Programming note: Hornets-Warriors coverage starts Saturday at 7 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
Even as the Warriors are 6-2, impressing far more often than disappointing, you can almost hear the specific words rattling about the minds of players and coaches.
Learning. Strides. Developing. Transforming. Process. Patience.
Such thoughts are there, and often expressed, not because the Warriors accept them but because they know they are necessary.
"It's a process," guard Shaun Livingston says. "We have to trust the process, the system that coach is putting in."
Unlike Livingston, who joined the Warriors over the summer, Stephen Curry has known only this franchise. It's his sixth season, and he's experienced more losing seasons (three) than winning seasons (two). So his perspective is, well, different.
"We're 6-2, not playing what we think is our best ball and still have a chance to win every game," Curry said. "It's tough to be great and have that expectation every single night, that you feel like you should play your best and beat every team, as opposed to before, when you feel like even if you play your best you might not win, based on the talent on the roster or what have you.
"That's not the case any more. We truly have the belief that we're one of the best teams in the league if we play like it every single night. When it doesn't happen, it's frustrating. But you've got to stick to the process.
"That's the new mentality, wanting to be great, top to bottom."
If there are moments when it appears the team is on the verge of falling apart, there are reasons. These Warriors are not working off a core that has been together for many years, like the Spurs or the Grizzlies. They don't have an easily identifiable Big Three, like the Bulls or the Cavaliers – or even two players generally considered among the top 10 in the league, like the Clippers or the Rockets.
The Warriors don't even have, as many teams to, a clear and distinctive separation between the starting five and the bench, as the Trail Blazers.
Rookie coach Steve Kerr walked in the door knowing the starting five he inherited – Andrew Bogut, David Lee, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Curry – might change. It has out of necessity, with Draymond Green replacing the injured Lee. It also has changed because Kerr and his staff perceive Iguodala more valuable to the second unit and, therefore, are starting Harrison Barnes.
But it's not always pretty. Sometimes, it's utterly hideous. Other times, the team appears to be five men moving individually instead of as a unit.
"Maybe it's growing pains, or maybe it needs patience," Bogut says. "We're playing with different teammates, guys we haven't played. We're learning where guys like the ball, what spots on the floor they're comfortable with. You don't know all those things, and it takes at least 10 to 15 games to learn."
That's the call for now. It's too early to know how good or bad the Warriors can be. We've seeing both. There is faith that things will get better, assuming everyone is healthy, but it's all guessing and projecting.
Unless, that is, you're Kerr. He vows.
"We'll get better," the coach says. "We'll keep working. What I tell our guys is we're six weeks into this as a staff and as a team. We are just scratching the surface of what we're going to be."