Kurtenbach: The Warriors’ 2023-24 goal — do the opposite of everything they did last season

Kurtenbach: The Warriors’ 2023-24 goal — do the opposite of everything they did last season

SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors have a theme for the 2023-2024 season, and they’re not being subtle about it.

For the Dubs, this upcoming campaign is all about connectivity.

The Warriors weren’t connected last year — what, with their two-timeline conundrum and the whole punching of teammates at training camp thing.

Sure enough, that lack of understanding and trust showed on the court and brought about the team’s second-round exit — its first in the Western Conference playoffs under coach Steve Kerr.

In retrospect, it was all so easy to see.

And so this past offseason was about getting the Warriors to sing in harmony again.

While changing general managers and adding the team’s sworn rival to the roster seem like bold moves to make amid such a mandate, both Kerr and that new GM, Mike Dunleavy Jr., believe this team will avoid the pratfalls of dysfunction this season.

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But reconnecting the Warriors starts with ensuring a solid working relationship between the head coach and GM. They have to set the example.

Kerr and former president of basketball operations Bob Myers had a relationship that was second to none when it came to those roles in the NBA. Close friends away from the game, the two were in lock-step at work. And while that didn’t mean much last season, that relationship was invaluable for the Warriors for nearly a decade.

It’s a tough act for Dunleavy to follow. At the very least, there’s a shift in the power dynamics between the front office and the coaching staff, with Kerr holding far more experience.

So, how is Kerr and Dunleavy’s relationship? I asked both men Monday.

For Kerr, Myers’ vote of confidence in Dunleavy is all he needed.

“I think I could not ask for a better new partner than Mike, given that Mike and Bob are best friends,” Kerr said. “[Bob] was able to groom Mike over the last few years. Mike and I have gotten close. We’ve spent a lot of time together. We have a lot of shared values in terms of what we think wins, what kind of player, what kind of team.”

“I’ll probably lean on him in a lot of ways,” Dunleavy said of Kerr. “He’s had this position before as a general manager. So he definitely can provide some great insight, and he already has; and I’ll continue to help and support him any way I can.”

So that’s in order. Now, what about the team?

We’ll get a better sense of things next Monday, when the team will hold a media day, but Kerr and Dunleavy seem encouraged by the players’ offseason work.

And both have been encouraged by the new guy’s attitude.

It’s fair to say that Chris Paul was no Warriors’ friend when he was traded to Golden State in July.

But he wasn’t Jordan Poole, and his career timeline is far better aligned with the Warriors’ veterans, so he’s now wearing blue and gold. (His shorter contract term also helped make him a Warrior.)

Paul also had no connection when he took a 6 a.m. Southwest flight from Southern California to participate in a Chase Center workout with Steph Curry and the other Warriors.

Ignoring the inherent comedy of a longtime Warriors rival buying a “Wanna Get Away” fare so he can practice with his new teammates, it’s those kinds of sacrifices that has the Warriors’ brass bullish on the Dubs’ ability to jell early.

“They got it. They know we were a little discombobulated, especially as the season went on last year, and everybody knows we need to correct it,” Dunleavy said. “We are in a good place in that area, but you’ve got to keep it going.”

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Indeed, training camp — a general afterthought for this organization during the salad days — will be critical this season. The Dubs need to keep the good vibes rolling. They need to set a strong foundation for this season. They need to make it through a few weeks of practice without fisticuffs.

The Warriors’ poor start to last season — and all the obvious reasons behind it — created a hole for the team it remained in all campaign.

“I do think we need to have a good training camp. I think it’s imperative that we get off to a better start this year, not just in terms of our record but in terms of our preparation,” Kerr said. “I believe that when a team is not well-connected, then the road is where that lack of connection will show that, and I think that’s what happened last year….That’s why I’m going to really keep talking about this connection and the fact that we’ve got to bond and come together right away to get to have that good start.”

Yes, the Warriors want to do the opposite of everything they did last preseason.

In turn, the fate of their regular — and perhaps postseason — should change, too.