Five predictions for remainder of Warriors' season after dismal start


Five predictions for remainder of Warriors' season after dismal start

By all accounts, this season has been a disaster for the Warriors. One year ago the Dubs were ramping up for the start of 2019 and an eventual shot at the NBA championship, and now they are fast-tracking for a shot at the first overall pick.

But will they actually get it?

Here are some predictions for the rest of the 2019-20 season.

Warriors finish with the fifth-worst record in the NBA

Currently, the Warriors have the second-worst record in the league. But as the team has grown healthier, they are starting to play their best basketball of the season and should only get better as the young squad gains more experience.

The probable return of Steph Curry also should propel the team to a few more victories, and if Klay Thompson is able to play for a couple of weeks at the end of the season, more Ws could be on the way.

On the flip side, the Warriors likely will trade some key players soon, that should set them back a bit and perhaps sink them even lower. And yet, other bottom-feeder teams likely will trade pieces away as well, sinking their win totals lower.

Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III are traded

If the season were headed in any direction other than a complete meltdown, Burks and GR3 would assuredly be part of the rotation for the rest of the season. In fact, there would be a good chance the Warriors would try to re-sign both players for next year, as well.

However, the reality of the situation is the Warriors are not good, both Burks and Robinson are free agents once the season ends and the two wings have played so well this season that they both should demand more money than the Warriors can probably afford in the offseason (unless they use the taxpayer mid-level exception on either of them, which the front office most likely will try to use for a player that is even more impactful).

It is unclear what the Warriors could get back for either player, but at the very least, it would open up roster spots for Damion Lee and Ky Bowman to continue their development in the NBA.

Draymond finishes with best 3-point percentage since 2015-16

The bar is set pretty low for Green to beat his 3-point percentage from his last four seasons. He has not shot better than 30.8 percent since he shot nearly 39 percent during the 2015-16 campaign.

He started very poorly from deep this season but has made multiple triples in four consecutive games, shooting 40 percent in those contests and raising his overall long-range percentage to 29.7 overall. He is a streaky shooter and undoubtedly will go through cold spells again. But if he can maintain even a modest consistency from deep the rest of the way, he should push his 3-point percentage at least one point higher than it currently stands.

Jordan Poole returns to NBA, shoots over 33 percent from deep

The first-round draft pick was having a rough season shooting the ball before being sent down to the G League. Poole made only 24.2 percent of his 3-point shots and struggled mightily to find his stroke.

The Warriors sent Poole down to Santa Cruz to help him find his confidence again, and he already has shown signs of finding his groove. He eventually will return to the big squad, and when he does, he should be more selective with his shot attempts and fire away with his regrown confidence. Shooting 33 percent from deep the rest of the way is not anything to write home about, but it is a clear improvement from his poor start.

Eric Paschall lands on the All-Rookie First-team

It has been a rough last month for Paschall. Dealing with multiple injuries and perhaps some expected fatigue, the second-round draft pick has shot 39 percent from the field and has scored just six points per game over a span of eight contests dating back to Dec. 6.

Once Paschall is able to get healthy again, trades of Burks and Robinson should free up more scoring opportunities and a probable reinsertion back into the starting lineup. If he can maintain his current scoring average of about 14 points per game, while raising his overall shooting percentage back above 50 percent, then an All-Rookie First-Team honor should be lined up for Paschall.

One thing Steve Kerr, Warriors always looking for when building roster

One thing Steve Kerr, Warriors always looking for when building roster

Everything with the NBA is up in the air right now.

But for the sake of this exercise, let's assume that at some point this summer or fall we have the NBA draft and free agency opens.

The Warriors have a lot of tools at their disposal to improve the roster and will be aggressive in doing so.

"The one thing we're always focused on is two-way players regardless of position," coach Steve Kerr told Warriors TV play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald. "The league largely has become position-less. You've got point guards and centers and then a whole bunch of guys like Andre Iguodala or Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard -- whoever you want to say.

"Somebody who can shoot 3s, who can guard multiple spots, can handle the ball, make decisions -- the more of those guys on your roster, the better. Multi-skilled, versatile players with size."

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So if you're a Warriors fan and you're thinking about which draft prospects and/or free agents the franchise will target, keep Kerr's comments in mind.

[RELATED: Dubs' Paschall explains his great chemistry with Draymond]

He and general manager Bob Myers repeatedly over the years have discussed their desire to add guys who value both ends of the floor.

"You got to take the best guys available with an eye towards versatility because that's where the game is headed," Kerr added.

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Zaza Pachulia still in awe of 2016-17 Warriors' unquestioned greatness

Zaza Pachulia still in awe of 2016-17 Warriors' unquestioned greatness

Listening to and watching the likes of Stephen Curry , Steve Kerr and Zaza Pachulia lately, it’s as if Warriors of present and recent past are only now grasping that their dream was reality.

Which makes sense. When could they have savored the past five years? They’ve been too busy with nine-month seasons and nine-day summers to fully grasp the magnitude of their accomplishments.

Now, with routine activities on pause, it’s floating into their hearts and minds. They’re filling the void by looking back, and what they see is blowing their minds.

You see Curry and Chris Paul looking back on that night in 2015 when Steph put CP on skates and dropped him on the Staples Center floor. They’re laughing about it now, but that play was Curry planting a Warriors flag as his team was taking ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

You listen as Pachulia waxes euphoric about the days when he was the custodian for Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Curry. And getting nostalgic about the games, the postgames and the camaraderie, especially in 2016-17, when KD arrived.

“Even watching teams now,” Pachulia told NBC Sports Bay Area, “I don’t see any teams -- even us -- but none of the 30 teams are even close to what was going on with the 2016-17 team.”

That squad took an absolute thrashing from the Spurs on opening night, 129-100, at home. The Warriors regrouped and won 16 of their next 17. They were 50-9 before they lost back-to-back games. They had a 14-game win streak, a 12-game win streak and two seven-game streaks.

They were 67-15, all while treating the regular season as a rehearsal for the postseason, which they opened with a 15-game win streak.

“This might sound selfish,” Zaza said. “But the atmosphere and energy and chemistry, the type of basketball we played ... I don’t think we’re going see anything like that in the near future.

“And I’m not even talking about the talent. Do we need to talk about talent? It was crazy. Crazy. Listen, in the parking at our facility, on my right side was KD and on my left side was Steph. It was amazing. It’s still amazing.”

You hear Kerr recalling plays and games and moments that deserve a chapter in a book.

“When you just go back and think about the games, or watch individual games, it’s amazing how great that team was,” Kerr said recently. “And how well they played together even through the different personnel changes.”

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These guys never get tired of reliving it because they haven’t relived it enough to get tired of it.

There will be, someday, a documentary about the Warriors from 2014-2019. Has to be, considering the collection of talent, the high highs and low lows, the infighting they attributed to being family members seeking the best of each other.

Remember when Klay described these matters as “little bickerments?” Defined, in short, as a disagreement that exceeds the baseline for bickering but fails to reach the level of argument.

The calmest people in the room under those circumstances were Klay and Zaza, the buddies who perfectly centered that vast space between comatose and excitable.

And now Zaza is talking about the team dinners. Family, again. And the party that Curry hosted that led to the famous aerial team photo with the Super Villains backdrop. Everybody was glancing up except Klay, who was checking his phone.

“We had a picture taken by a drone!” Pachulia recalled. “We wanted to make sure everybody was in it, but it was hard with so many tall people to make everybody visible from a straight angle. So, we decided to fly the drone and took the picture that way.”

[RELATED: Why Steph-KD Warriors were Bay's best dynasty]

Those Warriors were young. Winning was fresh. Losing, particularly the 2016 Finals, gave them white-hot incentive. Their response was a season for the ages, one that belongs in the conversation with such fabled clubs as the ’27 New York Yankees, ’72 Miami Dolphins and ’85  Chicago Bears.

“Now that I have so much time, I’m able to look at so much of it,” Pachulia said. “Are you kidding me? I’m enjoying every box-out, and every screen. This is the best thing I could have done for this team, set screens for these amazing shooters. We’re winning. We’re destroying everybody.

“But you actually had to be in the locker room to really understand all of what I mean. A lot of people might wonder what I’m talking about. But I’m telling you, with all the details, the small details, the big details, winning a championship, building relationships, friendships, caring about each other, enjoying it and having fun.

“Man, it was priceless.”