The biggest topic from the Warriors’ 5-1 start this season is the team’s boosted chemistry.
The first few weeks of the 2023-24 NBA season in San Francisco have been smooth sailing compared to last year’s rocky ride that began in training camp when Draymond Green infamously punched Jordan Poole.
Multiple players have addressed the year-over-year improvement, most notably Draymond Green, who called last season’s chemistry “awful” and “horses–t” earlier this week. Since the Warriors’ biggest move of the offseason was trading Poole to Washington for Chris Paul, there’s been plenty of blame and speculation aimed at the current Wizards guard.
But Warriors coach Steve Kerr disagrees.
“I think it’s unfair for people to just point at Jordan,” Kerr told 95.7 The Game’s Mark Willard and Dan Dibley on Thursday. “That’s wrong. Last year went haywire for a lot of different reasons. Jordan was fantastic while he was here. He helped us win a championship. I hate that he gets any criticism.”
The Warriors, however, already are seeing the improved team chemistry pay off. They are a perfect 4-0 on the road this season after winning just 11 away games last year. Golden State didn’t win its fourth road game last season until Jan. 13.
So, what gives?
“Honestly, the biggest thing is the veteran experience,” Kerr told Willard and Dibley. “Cory Joseph has barely played, but he has made such a dramatic impact in our locker room, on our team. We have such a better balance of veteran experience and kind of the right number of young guys, to be perfectly frank. Last year, we were overloaded with youth and trying to develop too many people at the same time. It was unfair to all of the young guys that we had so many of them at the same time.”
Poole, who was 23 years old last year, was one of those youngsters. The Warriors were in the middle of the pack last season in terms of average age in their locker room (26.0 years). This year, they have the second-most experienced roster (28.5 average age).
“I think that’s where [general manager] Mike [Dunleavy] and the front office has done a good job … is bringing in Chris, Dario, Cory Joseph,” Kerr said. “Even Jerome Robinson, one of our two-way players, he’s just a grown man. He’s a leader. Every day, he’s getting the young guys together with Cory Joseph – those guys are leading the charge on the development front. That stuff matters. It’s dramatic how powerful it is.
“The balance of the roster makes all the difference.”