Much of the NBA is scrambling to find a way to resume and conclude the 2019-20 campaign. Meanwhile, the Warriors “are absolutely in offseason mode right now,” according to head coach Steve Kerr.
The news of Golden State’s approach to the uncertainty of the current NBA comes on the heels of the Lakers’ efforts to receive approval to open the team facility for voluntary workouts before Los Angeles’ shelter-at-home order expires.
The difference in strategy could be explained by either team’s current standing, as the 49-14 Lakers lead the Western Conference while the 15-50 Warriors own the league’s worst record.
“It feels like the offseason,” Kerr said during a video conference with the University of San Francisco on Tuesday. “Our coaching staff and I have been undergoing staff evaluations, offseason plans, so we are absolutely in offseason mode right now.”
Golden State has become accustomed to competing for NBA titles every year, so the NBA’s suspension of play on March 11 gave the Warriors a chance to mentally call it quits early this year. “It’s different for us because we were down to 17 games, but we were out of the playoffs,” Kerr said. “It feels like the end of the season for our team. It just does.”
However, Kerr acknowledged the fact that the season may not be over. “We don’t know anything officially,” he said. “There’s still a chance the league could ask us to come back and play some games…”
Warriors Looking Ahead to 2020-21
The Golden State dynasty fell apart as quickly as it took the NBA by storm. Injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson in the 2018-19 Finals signaled the beginning of the end, and Durant’s departure mixed with injury issues with Thompson and Stephen Curry led to the Warriors going from first to worst this season.
Yet next season brings with it a significant amount of hope for a Warriors team that expects to return the original core of its dynasty: Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green.
Plus, Golden State figures to have one of the top picks in the NBA Draft after producing the league’s worst record this year.
While other teams have been focusing on an end to the current season, Kerr and his staff have had their attention on the season to follow. “I think we’ve had much deeper conversations amongst the staff to try to come up with better ways to coach our players and better ways to approach next season and really take advantage of the time that we do have,” Kerr said.
Once a healthy Warriors team returns to the court, we’ll finally be able to see how they stack up in a loaded Western Conference that features LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with the Clippers.
Who the Warriors Could Be Aiming For
Based on their record, Golden State should land a high pick in the 2020 draft. While they could certainly flip that pick as part of a deal for a veteran player, they could also bolster their roster with a top prospect.
For now, the Warriors have a 14% chance of receiving the first overall selection in the draft lottery.
While the halting of the sports world has added uncertainty to the draft process, there are three players currently in the running to be taken first overall.
Georgia guard Anthony Edwards owns odds of +100 to be taken with the first pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. This season, Edwards averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 40.2% from the field.
Memphis center James Wiseman, who the Warriors are rumored to have at the top of their draft board, is +183 to go first overall. Wiseman played just three games this season, averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and three blocks per game.
At +300, LaMelo Ball is the third favorite to go first overall. Ball has officially declared for the draft after a single season in Australia, where he averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.8 assists in 12 games.