The NBA season is a long, attritional grind, and the Golden State Warriors do not need a fast start to have a successful season.
Of course, Golden State Warriors fans will not be complaining if their new-look squad hits the ground running, but if they drop a few early games, they should not be too concerned.
A brief glance at the Dubs’ schedule suggests that they should get off to a strong start. Of their first ten games, only three are against playoff locks (Clippers, Blazers and Rockets).
Likewise, they have four encounters with sides who are long-shots at best to make the postseason (Thunder twice, Hornets and Suns).
However, the opening weeks of the NBA season are often chaotic. Unfamiliar rosters are searching for chemistry, and almost everyone plays hard before the standings begin to take shape.
Although the Warriors have far more talent than the majority of teams they play early on, their opponents are hardly going to be in the mood to roll over at this stage of the campaign.
Ergo the chance of upsets is probably at its highest in the games played this side of Thanksgiving. There is every chance that the Warriors’ new signings slot into Steve Kerr‘s system perfectly and Golden State get off to a flyer.
The most effective way to develop on-court synergy between players is, quite simply, by giving them opportunities to learn one another’s habits and tendencies in real-time NBA situations.
If, for example, the duo of Russell and Stephen Curry is not an instant hit, this does not mean that the Warriors are doomed. Instead, it is more likely that the pair just need a little more time together.
Patience, then, will be key for Golden State fans, who have become acclimatized to watching their side steamroller all in front of them from game one to game 82.
And there is every reason to expect the Warriors to improve through the season. Despite the team being younger than in recent years, their two most important players, Curry and Draymond Green, have 17 years of NBA experience between them.
Veteran players know better than to panic after a disappointing start, especially ones who have been contending for the last five seasons. A 10-10 record come December would be far from the most pressure they have faced.
There is also the small matter of Klay Thompson‘s return from his ACL injury, which is expected to come after the All-Star break. This will provide the Warriors with a major boost, both on the court and in the locker room.
There a few better players and, by all accounts, team-mates than Thompson, and so the prospect of adding him to the squad in February or March strongly suggests that Golden State will be better towards the end of the season.
The Warriors may well begin the upcoming campaign superbly, making this all moot. But with new faces, a key player missing, and the inevitable variability that the early NBA season brings, they may struggle at first.
Should this be the case, the crowd in the Chase Center must keep faith in the team and restrain from a premature reaction. The Warriors are more than capable of recovering from an opening stumble.