Programming note: Warriors-Pelicans coverage starts tonight at 5:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
NEW ORLEANS – The man whose job description implies he should be offended by the Warriors’ atrocious defensive showing on opening night is surprisingly unbothered.
And veteran coach Ron Adams, generally considered the NBA’s top assistant and the team’s chief defensive strategist, is willing to explain why.
He’s also confident that the shockingly poor defense on display in a reality-check 129-100 lashing by San Antonio will not be the norm.
[RELATED: Steve Kerr doesn't really care that much about blowout loss to Spurs]
“We are going to be a great team,” he told CSNBayArea.com after shootaround Friday at Smoothie King Center, hours before facing the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Warriors were so bad on opening night that coach Steve Kerr opened his postgame news conference with a plea for jokes. He had seen his new squad, heralded as the most lethal in NBA history, introduce itself by allowing more points than it had in any game since he became coach in 2014.
The starters were bad. The bench was bad. And the Death Lineup, surely the team’s best quintet, built to quickly crush opponents, was abominable, posting a defensive rating of 144.9 points.
The Ron Adams of last season, often affectionately described by interim head coach Luke Walton as “a grumpy old man," would’ve been personally insulted by such ghastly numbers.
This season? Adams, 69, is willing to be patient.
“I thought it would be a real tough opening-night opponent,” he said, pointing out the Spurs are among the teams the Warriors will face in the first month that have returned largely intact.
“We have four or five new people in our top 10, and seven new guys total. We’ll have a different defensive team. We’ll find workable combinations. And we’ll find, schematically, what we need to do differently or better.”
How much have the Warriors discovered since Tuesday about their new, rebooted squad could be revealed Friday night, when they face Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.
It will be easier, by any measure, than the challenge presented by the Spurs, a 67-win team with three All-Stars starting in the frontcourt.
Adams, Kerr and the rest of the staff are willing to bet the Warriors won’t be giving up 129 points again this season – as bad as it looked on Tuesday for a team of which so much is expected.
“Unfortunately for us,” Adams said, “it’s simple for others to sit on the sidelines and say, ‘This is a fantastic team . . . they’re going to take off running.’ As I said, we are going to be a great team. But it’s going to be a process.”