Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors came away with a win against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, and it was met with a resounding "meh." They won 106-100, failing to sustain a strong start and letting Phoenix hang around in the final minutes. Just like their win over the New Orleans Pelicans, the Warriors weren't bad -- they were just sloppy and off-kilter.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr admitted as much afterward, telling reporters that the team just hasn't jelled yet, via ESPN's Chris Haynes:
"We were frustrated in the first half. You guys can all see it. This is not coming easily," Kerr said. "We have a new team and a lot of different faces, but even for the returning guys, it's a different mix."
"I think we're having some open shots, but we're not really getting rhythm shots and that's been our hallmark for the last couple of years," he said.
"We had some good individual efforts to help us pull it out," Kerr said, "but the main thing is while we're going through this early part of the season sorting through rotations and offensively trying to get going, we just have to compete and pick up our share of wins and we'll find our stride eventually."
"We're not clicking and everybody can see that," Kerr said.
To be clear: Kerr isn't panicking. He just knows what he sees, and it's not the sort of basketball that the Warriors have played over the past couple of seasons. Perhaps he regrets saying at Durant's introductory press conference that integrating the superstar should be "seamless," but it's worth noting that he also said that day that there would be bumps along the way.
Durant, by the way, has been incredible on an individual level. Through three games, he's averaging 31.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists while shooting 56.6 percent. Against the Suns, he had 37 points, four rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block, shooting 10 for 16 and going 15 for 16 from the free-throw line. The issue is that he is finding himself bailing Golden State out more often than he should be. That's a nice luxury, and it will keep the Warriors from losing some games, but the bigger goal is getting everybody in sync.
The most important thing Kerr said was that his team isn't getting "rhythm shots." That was the case when Golden State struggled against the Memphis Grizzlies two years ago in the playoffs, and it was definitely the case when it lost its 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. When Kerr's Warriors have been at their best, they have played with the kind of harmony that makes the game look easy.
Thus far in the regular season, they have not reached that level. If and when they do, they'll be something close to unstoppable. For now, though, they look vulnerable.