Programming note: Nets-Warriors coverage starts Thursday night at 7 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
OAKLAND -- With five consecutive victories followed by two losses in a row, the tone of the noise related to the Warriors has gotten darker. There is no panic, per se, but a couple slivers of anxiety are creeping through the sunlight.
There is the legitimate worry about turnovers. A high turnover rate doesn’t always prevent winning, but it does invite defeat -- particularly against elite teams. It is safe to assume, however, the turnovers will decrease over time. What we're seeing now is the natural result of installing a new offense as rotations continue to evolve.
The other evident concern is how to maximize the talents of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, both of whom now come off the bench. The unease is legitimate. They're both very intelligent players, with very similar body types and nearly identical games.
Attempting to play Iguodala and Livingston together, as coach Steve Kerr has done over the past few games, only reinforces that their skill sets tend to duplicate rather than complement -- to the detriment of the Warriors.
It's not the fault of either player. Each is terrific at what he does. They just happen to do pretty much the same thing on offense. Each exquisitely fills the role of rangy, ball-handling playmaker.
And neither is dangerous enough from the arc to create the spacing that would so immensely help the other.
That explains, to a great degree, why the Iguodala we're seeing now has so little impact compared to the Andre we saw in the preseason. Playing alongside Leandro Barbosa, Iguodala was a dynamic and creative point-forward. He found ways to facilitate and the Warriors benefitted.
Livingston, coming off toe surgery, was not ready to play in October. And even though he's playing now, his conditioning and touch have yet to arrive.
But when Livingston and Iguodala are on the court together, Livingston generally has the ball. And Iguodala generally seems to be searching for a role.
"He's in a tough spot," Kerr conceded after a 113-100 loss to the Spurs on Tuesday night. "In the preseason we had him running the point, with Livingston out, and he really relished that role. And it was great for him.
[RECAP: Warriors have no answer for Spurs]
"Now we're sort of piecing things together and playing him with Shaun. They've been terrific defensively."
Well, yes they have. And they've been brutal offensively.
Both Iguodala or Livingston are natural slashers. Iguodala has a bit more range on his jumper, but neither approaches the threat level of a Stephen Curry or a Klay Thompson -- or the Brandon Rush of a couple years ago.
Kerr for a while on Tuesday went with a lineup featuring Livingston, Iguodala, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green and Barbosa. The unit stagnated on offense, even committing a shot-clock violation. The "shooter" -- by default -- was Green.
Good teams are going to exploit that, and the Spurs did, turning a two-point deficit (24-22) into a six-point lead (32-26). That unit was outscored 8-2 over almost four minutes, from 1:47 left in the first quarter until 9:53 left in the second, when Thompson replace Barbosa.
Eighty-five seconds later, the Warriors had a two-point lead (34-32).
There was a point later when Iguodala, looking for a shooter at the 3-point line, spotted Livingston, who immediately cut along the baseline toward the rim. Iguodala ended up passing out toward the top of the circle. The ball bounced into the backcourt for a turnover.
Is there a quick fix? It would help if Rush finds his once-reliable 3-point stroke. There is the option of giving Curry off-the-ball minutes during which he could play alongside Iguodala, as happened on some occasions last season, or Livingston. But it's apparent that the Warriors' depth, which only a week ago looked so advantageous, now appears to be a challenge to manage. And who knows how the return of David Lee, maybe as early as next week, will affect the rotation?
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This is the riddle in front of Kerr and his assistants, particularly Alvin Gentry, the associate head coach who serves as offensive coordinator. The talent is undeniable, but discovering the best ways to utilize it will dictate whether today's anxiety is little more than a case of premature fidgets for a team onto something special.