The 2019-20 Golden State Warriors won’t be one remembered by NBA fans or, really, much at all by Warriors fans, as the post-Kevin Durant era saw what was effectively a reset year. Klay Thompson was out for the season with his torn ACL and Stephen Curry missed most of the year with a hand injury, meaning it was all about trying to find something for the future as they limped to the worst record in the league at 15-50.
However, for Steve Kerr, that experience was still more enjoyable than the final year of their run to five straight NBA Finals that ended in a loss to the Toronto Raptors. That was a season that started to show cracks in the dynasty with the much talked about Draymond Green-Kevin Durant spat on the bench early in the season, which followed a year in which David West proclaimed that no one knew everything that was going on behind closed doors.
Kerr echoed that sentiment on the Ringer NBA Show with Logan Murdock and Raja Bell on Monday, when he explained why last year was more enjoyable even amid all the losing than that final year, and again pointed to things that no one knows about (and he wasn’t about to divulge) going on in that Warriors locker room.
“I think every year is different, so it’s not as clear cut as that,” Kerr said. “I would tell you the first four years of our run, the coaching was way more fun, just because we were joyful and everything was really simple and no agendas. And then that last year things kind of went haywire, and even though we went to the Finals, it was difficult. I enjoyed last season, when we had the worst record in the league, more than I enjoyed that last season when we went to the Finals. Last year we had young guys who were trying every day, working hard and we had a great energy, great spirit and great camaraderie, and losing sucked, but what you want is a great vibe and you want to look forward to going into the gym every day and seeing everybody. And that last year was tough. It really was tough. There was just a lot going on that you guys, some that you know about, some that you don’t, and that was very difficult. Every year is unique and you try to enjoy each one for what it is.”
It’s not a shocking quote, as just about everyone on that Warriors team seemed fairly miserable in 2018-19, and the departure of Durant felt inevitable for almost the entire season. That it ended with two stars hurt and a loss in the Finals added to the misery of the season, but as Kerr notes, few were excited heading to the gym every day despite their status as the NBA’s best team for most of the year.
Kerr pointed to the “great vibe” of last year even as they struggled, and this year has seen them build some on that, even as they continue to be without Thompson. They’re still a couple steps behind where they once were and will be fighting for a play-in spot, not a championship this season, but it seems Kerr and just about everyone in the organization is pleased the drama of the 18-19 season is behind them.
As for Durant, he had the response one would expect to Kerr’s comments.
This is hilarious
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) March 22, 2021