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Steve Kerr Says Warriors Haven't Reached Their Full Potential Yet This Season

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 14: Head Coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors coaches Stephen Curry #30 and Kevin Durant #35 against the Sacramento Kings on December 14, 2018 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors have struggled to find much of a rhythm early on this season and currently sit at 25-14, but head coach Steve Kerr believes it's only a matter of time before the back-to-back defending champs hit their groove.

"We've got to do better," Kerr said on Saturday, per ESPN's Nick Friedell. "We know that. We've got to play better as a team. We're at the halfway point now of the season coming up, so we are going to continue to work and we're going to get to the point where we're going to reach our potential, but we haven't gotten there yet for sure."

Kerr, per Friedell, noted that there have been a number of factors holding his team back this season:

"There's various issues. It never comes down to one thing. But when we're at our best our defense is really sharp. And our offensive execution compliments our defense—the game's always connected. Every game that we struggle it's not one thing, it's always something a little different. The other night I think our offensive execution really suffered and that led to poor transition defense. But a different night you could point to something else."

"We just haven't gotten to the point where we know what to expect from our group night in and night out. It's been a little bit of a roller coaster ride the whole first half of the season. Some of that has to do with injuries, some of that has to do with the fact that we just haven't built the momentum that can come through consistent play and attention to detail. That's what we have to get to and I'm confident we'll get there."

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Of course, there's no reason for a team that has won three of the past four championships to panic in early January—especially when it sits just 1.5 games back of the top spot in the Western Conference.

Early on this season, it appeared as though Golden State would cruise to a three-peat after it jumped out to an 11-2 start. However, struggles, injuries and internal turmoil have led to the team going just 14-12 over its past 26 games.

Most notably, Klay Thompson is shooting just 34.9 percent from three-point range, which would be by far the lowest of his career. The four-time All-Star is a career 41.6 percent shooter from deep and has never shot lower than 40.1 percent from distance over the course of a full season.

Not only is Thompson struggling shooting the ball, but forward Draymond Green is as well. The three-time All-Star is averaging 7.3 points on 41.2 percent shooting, including just 23.7 percent from three-point range. Those would all be his lowest totals since the Warriors' current dynasty came into form in 2014-15.

This is a Warriors squad that has also been banged up early on. Green (toe), Stephen Curry (groin) and DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) have all missed extended time this season.

And then there was the November blowup between Green and Kevin Durant:

Green reportedly questioned Durant's commitment to the team and called the impending free agent at least one expletive. Green was suspended one game for his role in the incident, and he later took responsibility for his actions.

Ultimately, this Golden State team will be judged based on its postseason success, not the regular season. The core of the roster knows what it takes to win a championship, so as long as it makes the postseason, nothing else matters until April.

Until Cousins takes the court for the first time, nobody will know what this Warriors squad is truly capable of. They remain title favorites even as they endure struggles, and Cousins' presence (along with Thompson potentially finding his stroke) may loom large.

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