Bob Myers

Warriors GM Bob Myers issues statement on 2019-20 NBA season ending

Warriors GM Bob Myers issues statement on 2019-20 NBA season ending

The Warriors' 2019-20 season officially ended Thursday morning.

Golden State general manager Bob Myers issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“We all recognize that there are much more important and pressing issues in our world right now that need to be addressed and corrected. Basketball is secondary at this point. Nonetheless, it is helpful to have a definitive resolution to our season.

"We can now focus our efforts on preparing for the 2020-21 season and, ideally, putting ourselves in position to be a very successful team. In many respects, despite our won-loss record, we had a productive season this year.

"Our rookies gained valuable experience, several of our young veterans showed marked improvement, our injured players progressed in their rehab, and our culture remained strong.”

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

The Warriors finished with the worst record in the NBA at 15-50, which guarantees them a top-five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (now scheduled for Oct. 15).

The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery -- which will take place Aug. 25 -- will determine their exact position.

[RELATED: What we learned from Warriors' disappointing 2019-20 season]

After five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, the Dubs will be looking to get back to the top of the mountain after falling hard to the bottom.

"A lot of people saying we can’t win without KD — like we didn’t win without KD already," Draymond Green said on the "All the Smoke" podcast back in April. "Is it gonna be as easy? F--k no. Kevin’s great.

"But with them two guys (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson) I’ve been rolling with ... it can get done. And we gonna get it done.”

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[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Warriors can find these silver linings from lost 2019-20 NBA season

Warriors can find these silver linings from lost 2019-20 NBA season

Ever since the ninth day of the season, when they were informed that Steph Curry would miss at least three months, the Warriors have had one request of the 2019-20 season.

End it.

Kevin Durant had departed for the Brooklyn Nets. Klay Thompson was in the early stages of a nine-month rehabilitation and, then, Curry was out for medical reasons. With 78 games remaining.

Management and coaches immediately knew what was coming, that their hope for a bridge year -- with no realistic chance to win it all but the possibility of tested veterans Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and Curry introducing the playoffs to a gang of new faces -- would instead be a dreaded gap year.

The Warriors on Thursday finally got the wish they’ve been so reluctant to share since the NBA was shut down on March 12 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league announced that Golden State’s season of aches, injuries, rehabs and despair is over.

The Warriors will not be among the 22 teams to go active when games resume July 31. The schedule is limited to teams sitting on a playoff berth or still with a chance of getting in. The Warriors were eliminated in their final game before the hiatus, a 131-107 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Chase Center, that left them with a 15-50 record that they truly earned.

“So,” general manager Bob Myers cracked to NBC Sports Bay Area recently, “I guess we got to see we’re not very good without Steph and Klay.”

Yet those 65 games provided Myers and his lieutenants in the front office a large sample size to evaluate the roster and devise a personnel plan. The Warriors know they need more size, better interior defense and, of course, more shooting.

It gave the expanded, 10-man coaching staff plenty of opportunities to teach and also learn. Indeed, for the first time since Steve Kerr’s initial season in 2014-15, the focus was on schemes and tutorials. Draymond was forced to become something of a player-coach, which he said raised his level of patience.

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

It was exceedingly valuable for rookies Eric Paschall and Jordan Poole to get far more playing time than they would have under normal conditions. Paschall was needed and he shuttled between both forward spots without embarrassing himself. Poole had enough time to lose his shot and realize what it would take to rediscover it.

Players like Poole and Paschall, as well as Andrew Wiggins and Marquese Chriss, who are expected to be in the rotation next season got a chance to soak in the culture and spoke highly of it.

“No matter what your record is, there's so many ways to steal the joy from a team,” Myers said. “There's ways to kind of make it feel a lot harder than it should. Steve does a great job of keeping things in perspective, keeping it light but also competitive.”

[RELATED: Steph took noteworthy knee in protesting police brutality]

The most important thing the Warriors can take from this season, though, is the mental and physical intermission afforded their three stars. That cannot be overstated.

Coming off five consecutive runs to The Finals, Curry, Green and Thompson never got much of a break. All three, even with Klay coming off an ACL tear, should be refreshed when the next season starts, probably in December. Given the tremendous energy Draymond must expend to be at his most effective, he probably needed more recovery than he is willing to admit.

The unspoken but prevailing sentiment beneath Warriors ownership was that the NBA would be wasting of a couple weeks on a team going nowhere.

The Warriors, knowing there was minimal chance they would return to finish the season, already had begun shifting toward 2020-21. Now, they can bury the season they want to forget and go full speed toward what they have reason to believe will be better days.

How Steph Curry's 2016 iconic game-winner vs. OKC changed perceptions

How Steph Curry's 2016 iconic game-winner vs. OKC changed perceptions

Editor's note: This week, we'll be rehashing some of the most iconic moments in Steph Curry's career. Tune in to "Curry Countdown" on Saturday, May 30 at 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area to relive all things Steph.

Oklahoma City is one of few remaining NBA arenas in which a few reporters sit courtside, between team benches. The view is spectacular, the sounds hilarious and on one occasion it put me within reach of a miracle.

On Feb. 27, 2016, I saw Stephen Curry fly into the sun and stay cool.

Curry and the defending champion Warriors came rolling into Chesapeake Energy Arena with a 52-5 record. Even though the Thunder (41-17) had lost three of four, their nucleus of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka was primed to pose problems.

It didn’t take long for the Warriors to realize that. Barely five minutes after tipoff, they were down 18-5. They missed seven of their first nine shots against a defense with three players boasting wingspans greater than 7 feet and a fourth at 6-foot-11.

“I remember the first quarter and how hard it was for us to get any space on offense to even get a shot,” recalls general manager Bob Myers, who was on a scouting trip. “I was thinking about how long and athletic they were defensively and thinking, ‘This team is going to be there at the end.’”

Sitting at center court, the home bench to my left and visitors to my right, the same thought entered my mind. The Warriors had the gaudy record, but OKC was bigger and longer and seemingly just as fast.

The Thunder also had Durant. At 6-foot-11 with the handle of a guard and deep shooting range, KD was the league’s most matchup-resistant player.

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

With 5:52 left in the second quarter and the Warriors trailing by 10 (40-30), Curry replaced Andre Iguodala. The Warriors hoped to get within single digits before halftime, and Steph complied. He drained three triples over the next 87 seconds. It’s now 42-41 OKC.

The Thunder responded, closing the quarter with a 15-5 run, taking a 57-46 lead into the locker room. While they strategized on ways to slow Curry (15 points), the Warriors were bickering. Loudly. Specifically, Draymond Green and coach Steve Kerr were at each other’s throats.

“I got phone calls about Steve and Draymond,” Myers said.

The Warriors opened the second half with six consecutive points, pulling within five, when disaster struck with 91 seconds into the quarter. Curry got a steal and raced into transition. Going airborne toward the rim, he landed on his left foot, which rolled hard under the right foot of Westbrook. After slamming into the stanchion, Steph immediately signaled for a teammate to commit a foul before rising and limping into the locker room.

“I got calls about Steph’s ankle,” Myers said. “Honestly, I was thinking he’d be done for that game.”

Watching the slow-motion replays, that was a reasonable conclusion. The sprain looked severe enough to miss a few games. At the least, we’ d seen the air come out of the Warriors’ chances.

The air returned with 5:10 left in the quarter. Curry was returning. Watching him check in a few feet away, I was stunned. He’d tested his ankle and persuaded the medical staff that he was OK. The sight of him going back onto the court sent a wave of anxiety through the arena.

By the final horn, that anxiety had turned into somber dejection.

Curry scored 46 points, 31 coming after halftime. He took 16 3-pointers, making 12, the last of which lives on as one of the most audacious, disrespectful heaves in NBA history.

Down 70-63 when Curry entered, the revivified Warriors took their first lead, 78-77, on a 3-ball by Steph less than four minutes after he reappeared. OKC didn’t blink, reeling off a 13-0 run and taking a 90-78 lead with 9:15 remaining.

Enter Klay Thompson and Iguodala. The Warriors closed with a 25-13 burst, with Klay scoring nine points and Andre draining two free throws with zeroes on the clock, forcing overtime.

OKC was up five (108-103) when Durant fouled out with 4:13 left in OT.

The Warriors seemed to sense vulnerability. With Curry scoring nine points and Thompson six, they pulled into a 118-118 tie with 29 seconds remaining. After an OKC timeout, the Thunder ran the clock to eight seconds before Westbrook missed a midrange jumper. Iguodala snatched the rebound and fed Curry, who went miracle.

Dribbling across the halfcourt line, Steph took two more steps and, to astonishment of the defense, gathered and launched in rhythm. Splash. Or, as ABC play-by-play voice Mike Breen said: “Bang! . . . Bang!”

A 35-foot game-winner on a shot only Curry saw coming.

“Steph’s shot was just . . . that was one of those moments that are just surreal. Just not real,” Myers said. “To pull up from there and end the game in that fashion was just unbelievable. I can’t imagine.

“That’s one of those games where, if you’re the opponent, you just shake your head and say, ‘That’s not fair. That’s just not right.’ It was so far away. There’s no bad defense. It was just . . . that’s ridiculous.”

Curry, now more than an hour after limping off the court, celebrated. The Warriors rejoiced. The Thunder slumped, and their dazed fans slowly began ambling out of the building.

Best regular-season game I’ve even seen. And, in 35 years covering sports, game circumstances and Curry’s ankle considered, No. 1 on the list of shocking comebacks.

[RELATED: What Myers learned this season]

Watching from a few feet away as Steph pulled up, I had two thoughts. From way out there? What is he doing?

“There’s a lot of ‘What’s he doing?’ with Steph, and he makes them,” Myers said. “So, we should probably stop saying that.”

Haven’t done it since.