Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith
When visiting media come to town, they tend to have the same three questions:
1) What is it like going from the Finals to the basement?
2) How are the coaches and the veterans leading the team through this tough, injury-prone season?
3) Is this surreal for Steve Kerr specifically, given all the success he has known as a player and coach in his career?
The questions are repetitive, but Steve tackles them graciously. Here’s what he explained at the last game: “The point of the season for us is to develop our young players.”
It’s possible to want to win and demand the best from yourself, while understanding the realities of what you’re facing. Yes, the Warriors want to flush certain results, but the season itself is not in the trash can. It means something for growth.
I can already hear the top question for next year: “How did the struggles in 2019-20 strengthen or recalibrate the team for another playoff run?
Via IG, trey5fanpage says, Please talk about D’Angelo in the next mailbag. Looks like he’s a good teammate and has stood up for most of the games. Would love to know more about him if you can share!
When D’Angelo Russell was injured, I kept an eye on him when I was around the bench.
I noticed during timeouts, he typically would offer a teammate some observations or pay attention to what a coach was saying. He’s engaged, and let’s be honest, doing that for every game -- especially when you’re injured -- is not easy. I wouldn’t fault anyone for a spacing out a little when they’re not playing. D’Angelo doesn’t space out.
On the floor, I hear him talking. He brings energy and encouragement.
I see him taking his time with the Warriors seriously. This is year one for him, and he’s a positive teammate. He wants to lead the team on the court, because they need him. He’s young at 23 years old, but he’s putting the responsibility on his shoulders because this team needs someone to be a consistent scorer or a “big moment” guy.
He had a big moment bucket on Wednesday to send the Warriors and Knicks to overtime.
@30crossesFC Will Draymond be cleared off his 27-minute restriction and more DNPs?
@JavyBaez_curry Why Draymond minutes under 30?
As things start to normalize for the players returning from injuries, the coaches will figure out what makes sense for Draymond’s minutes.
The Warriors want to win. Draymond is always a part of that effort. He played 39 minutes against the Knicks and notched a triple-double.
The team also is smart about what this season is. Draymond typically will rest on back-to-backs. Steph and Klay are forced to rest because of their injuries, but Draymond played in the Finals for five consecutive years as they did. He needs rest, too. There’s no point in running him into the ground.
The Warriors will be careful about preserving Draymond’s body and mind for things on the horizon.
@FirmanWinardi Are we keep fighting for 8th spot? There are 60 games to play, being .500 team is good enough?
To be fair, this question came in after the Warriors beat the Bulls. The Warriors returned home feeling good with the Grizzles and Knicks next on the schedule -- two winnable games. The idea that the Dubs could build a little three-game winning streak as they got healthier was fun to think about.
That’s not what happened. The Dubs lost both games to fall to 5-21 on the season, the worst record in the NBA.
To reach .500 with a total of 41 wins, the Warriors need to win 36 out of the remaining 56 games. That’s highly unlikely.
@chauzer1234 What's the right etiquette for getting an autograph?
What a great question, and one I haven’t seen before! You can maximize your chances of getting an autograph by anticipating when and where it would be easiest for a player.
At the game, go to the tunnel the players use to get on and off the court. They will not stop to sign anything as they come on the court for warmups. But they will sign as they come off the court and go to the locker room. This time is your best chance.
Have a sharpie in your hand, uncapped, and the item you want to be signed easily accessible.
Players don’t sign things coming on or off the court at halftime. It's hard to predict if they’ll stop to sign something postgame.
At team hotels, consider trying to catch a player when they’re coming back from practice or a game, instead of when they're getting on the bus to go to those things.
The most important thing is: BE POLITE.
Children have a better chance for autographs than adults. Do not push kids out of the way. If your kid is trying for an autograph, have them shout “Mr. Curry!” instead of “STEPH STEPH STEPH STEPH!!!!” Players aren’t used to “mister” and it makes them pause. They can cut through the noise this way.
Remember to say thank you.
@irenealcachupas When will Klay and Steph comeback??? We really miss the Splash Brothers!!!! #askKerith
Steve Kerr said at the beginning of the season it is unlikely Klay plays this season. Don’t plan on seeing him.
Steph recently had some pins removed from his broken hand. Expect an update on his status in early February.
I’m hearing some rumblings we might see Klay or Steph back on a game-day broadcast soon. Remember, Klay nailed his night as a reporter, and Steph joined NBC Sports Bay Area’s pregame and postgame shows. Shhhhh, we’ll see.
Via IG, @pamg_fitness says, The Warriors played at Oracle for 47 years. Why didn’t they ever wear “Oakland” on their jerseys? I understand “The Town” signifies Oakland, but they were at Chase Center one week and wore San Francisco jerseys. The also have “The City” which signifies San Francisco.
This team has never been known as the Oakland Warriors. But they were the San Francisco Warriors from 1961-1972.
Some people are curious why the Warriors wore “San Francisco” on their chests this season, and whether that has anything to do with the move to the Chase Center. Nope. It’s simply a throwback jersey. The Golden State Warriors belong to the Bay Area, not one city.
This week’s High Five goes to Gary Payton for a great conversation on the Runnin’ Plays podcast. Find it here, or on Spotify or iTunes.
Gary told me about his love for the 49ers, growing up in East Oakland and what his dad did to protect kids in the neighborhood, which point guards he enjoys watching today, why he believes it’s okay to “go there” if you’re trash-talking on the court -- yes, even someone’s mama is fair game -- and why he’ll do whatever it takes to bring an NBA team back to Seattle.
This podcast was a ride. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.