Ask Kerith

Could Klay Thompson return to Warriors' lineup if NBA season returns?

Could Klay Thompson return to Warriors' lineup if NBA season returns?

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #askKerith.

Tip-Off

Hi everyone! There are things bigger than basketball going on in the world, but basketball is what we are here to talk about in this mailbag. I’m grateful for your questions.

We might get an update soon about how the NBA is feeling about resuming. Adam Silver recently said, “We should accept that at least for the month of April we won't be in any position to make any decisions," but with the help of health experts and seeing the way the coronavirus (COVID-19) moves, there might be some clarity coming about whether Silver believes this season can be salvaged. Perhaps there will be another statement from Silver the first week of May.

Game On!

@K_Weavs_ If the NBA comes back this season, do you think Klay will return to the court? Start building chemistry?

I don’t think so. An ACL injury takes about nine-to-12 months to heal. It would be even better, from the Warriors’ perspective, if Klay Thompson could get 14 or 15 months. Under normal circumstances, Klay would resume action at training camp, which is in September ... or was, who knows.

If the current season resumes, and Klay is technically cleared for contact, he might push to play. But I don’t see the upside. Stick to the plan to hold him out. 

This might confuse fans who heard all season about the value to playing Steph Curry after his injury, to get him time with teammates. But a broken hand (approx 3-to-4 months recovery) is different than an ACL (up to a year recovery). Their roles on the team are different as well. 

The expectation was Steph would play again this season, and Klay would not. It makes sense to keep it that way based on the severity of their injuries. 

@rory_h_r Do players get homework like studying plays and film?

It’s not homework, but there is film study during the season. There are group sessions, and then individual work with coaches. Players study clips of their movements, and clips of other athletes who have similar styles or skills to aspire to. For example, Jordan Poole might watch clips of Klay and Steph shooting. 

During the quarantine, Steve Kerr has said in interviews he’s not mandating many things, like team Zoom check-ins. So I doubt film study is mandatory homework. I would guess he’s letting his players be adults and determine what they need for themselves. 

Some players watch film for fun. Kevin Durant said it was a hobby of his to study the greats. 

When, or if, the season returns and basketball feels more real, then I bet there will be a ramp-up to work that includes film study to get players back in a competitive headspace. Right now, that’s hard. 

[RELATED: Warriors-Lakers rivalry set to renew next season]

@togas73 Are all the players Sheltering in Place in the Bay Area? Did any travel back home to be with family?

Based on their Instagrams, it appears that Steph, Poole, Draymond Green and Eric Paschall are in the Bay Area. 

It looks like Marquese Chriss went home to Sacramento. Mychal Mulder is in his hometown of Windsor, Ontario. Andrew Wiggins is not in the Bay, but I can’t tell where exactly he is. The other guys I’m not sure about either. 

Via instagram, @divyatunwal says, Do you guys have any more WNBA players lined up for your podcast? I really liked the ones with Sabrina and Chiney

Thanks for listening! Logan and I are proud of the guests we’ve gotten for the Runnin’ Plays podcast, like Sabrina Ionescu and Chiney Ogwumike. Logan also interviewed Chelsea Grey a few months ago. 

We do have another WNBA star lined up soon. Her name rhymes with Flew Curd. WE ARE SO EXCITED! I can also share that there's a Kendrick Perkins episode of the Runnin’ Plays podcast coming out next week.

If you missed any episodes, here’s a link to find them. You can also search “Runnin’ Plays” on Spotify.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
 

Via Instagram, @viewswithlulu asks, Favorite things to do via quarantine?

My husband and I assembled a nice home gym! We have three sets of weights, resistance bands, a mini trampoline, and a spin bike. 

Working out is important to us. It’s our stress relief. We’ve been taking walks too. 

I keep saying “we” because we are spending so much time together. We like to cook, read, and watch Netflix too. This time together has been nice. We both travel a lot for our jobs. That’s not happening now!

Via Instagram, @renegadegabe wonders, How did you meet your husband?

We met in New York City, on a dating app. I needed to meet people outside of work and sports, and there he was, a smiling, handsome engineer who knew a great rooftop bar. 

High Five

Thanks for this kind message from @Romare who told @AmyGGiants and me, “I know everyone misses the sports, the games and the players, but I want you to know that my friends and I miss both of you, too. I hope you and your families are safe and well.” 

It’s a joy to cover sports for a living and to be welcomed into your living rooms on TV, or to meet you in person. Thank you for the stories you share with us, and the fandom you bring to the games. It’s an honor to be a part of that. 

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith.

How young Warriors face unique challenges during coronavirus pandemic

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AP

How young Warriors face unique challenges during coronavirus pandemic

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #askKerith.

Tip-Off

HELLO EVERYONE! I’m imagining we’re sitting next to each other, and we are high-fiving and watching basketball. We’re happy! We’re in a crowd! We’re eating nachos!

I’m lucky I live by some open space where I can see green grass and trees. I’m going outside for walks to keep my sanity.

San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order to halt the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic came down on March 16. That order has been extended for the Bay Area until at least May 3. That was tough news to get, but it’s for the best to prevent the spread of the virus, protect people’s lives and keep the situation as manageable as possible for healthcare workers. Thank you to everyone doing their part to get us through this.

Let’s talk Warriors for a change of pace! All of these questions come from Instagram.

Game on!

@Minwoo_kimm I think Klay’s rehab has been addressed before but how is he now? Is Klay still on the same timeline in his rehab process or has it been affected by COVID-19?

Warriors guard Klay Thompson has been unavailable to reporters this season, so I’ve only spoken to him on a few occasions. The memorable times were when he took over as the sideline reporter, and when I covered his jersey retirement at Washington State University. He’s not on social media much, either.

I mention this to say I’m not certain how he’s doing. But I can give you an educated guess based on what I went through when I had ACL surgery. The usual disclaimers apply: I'm not a doctor, I don’t know the specifics of Klay’s injury and recovery times can vary.

At the three-month mark, my physical therapist had me run on a treadmill. At the six-month mark, I was cleared for duty at work. I am not a pro athlete, however, and explosive cutting or jabs were not part of my day-to-day. It took me a year to feel “normal” again, and about 18 months to get over the fear of re-injury.

Klay has the resources of a pro athlete at his disposal, so my educated guess is he’s on schedule and feeling great. Nothing we’ve seen indicates otherwise. Practice video of Klay from early March shows him working out on a side court, sinking threes and jumpers. He was not cleared for contact, but he was around the team during the parts of practice the media could see. Involvement is good!

Klay had surgery on July 2, 2019. The Opening Ceremony for the Olympics was supposed to be this July 24 before it was postponed to 2021. There was a chance Klay would make Team USA’s roster, consistent with a year-long recovery and his hunger to get back on the court.

What is Klay doing now? If he has access to a hoop, he’s there. The final part of any player’s rehab is getting back to game speed, which is difficult during COVID-19’s social distancing guidelines. I bet he’s doing lots of cardio and as many basketball-themed workouts as possible to regain strength.

The final part of ACL recovery is the mental side. I remember seeing my progress during each physical-therapy session, but also being frustrated at the ways I could see my leg was weak.

For Klay, I imagine he was counting down the days to getting back on a court and now, who knows when that day will be. I feel sad for the frustration Klay probably feels about a delayed return to his happy place.

@chrisrosenthatl13 What’s your view on Marquese’s future with the Warriors? I see so many people adamant about drafting Wiseman or Toppin, and it shocks me, like they haven’t watched a single Warriors game this season.

Marquese Chriss has been a gem. Alongside a wounded Kevon Looney and Draymond Green’s occasional stints at center, Marquese has been a reliable, impactful addition.

The fact that the Warriors chose to keep Marquese and waive Alfonzo McKinnie at the start of the season, waive Chriss in January but make certain to bring him back AND give him a two-year deal shows they see him as part of the plan, at least for next season.

I expect the Warriors will take care of a guy who works hard for them, on a budget.

That said, I recall Steve Kerr said the Warriors will draft a center. Who they pick and in what round remains to be seen, or whether the Warriors sign a free agent, but I think that pick will join Marquese to fulfill an important role on the team. Under normal circumstances, the Warriors run a lot of offense through the high post. Having options at that position is beneficial. “Center by committee” has been the pattern in recent seasons.

@marinchef How are the young guys doing on their own? This has got to be hard on the single players?!

I follow everyone on the roster on Instagram, and their posts are clues about how they’re holding up. They seem bored!

I learned the training staff asked the players to complete 10 workouts a week. Eric Paschall posted an Instagram story from his bike, saying he can’t wait to get back on the court. Basic workout routines are the best they can do right now.

The Warriors’ young guys play a lot of video games. I don’t know how much time exactly, but in this story about the Charlotte Hornets, it was eye-popping to read WIllie Hernangomez is playing eight-to-10 hours a day.

Like you, I’ve been thinking about the young players who are far from home. Paschall is from New York. Jordan Poole is from Wisconsin. Ky Bowman is from North Carolina. Mychal Mulder is from Windsor, Ontario. If these players stayed in the Bay Area, I hope they’re not feeling strained or lonely.

The last time Kerr did a conference call, I asked him if the team is providing resources for players to handle the mental side of shelter-in-place orders. He said yes, and expressed how bad he feels for Mulder.

Even though guys can’t be around their teammates, it seems like a good time to be part of a team for people to lean on.

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays Podcast:

@thicc__nicck Hey Kerith! Are the Warriors players making an honest, real effort to stay game-ready, knowing the limitations of working out today but also knowing that they’re the only playoff-eliminated team? Wouldn’t really judge them if they went full give-up mode and ate hot Cheetos and drank beer haha

Ha, I wouldn’t judge either, knowing my cheese consumption lately. I’m enjoying some comfort snacks.

Based on their Instagrams and what it takes to be a professional in general, the guys are keeping in shape. It’s a must. For many of them -- rookies, minimum contract guys, former G League guys -- they know if they slip up, their futures won’t be long in the NBA. They worked hard to get here in the first place.

Steph Curry and his wife Ayesha have been posting workouts from their home gym. I’m jealous of their Pelotons. Did you see the video of Canon getting in on the action?

As far as we know, the NBA is coming back this season. Players know if they’re not physically prepared to resume the action, they’re going to be embarrassed. These are competitive folks to begin with. No one wants to look inferior.

@jacobshiffer93 What player do you think has the best survival skills to last a long-term quarantine?

Steph came to mind right away because of his resources. Strong family support, a nice house, the finances to stock up on goods and a positive disposition to get him through tough times.

Should society dismantle altogether and suddenly zombies are in the mix, he can outrun them or dunk on their faces. His line to Dr. Fauci would keep him up to date on the latest developments for survival.

[RELATED: Warriors' Welts only has one box score framed in his office]

@dannyfantasma30 Who is the better cook, you or your husband?

My husband, BY FAR. I’m not a complete moron in the kitchen, but I stay lazy and rely on the microwave or boiling water to shape our dinners. My husband whips things up from scratch.

We are eating well, thanks to his creativity. After he works a full day in his home office (a desk in the corner of our living room), he says he likes the mental switch to something completely different. More power to him. I am greatly benefiting from this arrangement.

@evenstrongerps4 What talent do you wish you had? #AskKerith

I wish I could speak Spanish fluently. For some people, this is not a talent, it’s a way of life, but I wish I studied abroad to become fluent. Right now, I have fragments of memory for vocabulary and verbs that I learned in high school and college. I need to take this knowledge further before it fades.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith.

How NBA's coronavirus response sends a powerful message to society

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NBC Sports Bay Area

How NBA's coronavirus response sends a powerful message to society

I’m writing this mailbag on Thursday night. The Warriors were scheduled to play the Brooklyn Nets, and this game would be the Warriors’ first with no fans in attendance. 

On Wednesday, reporters gathered at practice to ask questions about what that experience would be like. Steph Curry said he wanted “music, for sure” to try to make things feel normal. 

Tuesday night the Warriors played the Clippers. There were signs on the Chase Center doors cautioning fans they should not enter the arena if they were feeling ill or traveled recently to any hotspot countries where the COVID-19 had a large outbreak.

There was some worry and joking on press row about whether any of us should be in the building.

Looking back at this week feels surreal. I reviewed my Twitter timeline and it’s an hour-by-hour artifact about the things we thought we knew.

Tip-off was supposed to happen Thursday at 7:30 p.m. PT for Game No. 66 of the season. My producer said our broadcasting cameras were going to move down closer to the floor during the fanless games. We were going to show new angles, and hear the game like never before. A delay might be necessary to bleep out the players’ cursing during the action. 

We had a plan. Then it evaporated. 

The NBA season is suspended until further notice. Two Utah Jazz players tested positive for COVID-19. Containing the spread of the virus is the singular focus in sports. The NHL is suspended. MLB is halting spring training. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are canceled. 

Sports are my livelihood. But I’m glad games have paused. Health and safety must be the first priority. While the majority of us will be fine if we get COVID-19, it’s our obligation to care about vulnerable people. These precautions are for them. 

I’ve been reading about the imperative to “flatten the curve” instead of seeing infection rates spike. Help the infection rate look like a speed bump instead of a skyscraper so hospitals are not overwhelmed. 

The leagues that are taking action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will impact how the rest of society follows suit. That is powerful.

It’s about 5 p.m. now. Had Thursday's game happened, rookie Eric Paschall would be going through his shooting routine. The security staff would be behind the bench for their pre-game meeting. I’d be thinking out how I’d tell the story of Mychal Mulder’s dad, a huge Lakers fan who named his son after Klay Thompon’s dad, is coming to grips with rooting for the Warriors now. 

But I’m at home. I don’t know what I’m going to do to fill the time. I don’t know when the NBA will resume play. I’m processing what the next few weeks will be like. 

It doesn’t make sense to answer mailbag questions today. We can wait to talk about the NBA draft and Giannis, OK? But stay tuned. Podcasts and new stories and videos will come out soon with every piece of Warriors coverage we can bring you.

[RELATED: What's next for Warriors?]

Please take care of each other. 

And finally, if you have the means, would you consider a donation to a local food bank like Alameda County Community Food Bank or San Francisco-Marin Food Bank?