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Steve Kerr explains ‘pleasant surprise’ of Warriors’ strong start

The Warriors’ propensity for small-ball lineups has produced plenty of success within Steve Kerr’s offense, but it also often hurts the team’s rebounding numbers. Especially with James Wiseman on the shelf to start the season, Kevon LooneyNemanja Bjelica and Draymond Green getting the majority of the minutes in the frontcourt is not ideal for winning on the boards.

Yet, through two games against the talented rosters of the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers, the Warriors have been on the positive side of the rebounding margin. 

Kerr joined KNBR on Friday, and spoke about why the Warriors’ ability to rebound has caught him off guard.

“The rebounding has kind of been a pleasant surprise to be honest with you,” Kerr said on the “Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks” show. “Outrebounding both of those teams, it was great. I think it’s frankly an indication of playing veteran groups, Looney is just fantastic in there boxing out, he may not end up getting the rebound but he’s taking out the guys who would be getting offensive boards, which allows Steph and other guys to come in and grab the long rebounds, so I just feel like we’ve got a real veteran group.”

The Warriors’ rotation has gotten older and features more experience now, as Bjelica, Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr. are seeing major roles. Curry also has averaged 10 rebounds per game over the Warriors’ first two wins, which would be 4.5 more than the star guard has averaged over any season of his NBA career.

Last season, the Warriors finished with the worst offensive rebounding rate in the NBA (17.9) and ranked 25th in defensive rebound percentage (76.6). In albeit a much smaller sample size, the Warriors rank 15th in ORB percentage (21.6) and third in DRB rate (86.6).

As the Warriors go all in on chasing wins for 2021-22, rebounding consistently will be an integral part of determining how far this team can go. 

So far, so good.

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