When the Warriors gather at the San Francisco hotel Monday for a 48-hour quarantine prior to their voluntary minicamp that begins Wednesday, there will be no need for sedatives.
It’s a no-pressure environment, says coach Steve Kerr. Just getting the guys together for a team retreat. They’ll hang out, share a few laughs, talk some hoop and watch the NBA playoffs.
“I don't want this to seem anything like a competition for next year or anything like that, because it's not,” Kerr tells NBC Sports Bay Area. “Next year is a ways off, so what I’m interested in is guys making improvement individually in the areas that we've identified where they can improve, and to play together as a group.
“Tell me when next season starts, you know? That's when we’ll have a camp and that'll be when there will be time to compete for jobs and everything else.”
Kerr’s description explains why neither Steph Curry nor Draymond Green are expected to participate, though both are welcome.
Although this is only a rehearsal for that camp, there will be basketball, including some 5-on-5 action. Here are four questions the coaching staff would like to see answered in the positive:
How does Klay look?
It was 15 months ago, in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, that Klay Thompson sat on the court at Oracle Arena clutching his left knee. He was diagnosed with a torn ACL, underwent surgery a few weeks later and missed all of the truncated 2019-20 season.
By December, five months after surgery, Thompson was launching jumpers in individual sessions on the practice court inside Chase Center. By February, he was making a habit of taking jumpers on the same court. Looking good, we might add.
For the last six months, though, updates have come from various sources, including Klay’s father, Mychal, as well as Kerr, who observed a workout in Southern California. Every report, and every rumor, has been encouraging.
He’ll practice without restrictions. He’ll participate in 5-on-5 drills. He’ll probably shine. But an air of mystery remains until he actually takes the court and looks like Klay.
Will Wiggins provide glimpse of gusto?
Andrew Wiggins became a Warrior last February and generally acquitted himself nicely in 12 games with his new team. Feeling his way around teammates with which he’d never shared a court, the most visible signs of tentativeness came on defense. That’s to be expected.
Wiggins enters Chase Center this week wearing expectations. He need not be a star; he’ll never be Kevin Durant. But it is fair to think he can be at least as impactful as the guy KD replaced.
Umm, remember Harrison Barnes? He was a solid Warrior for four seasons, showing signs of improvement each year. That should be the floor for Wiggins.
Updates of Wiggins’ offseason work, some of which was posted to video, have been positive. His 3-ball looks nice. His bounce is good. This minicamp is his first opportunity to, along with Thompson, set an example. It’s good time for everyone to see habits that convey desire.
Does 'Loon look ready to ball?
Of the many questions that will follow the Warriors into their next season, the health of Kevon Looney will be close to the top. He has shown the ability to make a difference when not forced to the sideline by injury.
Reports indicate Looney, limited to 262 minutes in the 2019-20 season with a neuropathy related to a core muscle injury, is recovered from surgery in May to repair that condition. He has endured this, along with surgery on both hips, as well as occasional discomfort in his hamstrings. The Warriors last year were quietly worried that his career might be in jeopardy.
Looney reportedly resumed workouts in July, but additional updates have been rare and mostly unverifiable. He has kept an exceedingly low profile. The Warriors would love to see the big man looking sharp and robust. He’s 24 years old. It only seems he is older.'
Are we ready to be fitness freaks?
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant isolation has created an opportunity for everyone to test their self-discipline. Comfort food, or Peloton? Pour a glass of wine, or reach for the dumbbells? Sit and ponder the challenges of the world, or study video?
The Miami Heat, making a semi-surprising run at the NBA Finals, are widely considered the fittest team in the NBA. It helps to be in the tropical humidity of Miami, but superb conditioning might be essential to impressing the godfather, franchise architect Pat Riley.
The Warriors don’t have a Pat Riley. But they can, with Kerr always stressing a fast pace, take cues from the Heat’s devotion to fitness. So, of course, can most NBA teams.