After ‘ugly’ start, Warriors get comfortable

OAKLAND — After seeing his team scrimmage for the first time last night, head coach Steve Kerr had one word to describe it:

“Oh it was ugly, the scrimmage was horrible, the scrimmage on the first night of practice is always horrible, (but) it was a little less horrible today.”

Jokes aside, the Warriors have to gear up for the start of the preseason in less than a week while learning a brand-new system under a brand-new coaching staff.

Kerr realizes the new aspects he is introducing to the game plan contributes to the early ugliness:

“… you know you have to build up conditioning while you’re putting in a lot of new stuff, new drills, new offense, so its going to be sloppy. But the good news is our guys are committed and locked in and today was better than yesterday and that’s all you want to do is keep improving.”

After starting camp with grueling two-a-day practices, Kerr gave the Warriors a break which may last for a bit. Only one workout is scheduled per day for the rest of the week.

League rules dictate that during two-a-days, one practice must be non-contact. Kerr said those constraints limit his style of both non-contact and full-contact drills.

Much has been made about what Kerr’s offense will look like and if he’ll run the triangle, but he has been more focused on running.

Just over 24 hours into his first training camp as a head coach, Kerr said he still has yet to implement any sets, but already has his transition offense in place.

David Lee said he thought the team was at their best last year when they were out running the floor:

“We are doing a lot of things trying to play uptempo I thought last year when we played uptempo and moved the ball we were really good offensively so it’s just trying to duplicate that.”

Lee was busy in the offseason, and not just in trade rumors. He put in a lot of time reworking his jump shot and adding range.

Lee said the shooting woes he experienced last season were mostly due to confidence and rhythm issues:

 “I kind of looked at overall last year what I thought I could have been better at and that was one of the things. I tried to be the guy that attacked the rim more, but with that the negative was going away from the jump shot a little bit, that when it came time to shoot it, I hadn’t shot it in a while and was out of rhythm.”

When he does attack the rim, Lee should have more room to operate this season, as the Warriors have been focused on movement — not isolations.

Lee said Kerr and the coaching staff have implemented new wrinkles to prevent stagnation on offense:

“When we throw the ball inside, whether it’s to myself or Andrew, it’s not like it was last year when we would throw it in and everyone would all just kind of stand and all five defenders would be looking at us. Now when we throw it in, we have a lot of split action, a lot of things to get our guards on the move so all five defenders can’t sit and camp out instead they’re going to be worried about their man and I’ll have some one on one situations if those cuts aren’t open.”

A beneficiary of better spacing should be Klay Thompson, who Jerry West has said has been impressive so far in camp.

Thompson’s confidence has never been higher as he is coming off a summer where he opened eyes with his play at the FIBA World Cup:

“My confidence should be high, it’s my fourth year in the league, it’s my fourth training camp, there’s no more adjustments really. I had an adjustment from college to the pros and an adjustment from bench guy to starter … it’s probably the most comfortable I’ve felt since I’ve been in the league.”

Kerr hasn’t just brought a new offensive philosophy, he brought a renewed emphasis on fundamentals to limit turnovers and small mistakes:

“The fundamentals are going to be there everyday, that’s just what we’re going to do. That’s how I was coached, whether it was Phil Jackson, or Pop or Lute Olson or whoever, if you don’t go over fundamentals everyday you’ll get slippage and then that causes mistakes.

New guard Shaun Livingston was the only Warrior not to participate in the second day of practice. Festus Ezeli didn’t take part in the scrimmage, as the Warriors aren’t going to rush him back after he missed all of last season.

Kerr doesn’t expect Livingston to be back that soon, as he said he is probably a couple weeks away from being able to go full speed:

“I mean the thing with Shaun is he’s been through probably the most horrific injury that any NBA player has ever been through so he understands the value in being smart and patient.”