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OAKLAND – One week into training camp, the Warriors are struggling to snuff an old habit, resulting in countless clashes between today's reality and tomorrow's goal.
After being restricted the controlled scrimmages so far, coach Steve Kerr on Monday let the team go at it for two 12-minute quarters in hopes of generating some juice in the final full workout before the preseason opener Tuesday night.
When I asked Kerr for a progress report, he unloaded in the kindest, gentlest way.
"This is a good team," he assessed. "We've got to get better with the ball. We fling the ball around, and that's a problem.
"Coming into this season, probably the biggest change we could make as a team was making the easy play. Making the simple play. Taking care of the ball. That will only help our defense, and it should give us better rhythm offensively. But it takes a ton of work. We do fundamental stuff, passing drills, every single day. And I would say, to this point, (there has been) very little improvement in that area."
The Warriors last season applied solid defensive principles. They played fantastic offense, but only in spurts. All too often, though, they bogged down because of poor execution. And, worse, they undid themselves with sloppy turnovers.
"We all have bad habits,'' center Andrew Bogut said. "I have bad habits. Everyone has bad habits. We played a very free and open style last season. The emphasis is more on playing the same style but being just being a stickler to technique.
"We start every practice with passing drills and ball-handling drills to make sure guys are switched on and know what the coach expects. We definitely have to make an improvement in that sense."
Though point guard Stephen Curry, as the primary ball-handler, occasionally was singled out for his relatively high turnover rate, the ambition now is to find symmetry between his creativity and overall fundamentals.
"We want to still be able to be aggressive and make plays and have that freedom out there," Curry said. "But we know what 17 or 18 turnovers a game gets you throughout the course of an 82-game season. You might get away with it here or there, but that's the difference between a couple or four or five wins maybe. We understand that.
Kerr has made it clear that reducing turnovers are a priority. He talks about it most every day. On Monday, he ramped up the rhetoric.
"We're just flinging the ball around, turning it over," he said of the first week. "And our guys are going to have to make that adjustment. Otherwise, we're still going to be doing the same old thing – playing some great games and some poor ones and not taking that next step."