Internal issues with the Warriors?
Everything that glitters is not gold.
This could be an accurate description of the Golden State Warriors, who have struggled since Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury in a game against the Washington Wizards Feb. 28.
The Warriors (54-14) are just 3-4 since Durant's injury, and have seen their lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference standings shrink.
The injury has also forced players to take on more minutes, which has led to fatigue. Several reporters who have been covering the Warriors for years, believe the players are not playing with the same amount of joy and it is apparent in games. Golden State lost positive locker room presences like Leonardo Barbosa and Marreese Speights to free agency, and former assistant coach Luke Walton to the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason. While Barbosa and Speights may not have had huge statistical influences, their absence impacts the team's dynamic.
Ethan Strauss, who covers the Warriors for ESPN, visited the TrueHoop Podcast and revealed some information that hints at deeper rooted issues within the organization.
"Is this malaise of theirs about not feeling motivated, not thinking they have something to play for," Strauss said. "Is it just being tired? There's one guy in particular on the team that keeps saying the same thing to me, and I can't say who he is, but he keeps saying 'We've got problems and it ain't basketball.'"
Last week, Andre Iguodala turned heads with his comments during his postgame press conference following a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. When asked if he knew Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was resting him, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green against the San Antonio Spurs the next night, he responded by saying "Nope, no clue. I do what master says."
He dropped the N-word constantly during the meeting and would ultimately be fined $10,000 by the NBA.
One thing is for sure, if what Strauss reports is true, the Spurs have a chance to pounce on their West rival while they can.