Steve Kerr on Warriors' Hot Start to Season: We Think We Can Win a Championship

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 2, 2021

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stands on the sidelines during an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr expressed confidence Thursday that the Dubs can win an NBA championship this season.

In an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Kerr discussed the Warriors' hot start and the idea that they are title contenders again after missing the playoffs in each of the past two campaigns.

Kerr noted that anything can happen in the NBA, and it is far from guaranteed they will go the distance:

"It's great to be back in the mix. What I've learned, though, in five trips to the Finals, is that so much is just up in the air—circumstances you can't control. I know it's coach speak, but if we just come in every day and get our work in and enjoy the process, we're going to win a ton of games. We've already proven that. We keep trying to get better, put ourselves in the best position possible.

"We think we can win a championship, but I've watched in the Finals. I've watched two guys get season-ending injuries. I watched Kevin Love and Kyrie [Irving] go down the first year we won [against Cleveland in 2015]. I've seen everything. I saw as a Laker fan growing up, with Magic Johnson and Byron Scott holding their hamstrings [in] the Detroit series [in 1989]. Just having watched this and been a part of it for so long, who the hell knows what's going to happen? So you might as well enjoy it while it's going."

The Warriors are a sparkling 18-3 through 21 games, tying them with the Phoenix Suns for the best record in the NBA.

The Warriors went to five consecutive NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019, winning three of them. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were the key players on those teams throughout, while Kevin Durant was part of the last three Finals teams, winning two NBA Finals MVP awards.

It was tough sledding for Golden State in the two seasons following its last appearance in the Finals. Durant left for the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, and Thompson missed both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons because of a torn ACL and torn Achilles.

Curry missed most of the 2019-20 campaign as well because of injury, and the Warriors posted a league-worst 15-50 record.

That helped the Warriors land the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, which they used to select promising center James Wiseman, and the team performed much better last season.

Curry played at an MVP caliber as the Warriors went 39-33. However, they missed the postseason after losing play-in games to the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.

Despite falling short of the playoffs, hopes were high for Golden State entering 2021-22 because of the selections of Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody in the first round of the draft, the return of Andre Iguodala in free agency and Thompson's anticipated comeback.

While Kuminga and Moody have contributed little and Thompson has yet to play, Curry is averaging 27.8 points per game, Green is playing elite defense and a great all-around game, and Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins have established themselves as quality secondary scoring options, each averaging over 18 points per game.

The impending returns of Thompson and Wiseman—who were both called up from the G League's Santa Cruz Warriors on Wednesday while still undergoing injury rehabilitation—stand to make the Warriors an even stronger team.

Considering how well the Dubs have played this season without two of their top players, it is difficult to consider them anything other than title contenders with the returns of Thompson and Wiseman on the horizon.