Before the start of the 1995-96 season, the Bulls were scrimmaging. Current Warriors coach Steve Kerr, then just a reserve guard for Chicago, got into a disagreement with Michael Jordan that saw the famously competitive GOAT punch Kerr in the face. When Kerr got home, MJ had already left a voicemail apologizing for the incident. That Bulls team would go on to win 72 games, the most in regular-season history (before the Kerr and Luke Walton-coached Warriors won 73 in 2016). That same Bulls team went on to capture three titles in a row, and—particularly with Bad as I Wanna Be-era Dennis Rodman—turned into a traveling bacchanal of media catnip.
The point? Kerr knows a thing or two about the blinding glare that follows around historically good teams, which is why he's uniquely suited to handle the turmoil facing his current Warriors squad. With a three-peat in sight, the Warriors have a chance to join the Bulls as one of the few teams to pull off that feat. But as far as Kerr is concerned, his Bulls don't hold a candle to the Warriors when it comes to media scrutiny.
"The bar's been set high," Kerr told ESPN's Nick Friedell on the Wednesday after the Dubs got blown out by the Lakers on Christmas Day. "I told our guys that; I gave them that line today. You guys have set the bar really high. So everything takes on a little greater sense of urgency in terms of what happens around the team. We're maybe the most scrutinized team in the history of the league."
Kerr explained that his current team is "right there" with his Bulls. "I felt the same, but even more so now because of the number of media outlets and the immediacy of the judgment and criticism," Kerr explained. "So it's all part of it; our guys have learned how to deal with all of that over the past few years. It doesn't matter. What matters is how you respond to a bad loss, to a bad stretch, to injuries. As long as you keep responding, keep showing up to work, keep sticking together, keep working, good things are going to happen. That's what I believe with this group."
While the media trailing this year's Warriors team might be a bit larger than in year's past—The Athletic, ESPN, and others sometimes have several full-time reporters traveling with the team—the smartphone era sets this team apart from Kerr's Bulls or any other superstar-laden team of the past, including LeBron's Heatles. But it's not just the ubiquity of cameras that makes this year's team so different. They're also struggling.
Golden State has lost four games by 20-plus points at home so far this season, double the number of blowout losses at home through Kerr's four seasons as head coach. It's enough to sound alarm bells about Draymond Green's woeful shooting, Klay Thompson's mediocre efficiency from deep, or Kevin Durant sharing touches with Steph Curry. And with Durant's free agency looming, the DeMarcus Cousins factor, and the Draymond Green saga, the Warriors have been a headline-generating machine the likes of which we've never seen before.