last season. Blow a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals? Just sign Kevin Durant in the offseason. Unfortunately, the Warriors aren’t stopping the bleeding from this recent cut as quickly as many would expect them to and it has people around the organization discussing the possible issues they might have.
ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss was a part of a recent TrueHoop podcast episode alongside fellow ESPN writers Pablo Torre, Baxter Holmes, Tom Haberstroh and recurring TrueHoop podcast guest, Big Wos. Haberstroh asked Strauss about the Warriors having a tough travel schedule but Strauss talked about the problems being different than hoops.
(This segment begins at about the 8:30 mark of the podcast)
Ethan Strauss – “Is this malaise of theirs about not feeling motivated, not thinking they have something to play for. Is it just being tired? There’s one guy in particular on the team that keeps saying the same thing to me, and I can’t say who he is, but he keeps saying ‘We’ve got problems and it ain’t basketball.'”
The podcast crew goes on to ask Strauss about the one thing the Dubs could have done differently and Luke Walton’s name popped up.
Ethan Strauss – “The Luke Walton question is an interesting one. I think what happened with Luke Walton in some ways speaks to some of the issues this team has where his success undermined Kerr’s authority. They played the best basketball they ever had when Kerr was not coaching the team, when Luke was letting them do a lot of what they really wanted and Draymond (Green) was essentially player-coach and that has ratcheted up the tension, I believe, between those two figures. And so it’s so hard to say. Is it because they miss Luke Walton? Or Luke Walton’s presence on the team and the success that came with it came to haunt them in some way.”
Later on (at about the 18 minutes mark) they went back to that topic about the unnamed player talking about the Warriors problems. Strauss was hesitant to say Draymond Green was the issue.
Baxter Holmes – “What do you think those problems are?”
Strauss – “I think, for at least a portion of the locker room…uuhhhh (groans)…”
Big Wos – “It’s Draymond. Just say it!”
ES – “I don’t wanna dump on Draymond either. I don’t wanna dump on Draymond considering how great he was last night to save them from that Sixers defeat. But I think it’s a lot like what Tom (Haberstroh) saw at the end of the Miami Heat run where maybe some guys are a little tired of one another. Maybe the grind has gotten to them. And maybe, just maybe, and I’ve said this before once on twitter, but it really feels this way. This team, it almost somehow combines the sense of the first year of the LeBron-Miami Heat run and the last year of the LeBron-Miami Heat run. Somehow there’s an element of being villains and it being an experiment we haven’t seen before and it not totally working and being bulky with also the sense of they’ve been going at it a while and there’s going to be a burnout and a potential flame out”
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