Sports

Golden era beckons

NBA season set to get underway with all eyes on Warriors and their new superstar

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS v SAN ANTONIO SPURS

 

(Today, 10.30am)

 

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his new-look team are relishing the pressure entering their 2016-2017 NBA campaign opener against the San Antonio Spurs this morning (Singapore time).

The Warriors' blockbuster off-season move for Kevin Durant has made the already formidable-looking side an even more daunting proposition as they set out to regain their NBA Finals crown.

Kerr, however, said his team of All-Stars welcomed the burden of expectation that comes with being able to field a team with Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the line-up.

The coach suggested the pressure could even motivate his team towards surpassing last term's record-breaking unbeaten start to the season, when the Warriors went 24-0.

"We all have pressure," Kerr said. "But that's a good thing. The alternative is, hey, maybe we can win 30 this year, instead of 25.

"A lot of the teams in the league have that, teams that have gone through rebuilding stuff, and they're trying to get where we are.

LUCKY

"So we're in a really enviable position, we know how lucky we are to be together with this group. We understand the responsibility that comes with it.

"But that's fine, that's a good position to be in."

A sell-out crowd will pack Oakland's Oracle Arena to watch the Warriors' debut of Durant, one of the league's top three players who has rapidly blended into the Golden State set-up since his arrival from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"He still has some learning to do. But he has really picked up on just kind of the way we play. There's a little chaos but there's some pattern to the chaos and I think he's embracing the chaos, for sure," Kerr said.

"I think he's really adapting well and fitting in well. But it's only been a few weeks, so the little nuances, there's still stuff that he's figuring out."

Durant, meanwhile, has quickly made himself at home in the Bay Area, delighting fans after video footage emerged of him dancing in a mosh pit at a Kanye West concert in Oakland on Sunday.

Kerr laughed about his star acquisition's weekend exertions.

"I cut practice short a little bit today because I saw he got a great workout last night," Kerr joked, adding that he was happy to see Durant quickly assimilate to life in the city.

"He has been into the city, he has been around Oakland, he's trying to get to know his surroundings as well as possible," Kerr said.

"This is a beautiful part of the world and a great, interesting place to live and he's having fun and getting used to everything and enjoying himself."

Durant, meanwhile, said he had no hesitation about heading to the West concert.

"I was happy I was able to go," he said, laughing off suggestions that he breached an unwritten rule against celebrities in the mosh pit.

"I'm not a celebrity anyway," he laughed, adding that he had not been concerned for his safety.

"Nah - I'm covered man. I'm covered by a higher power no matter what happens." - AFP.


There’s a little chaos but there’s some pattern to the chaos and I think he’s embracing the chaos, for sure.

— Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr on how new signing Kevin Durant is adapting to the team

BY THE NUMBERS

28.2

Kevin Durant averaged 28.2 points per game last regular season, the third highest in the league. In post-season, he was the leading scorer, averaging 28.4 points in 18 games. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 25.1 and was eighth overall.

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