For the last five seasons, the Warriors were full-speed ahead, hellbent on tearing teams limb from limb as they punched ticket after ticket to the NBA Finals.
Five consecutive runs into June can wear on a team and make a dynasty wobble. There's not much time for rest or reflection.
All that has come now for coach Steve Kerr and president of basketball operations Bob Myers. After a 15-50 season spent with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson wearing suits and playing sideline reporter at times for NBC Sports Bay Area, the Warriors now face an extended offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic. Time for Kerr and Myers to think about the next phase of a dynasty that took off like a rocketship that now is looking for some fuel to continue its climb.
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"I talk with (president of basketball operations and general manager) Bob Myers and (director of sports medicine and performance) Rick Celebrini and our training staff, the developmental coaches, we talk all the time about trying to build a plan,” Kerr told The Athletic's David Aldridge on the "Hoops, Adjacent" podcast. “But without a time frame, it’s just so hard. Right now we’ve got our players coming in individually to work out at our facility one on with coaches. … Bob and I and (assistant coach) Mike Dunleavy, who joined our staff this past year, and Mike Brown, we’ve sort of all put our heads together to try and use the time to hash out -- what are we doing that we could be doing better, and what are some things we need to look at to try and improve? Just try to use the time to our advantage to see where we can improve. We have not had much time at all the last five or six years. It just seems like the seasons have run together. This is a time to step back and analyze our program.”
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The time off should benefit a Warriors dynasty that was knocked off balance by injuries and exhaustion in the 2019 NBA Finals. Kevin Durant's exit and injuries to Curry and Thompson allowed Myers and Kerr a season to reimagine the Warriors roster. A way to bottom out and recalibrate, knowing they spring back up once Curry and Thompson take the floor again.
A 15-50 season has bled into an extended offseason, giving the Warriors more time to recalibrate for a second run. That recalibration will include a top-five draft pick and a $17.2 million trade exception to add talent around a championship core.
Golden State Warriors
The coronavirus pandemic altered the calendar for the Warriors, giving Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green even more time to rest their bodies from five grueling years under the brightest of spotlights. This rest has been a blessing to the Warriors. One they are ready to take full advantage of.
“One hundred percent,” Kerr said. “One hundred percent. I think you’re going to see a totally different team next season, whenever it starts. Draymond is going to be refreshed. Steph and Klay, obviously, having missed either all or most of last season, in an ironic way, they ended up getting a lot of the rest that they needed. And now this suspension has actually given them even more rest. By the time camp starts next season, guys are going to be bouncing off the walls, ready to go.”
The Warriors are the best-run operation in basketball. They have a top-notch brain trust paired with transcendent talent on the floor, and now they've had time to let their wounds heal. Time to find ways to get better at every level.
Teams relished in punking the Warriors last season, obliterating a team that had shimmied across their graves for five years.
That one-year escape for the league ends in December. The Warriors are ready to remind everyone what dominance looks like.