Are the 2022-23 Golden State Warriors living in the past?
For head coach Steve Kerr, the answer is an easy no.
The question came up after Warriors great Klay Thompson was dealt his first career ejection on Tuesday night following a testy series of exchanges with Suns star Devin Booker.
During the episode, Thompson could be seen flashing four fingers at Booker and the Suns bench -- an apparent reference to the Warriors' four titles of the past eight years.
On Wednesday, Kerr told "Damon & Ratto" on 95.7 The Game that Thompson's ejection was merely the culmination of a frustrating preseason, and it's "entirely appropriate" for Thompson to cite the Dubs' championship pedigree when engaged in some gamesmanship.
"In a moment like that, it's entirely appropriate," Kerr said. "Two guys are talking trash, and you've got the ultimate counter. 'We won, I won' -- that's always the ultimate counter. Now, it's not going to help us win a fifth. It doesn't mean anything as it relates to trying to win this coming year, but it's definitely something you can use in a trash-talking conversation."
Still, the veteran coach thinks his team will indeed have to "move forward" rather than assume their rivals will defer to them based on past success.
"But, I think the bigger point is that over the course of the next couple months, we have to move forward from last year -- from the last eight years -- to this one, and to recognize that this is a totally new team. And we're relying on a lot of new players and young players, and it's going to take a lot of work for all of us. And when we recognize that, I think we're going to be on a good path, but it's going to take a while for all of that to come to fruition."
For Thompson, the ejection came after a slow start to the season and a subpar performance against Phoenix -- not to mention a preseason marked by minutes restrictions in an effort to preserve his body and limit his exposure to injury.
In fact, Kerr doesn't see Thompson's friction with Booker as personal at all, saying they would probably be "good buddies if they were on the same team. They just happen to play the same position." Kerr coached Booker as an assistant with Team USA during the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021.
In any event, Kerr says his team has to play better. Specifically, he cited the defense and the need to "play with a purpose" as areas for improvement.
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