Warriors

NBA draft lottery 2019: Warriors fans hope Knicks don't get No. 1 pick

NBA draft lottery 2019: Warriors fans hope Knicks don't get No. 1 pick

The Warriors and their fans likely have all their attention on Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, which will take place Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

While the chase for a third consecutive title rightfully should be at the forefront of everyone's mind, the event that precedes Game 1 -- the NBA Draft Lottery -- has more intrigue for the Warriors this season than in year's past.

The 14 teams who missed the playoffs will hold their breath Tuesday night in the hope that the ping pong balls land in their favor so they can select Duke phenom Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick.

While the Warriors and their fans normally could care less who lands the next generational star, they should absolutely be tuned in Tuesday night. 

Why would Warriors fans care if Williamson goes to Phoenix, Chicago, Cleveland or New York? Well, that last city creates some issues for the Dubs if the Knicks end up lucky Tuesday night. 

The Knicks tanked all the way to the bottom of the NBA this season, finishing with a 17-65 record on their way to a 14 percent chance at winning the Zion sweepstakes.

While many assume that landing the No. 1 pick would make Williamson a foundational piece of the Knicks' future, that apparently might not be the thinking in Manhattan.

Should the Knicks land the top pick, they will turn their attention to packaging the Zion pick along with Kevin Knox in a trade for Anthony Davis, Stadium's Shams Charania reported Tuesday.

The Knicks acquiring Davis would be a big issue for the Warriors.

New York's plan has been clear for quite some time. After acquiring the No. 1 overall pick and the de facto rights to Williamson, they'll trade the pick for Davis and have the first piece in what they hope is a Big Three made up of Davis, Kyrie Irving and, you guessed it, Kevin Durant.

The possibility of Durant joining the Knicks has hovered over the Warriors all season, but it always seemed like a far-fetched idea that Durant would leave the greatest collection of talent in NBA history to play with a bunch of role players in New York. Of course, reports that Irving wanted to join him in New York made it more likely, but even with Durant and Irving in the fold, New York might not be a team that can win a title. 

But if the Knicks are able to find a way to land Davis it could swing things in the Knicks' favor as it pertains to Durant.

Should Durant return from his right calf strain and help the Warriors win a third straight title, he'll have accomplished everything he can in the Bay. Creating a superteam in New York with Irving and Davis would present a new challenge for the next chapter of Durant's career. 

[RELATED: Warriors-Blazers promises to bring fireworks in West finals]

So before the Dubs and Blazers face off in Game 1, Warriors fans might want to watch the lottery and hope everything doesn't come up Knicks for the first time in a long time.

NBA rumors: Warriors wouldn't have let Steph Curry play in Orlando

NBA rumors: Warriors wouldn't have let Steph Curry play in Orlando

The NBA reportedly is considering creating a second "bubble" in Chicago for the eight teams that were not included in the Orlando bubble as part of the league's expanded playoff format. Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Thursday that Golden State potentially would participate, despite coach Steve Kerr previously insisting that the Dubs would not be interested in such a setup.

It remains to be seen if the second bubble will actually take place, but even if it does, it sure seems like you won't be seeing Steph Curry play in it. ESPN's Jackie MacMullan reported he wouldn't have played in Orlando had the Warriors qualified, and it begs the question as to why Chicago would be any different.

"I was told unequivocally by people at Golden State," MacMullan said Thursday on the "Hoop Collective" podcast, "if Golden State came back (to play in Orlando) they weren't gonna let Steph Curry step foot on the floor."

"The reason they were worried about Steph Curry," MacMullan added, "was because they didn't feel that he had played enough to come back."

So, there you have it. The Warriors arguably would have very little to gain from participating in the Chicago bubble, and given that there is no championship at stake -- like there is in Orlando -- Golden State doesn't have much motivation to send its star veteran players, especially those that are returning from injury.

Curry played in precisely one of the Warriors' final 61 games before the season was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic after returning from a broken wrist. And if he isn't going to play, you can bet Klay Thompson -- who would be returning from a torn ACL -- won't either.

[RELATED: Stephen A believes Warriors will return to title contention]

Draymond Green previously said that he would have played in Orlando, but if the Splash Brothers are out, why would Golden State risk the health of the other remaining piece of its championship core?

The Warriors need to find a way to stay in basketball shape and continue developing chemistry over what is going to be an extremely long layoff before the start of next season. But if Curry, Thompson and Green aren't involved, then that kind of ruins the whole point.

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

Warriors would gain little partaking in NBA's proposed 'second bubble'

Warriors would gain little partaking in NBA's proposed 'second bubble'

Insofar as the Warriors run a fairly democratic operation, with each player having a voice and the core veterans operating as advisers to head coach Steve Kerr, an invitation to become part of a proposed but not approved second NBA “bubble” presents a dilemma.

If mandated by the NBA, they’ll go, whether it’s Chicago or Las Vegas or another site. That the vets – Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson -- would not be expected to play makes the team’s participation cursory, if not downright pointless.

Yet general manager Bob Myers recently said the Warriors would be “team players” and, in the end, do whatever is best for the league.

“You have to take a step back and say, ‘We’re going to be good partners,’” he said in a phone conversation. “We’re going to do what’s best for the league in a difficult environment.”

Understand, the Warriors don’t want to be there -- and why should they? Their 2019-20 season is over, and there is no definitive start date for 2020-2021. They’d be scrimmaging, at potentially increased risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19), with the crew that absorbed most of the minutes last season.

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

Which brings us to their real desire. They want to gather as a group before the next training camp, currently penciled in for November. Kerr told me a few weeks ago that he “wouldn’t mind” getting his team together for what amounts to a minicamp in the middle of an offseason extended by the pandemic.

Coaches want it, and so do the players. They all would like the experience of playing with each other, which didn’t exist last season. Thompson missed the entire season, and Curry played four games, only one with Andrew Wiggins, who came over in a February trade.

Ideally, that would occur at Chase Center, which has opened for individual activities with attendance limitations but remains suspended for full team activities.

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Should the day come when the current restrictions are relaxed, expect the Warriors to identify a week to get everyone inside. Get Thompson on the floor with Wiggins and others, scrimmaging together for the first time. Evaluate how Curry and Green have responded to the long layoff.

That would be productive, as well as their first blowout activity since early March.

Going into a second bubble, with a stripped-down squad, confined to a hotel for a week or two, is something the Warriors are willing to do. Willing, but hardly eager and barely engaged.