Why Warriors' blowout losses to Nets, Bucks aren't reason to panic

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Kerith Burke
·5 min read
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Ask Kerith: Is it time to panic after Warriors' 0-2 start? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

  • Editor's note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area's Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #AskKerith.

Hello everyone, it’s great to be back for a new Warriors season. The Ask Kerith mailbag has returned, and I asked YOU the question this week.

I tweeted the question during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas when the Warriors were on their way to a 0-2 start.

Your replies represented a mix of sensibility, panic, frustration and patience. The most emotional replies made me want to transform into Solomon Burke so you could Cry to Me. Here’s Dubs fan Rafael on Instagram, summing things up.

It’s hard to open the season on the road against two contenders. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are one of the strongest duos in the NBA, and the Bucks have the reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the losses were hard to swallow, especially given how poorly the Warriors shot the ball.

The trio of Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins and Eric Paschall went a combined 19-72 in the first two games. They were a combined 0-12 on threes against the Bucks. The best three-point shooter in that game was James Wiseman, finishing 3-4. Steph Curry was 2-10.

The offense will improve as teammates get to know each other. Draymond Green, who has led the Warriors in assists in four out of the last five seasons, will be back in the starting lineup as early as Sunday's game against the Chicago Bulls. His presence on the floor will be a stabilizer.

Let’s talk about Draymond for a moment, because a lot of the team’s success rides on him, on both sides of the ball. On defense, Dray can bark out where everyone needs to be. Wiseman still is figuring out the basics, and having Draymond beside him will only up Wiseman's game. That’s exciting. The Warriors need Draymond’s peskiness to set the defensive tone.

What’s concerning me is the emphasis on Draymond, which is ultimately a compliment to him. He’s among the best defensive minds in the league. But one man cannot be a team’s entire defensive effort. He will miss games this season. He’ll have the usual bumps and bruises, which already started with a sore right foot. Draymond can captain the D, but players one through five must commit to being pests on defense.

Ten games is a reasonable barometer to get a sense of where the team is at. Steve Kerr has been telling reporters it’s more like 20 games. In a shortened 72-game regular season, time is not on the Warriors’ side. They need to firm up their identity, find some offensive rhythm, and lock in their rotations.

Wow, two games and the trade talk is flying!

The James Harden trade isn’t happening. There is no way the Warriors bring him here because he is not a culture fit. Harden is accustomed to being coddled, according to a report by ESPN's Tim MacMahon.

The reason why someone like Kevin Durant joining the Warriors worked is selflessness, on the part of many people. Steph, Klay, and Draymond were open to bringing KD into the mix because the ultimate goal was winning. There cannot be any fixation on individual touches or stats. The rate at which Harden needs the ball in his hands is simply not going to work here.

As for trading Wiggins, the Warriors need him on the wing and they took on his contract because they believe in him. Maybe Wiggins will be a streaky scorer. And maybe fans will get tired of hearing about how playing alongside Steph will unlock Wiggins’ game in a Warriors uniform. The issue right now appears to be comfort, and the whole team looks uncomfortable together. Give Wiggins time.

Fans were pretty measured about the 0-2 start. Only two people out of about 200 replies on Twitter and Instagram used the word “tank.”

RELATED: Report: Chriss done for season with broken leg

I’ll let Draymond have the last word. Here’s how he responded when I asked him what’s a fair way to talk about a rough start. You know he’s honest.

"You know, we've lost by an average of 32.5 points or something like that," Green said. "That's unacceptable. You know we're young -- we got all the excuses, right? We're young, two weeks of camp, James being out and myself being out, Klay being out. We got all the excuses in the world but the reality is no one gives a f--k. We have to do what we got to do to get better as a team. Learn where guys like the ball, get guys to the proper spots, get the right spacing. Because when you don't have the right spacing what happens is you get guys taking shots that they shouldn't necessarily be taking. I'm not going to sit here and make any excuses. We got out a--es kicked twice and we need to get better."

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith.

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