SAN FRANCISCO, June 23 — The Golden State Warriors will be even better next year when they begin their title defense, head coach Steve Kerr said on Wednesday, sending a warning to the rest of the NBA.

The Warriors dynasty, which included titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018, appeared to be heading to a close when they fell in the 2019 Finals, posted the league’s worst record in 2020, and missed the playoffs last season.

But the franchise kept its core together and got healthy in time for this year’s playoffs, which they capped off by defeating the Boston Celtics 4-2 for their fourth title in eight years.

“My experience is that when you win a championship, you get better the next year,” Kerr told reporters on Wednesday.

“If you keep going after that, it starts to wear you out. That third year for us, trying to get a three-peat in 2019, was brutally difficult,” he said.

“But you win that first one, there’s a freedom that comes with it and an excitement that carries over into the second year.

“And given that we’ve just had a two-year opportunity to refill our cups and re-energize, I think we’ll be really motivated going into next year and they guys will have a great chance to have a hell of a season again.” The team’s core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all scheduled to return next season. Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole are expected to receive contract extensions this summer that will see them back in the Bay Area as well.

The team will also continue to integrate the promising but unproven talents of youngsters James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody while chasing another trophy.

“All of those guys are going to play in Summer League and hopefully be ready for training camp,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said.

“If those guys earn it and they can help us win, I think Steve will play them... but if there are guys who are playing better, he’ll play those guys.” — Reuters