The ornery Golden State Warriors that have been terrorizing officials all season feel like a mirror universe version of the lighthearted Warriors teams of recent yore. Whether it’s a result of the pressure from trying to win their third title in four years getting to them or just hubris run amok, the Warriors have accumulated 39 technical fouls this season, only one behind league leader, Oklahoma City. After having seen enough, President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers addressed the team’s rancorous relationship with referees before a Thursday shootaround, per ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
Myers explained that there has been too much bickering with the referees and suggested it could be affecting their on-court production. His speech didn’t last long, but players got the point: It was time to zip it and play ball.
“It’s not a good look,” Kerr said in explaining what Myers’ message was. “We need to look more professional, to act more professional, and to be more poised, and to represent our team in a better light. I don’t think we’ve been doing a good job of that lately.”
Myers’ constructive criticism wasn’t limited to the players either. A healthier, more energetic Steve Kerr has picked up four techs of his own this season.
Kerr occasionally drops profanity-laced tirades at the officials too. Early in the third quarter of Tuesday’s loss to Oklahoma City, Kerr picked up his fourth technical of the season. He had five in total last season.
Whereas some coaches with seven NBA championships as a player and coach, could have taken offense to being lectured to by an executive 10 years his junior, Kerr was introspective about his own sideline behavior after listening to Myers.
“Draymond and I are actually more alike than you think,” Kerr said. “We both have the propensity to snap because we’re both incredibly competitive. We both lose it sometimes. That’s just the way it is.”
Rather than focusing on beating the opponent across from them, Golden State has gotten preoccupied with the officials. Over their last three games, they’re averaging 2.3 technicals per game and lost three of their last four contests. Technical fouls can be assessed arbitrarily, but the Warriors have made themselves an easy target for officials.
Amid growing tensions with officials, Draymond Green may have drawn the ire officials league-wide when he told The Atlantic’s Anthony Slater that the league should consider replacing the current crop of referees.
Green is only one technical away from serving a mandatory one-game suspension for accumulating 16 techs and Kevin Durant is second on the team with 11. That emotional volatility infected their play during their recent three-game slide. Golden State could be better off modeling themselves after their Saturday night opponent, the San Antonio Spurs, who are 30th in technical fouls.
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