If the NBA season resumes at some point after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Golden State Warriors don’t really have much to play for.
The Warriors, after a dominant stretch atop the basketball world, had just a 15-50 record when the league suspended operations due to the coronavirus — the worst in the league.
The 17 games left on Golden State’s schedule essentially don’t mean anything. Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers, however, said on Friday that his players would be “good partners” and participate in the rest of the season if it resumes, whatever that may look like.
“The truth is we have the worst record in the league. That’s a fact,” Myers said, via ESPN. “It’s hard to motivate in our unique position. But that doesn’t mean players don’t have pride and won’t come back and play and care about the league as a whole. We want to be good partners and we will be good partners.”
The Warriors have been eliminated from postseason contention for quite some time, and are several games behind the rest of the league. They also have the best odds to win the draft lottery and secure the top pick in the draft, providing them even more incentive to simply move on to next season — which is what some in the organization are starting to do mentally.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, after more than a month into the league hiatus, said that a Zoom call with his team in April “felt like our annual exit meeting.”
“It feels like the end of our season,” Kerr said last month. “We’re staying in touch with our guys, but it definitely feels like the season is done for us.”
It’s easy to see where he’s coming from, too. If the regular season would resume, the Warriors would have to play meaningless games to ride out the end of the year. Games would oftentimes be like a glorified scrimmage and could open them up to unnecessary injuries and more.
Break is ‘a breath of fresh air’
Whether the season resumes at all, though, is still to be determined. The NBA has no set plans to begin play again anytime soon, though allowed teams in certain markets to open their practice facilities again on Friday.
There were more than 1.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Friday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 76,500 deaths attributed to it. A vaccine isn’t expected until early next year at best, and testing for the virus is still not readily available.
While the extra time off wasn’t planned, Myers said he and Kerr have been putting it to good use.
“When you’re lucky enough to play as deep [in the playoffs] as we did, you have to go right into the draft and free agency,” Myers said, via ESPN. “And it probably didn’t give us the necessary time to talk about our process and what we want to do.
“So as we wait, we’re taking a step back and analyzing, ‘What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? How do we want to play offensively? How do we want to play defensively?’
“That’s been a breath of fresh air, just to talk to Steve in some space.”
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