Warriors

Ask Kerith: How has Dubs' lack of size impacted playoff push?

Warriors
Looney and Draymond defending Jakob Poeltl
  • Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, takes you inside the team as only she can throughout the season with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #AskKerith

The Warriors are back at the .500 mark after taking care of business against the Houston Rockets on Saturday. Critical games in the Western Conference playoff race are coming up Monday and Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

But the one-two punch of the losses to the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves resulted in some wild questions in the mailbag this week. 

Just to note, this mailbag was filed before the Warriors provided their official injury update for Kelly Oubre Jr. 

Let’s jump in!

Nope. Bob Myers and Steve Kerr communicate well. They know the realities of injuries this season and the luxury tax.

With all the emphasis on making the most of the remaining time Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have together, why would the Warriors make a coaching change to throw things off? A new coach would mean a new system, plus the little culture changes that require a feeling-out period. Why should this trio have the patience for that while their clocks are ticking? 

No. Steph Curry is the face of this franchise. His play has not dipped with age. He is untouchable in trade talks. 

You’re not the only person wondering about this. @Drewatt on Instagram was curious too. 

The Warriors indicated the time for development was over once James Wiseman was hurt and Nico Mannion came out of the rotation. The push for the playoffs became the priority. The rotation shrank, and small ball was clicking. 

 

With the impressive seasons Steph and Draymond are having, I cannot imagine the conversation where Kerr tells them to throw in the towel early, it’s over. While they certainly understand the realities of the season on their own, their competitiveness and pride feed the desire to go as far as possible this season. 

RELATED: Draymond's immense pride lifts Warriors to much-needed win

Furthermore, getting to the playoffs is a form of development. It’s valuable for young players to see how to buckle down for the best seed possible, and then play at the highest level in the post season. There’s plenty to learn from watching. 

Jeremy Lin was a popular topic in the mailbag this week. @karlmatyu, @geoffbonn, and @UWaryr asked about him too.

When the Warriors shed salary by saying goodbye to Marquese Chriss and Brad Wanamaker before the NBA trade deadline, they signaled they’re interested in saving money, not adding people. The Warriors have two roster spots open after Gary Payton II’s 10-day stints concluded. Adding people is a summer plan. 

It seems they don’t want to pay Lin, because they’re hardly inclined to pay anyone right now. Lin’s veteran status in NBA means he’d cost more on a 10-day contract.

It’s also late in the season to add someone. Tossing in a new ingredient can harm as much as it helps. And would this short runway be fair to Lin to get up to NBA playoff speed to be a realistic contributor? Lin played nine G League games this season. That’s it. 

Lin is talented, no doubt. He has a lot of name recognition. But this isn’t 2012 Linsanity. The twists and turns of his career could mean resuming his NBA career is difficult. I love that he’s trying, and that he left the China Basketball Association where he was a rock star to try again at home. I’ll always cheer for a guy like that. 

What feels more likely for Lin is a training camp invite from the Warriors or another team next season. 

On Instagram, @_kicckksta said, “They clearly need help rebounding and defense after (the Timberwolves game). Why haven’t they pulled the trigger on signing some size for the rest of the year or even a ten day?

It’s clear the Warriors have a size issue, but the answer overlaps the Lin question. They don’t want to pay. 

Next season, the Warriors are essentially paying four max deals: Curry, Thompson, Green, and Wiggins. That’s a huge amount of money. Read more detail here about the staggering luxury tax the Warriors face.

Additionally, it’s hard to find someone worthwhile to add when 29 teams are looking at the same pool of players you are. The best guys have already been snapped up.

 

On Instagram, @warriors_analytics asked, “Could Oubre be a good fit for us when Klay comes back?

Yes, but I doubt Kelly Oubre Jr. is a Warrior next season. He’s an unrestricted free agent. It’s good business for him to test the market. And the Warriors might balk at the tax bill to keep him.  

Oubre has indicated he wants to be a starter. Klay’s return would push him to the bench. To me, this adds up to Oubre finding a home elsewhere. 

I’m not sure, but I like your thinking! The Warriors will have to consider what the NBA wants them to do with seating next season. If it’s 100 percent back to normal, the Dub Hub wall will revert to prime center court seats. 

The wall is an awesome tool for accessibility. For fans who have always wanted to feel close to the action (and see themselves on TV!), it’s been a fun opportunity. Fans who live far away, fans with sensory issues, fans with mobility issues ... the Dub Hub was a solution in more ways than one. 

RELATED: Steph flips script in searing third, burns Rockets

On Instagram, @timmers@em1 asked, With fans back at Chase, do you get to return to games anytime soon?

Thanks for asking this, I’m flattered fans want to see me in my usual role. I want to be back at games too!

NBA rules this season forbid reporters from being around players. I cannot access the sideline to do my reports or postgame interviews, because no one outside of the team and staff are allowed on the court. 

The pandemic is still happening, and I’ll continue to work from home. My workplace has been great about finding solutions during a strange year, and hopefully next season is a return to normal.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @KerithBurke, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.

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