Senior figures at the Golden State Warriors admit the team lacks “grit” and cohesion as the NBA defending champions extended their record on the road this season to 0-8 after a 130-119 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
Stephen Curry could hardly be blamed for the defeat: he scored 50 points against the Suns and is averaging 32.8 points this season, the second-best figure in the league.
However, Curry said he needed to be a better leader in a team that is struggling to play as a unit.
“I’m scoring great, trying to be efficient and I’m going to keep doing that,” Curry said. “But, there’s a collective kind of mindset around how I need to help everybody get in the right frame of mind to try and win and I’m up for the challenge of figuring that out.”
Part of the Warriors’ success in their championship run last season was their strong defense. But this season they are 27th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, after ranking second in 2021-22. They are also allowing nearly 13 more points per game. Head coach Steve Kerr suggested some of those struggles are down to effort levels.
“We lack collective grit. We’re playing a Drew League game right now,” Kerr said. “I’ve always felt the game rewards you if you commit to the game. If you really compete together, shots go in, calls go your way, breaks fall your way, and we’re not earning any of this stuff. That’s why we are winless on the road. It’s a pickup game.”
Curry suggested that the problems were not solely on defense though.
“It’s a struggle right now, keeping it real,” Curry said. “We have to understand that it’s going to be really hard to dig yourself out of the situation that we’re in because there are a lot of issues.”
The Warriors’ dreadful record on the road is mitigated somewhat by their form at home, where they are 6-1. Their 6-9 record puts them 12th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference.