Warriors can focus on building next dynasty after Steph Curry injury

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The Warriors, from the top, spent October trying to gently steer Dub Nation toward the brutal truth about this season. To listen closely to the words of president/general manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr was to discern that 2019-20 was about reconstruction.

About adding youth and attempting to lay a credible foundation to become serious contenders in 2020-21 and beyond.

“We believe that things take time to evolve, and we're prepared especially with a younger roster to allow that to happen, and that's the mindset that we have from a coaching staff, from a front office staff, is let's see how things are going before we make any blanket decisions or judgment on any of it," Myers said at Warriors Media Day.

And now, with the indefinite loss of Stephen Curry, grim reality is here. Oddsmakers give the Timberwolves better odds to win it all, and fans have made the leap from wondering what’s wrong to recognizing this will be a season of imperfections.

Even Draymond Green, who is wired to concede nothing, ever, must accept that any talk of the playoffs, much less a sixth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals, is delusional.

Until Curry returns – and it’s safe to presume he’ll miss at least 20 games – the Warriors will, more often than not, be underdogs, as they are Friday night against the Spurs. It will be reminiscent of the bad old days, before Mark Jackson was hired as coach and came strolling into his introductory news conference in June 2011 boldly uttering, "You might as well hitch onto the bandwagon because things gone be a changin’.”

Jackson pulled the Warriors out of the NBA swamp, getting them to the door of the elite. When Kerr came in with a new staff and fresh ideas, the Warriors broke down the door and took the league by storm.

When Joe Lacob and Peter Guber took ownership of the team nine years ago, the internal goal was to emulate the Spurs. San Antonio at the time had a streak of 13 consecutive seasons in the playoffs, with four championships. Those numbers are now at 22 and five.

The Warriors are at seven and three, with no idea when they might reach eight and four.

Draymond after the loss to Oklahoma City affirmed the postseason as a fantasy: “It sucks. I guess just about everybody except (Spurs superstar) Tim Duncan has been through it. But it sucks. Pretty bad.”

Before the Warriors reached the playoffs in 2013, they’d had one playoff appearance 19 seasons. Remember? Their only All-Star during that span was Latrell Sprewell. There were three seasons with fewer than 20 wins, eight seasons with fewer than 30 and 15 with fewer than 40. Not once did the Warriors exceed 50 wins.

These Warriors will fall somewhere within that range, likely the 30s. It’s a given inasmuch as they will spend much of the season down from four All-Stars to one, Green, and his chances of going back this season took a stern whacking when Curry went down.

Moreover, they are the third-youngest team in the NBA tasked with trying to navigate a perilous Western Conference that takes no prisoners.

“Well, we all knew this was inevitable at some point," Kerr said at Warriors Media Day. "It doesn't make it any easier when you lose guys who you've counted on, become close with, and so so much change in the off-season was really -- even though we knew it was coming at some point, it's still jarring.”

With Klay Thompson recovering from ACL surgery and so many veteran pillars falling from the roster – Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston – the Warriors scrapped their championship-or-bust mentality for one that would allow them to turn toward the next era.

They used their own draft picks to select Jordan Poole, 20, and Eric Paschall, 22, then bought another pick to take 19-year-old Alen Smailagic. They invested in 23-year-old Kevon Looney and signed 26-year-old Willie Cauley-Stein to a one-year deal that amounts to a trial and three months later did the same with 22-year-old Marquese Chriss.

They added D’Angelo Russell and visualized a trio of Curry, Thompson and Russell terrorizing defenses next year, assuming Russell showed well.

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: How will Warriors respond to early-season woes?]

They’ll evaluate for star potential, study who is worthy of being in the rotation of a 50-win team and who can provide quality depth and, of course, they will discover who cannot help.

Win now? Nah. Develop now, to win later. That was the plan before Curry’s hand was broken, and it’s still the plan. Only, there’s no point in anyone pretending otherwise.

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