The Warriors had a much bigger number in the loss column this season than former assistant Luke Walton is used to seeing.
Golden State lost 37 combined regular-season and playoff games when Walton, now the Kings' head coach, was on Steve Kerr's staff from 2014 through 2016. The Warriors lost 50 this season, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012 as Klay Thompson rehabbed his torn ACL and Steph Curry missed all but five games with a broken hand.
Walton doesn't envision a repeat during the 2020-21 season, whenever it begins.
“I think having this unforced year off for them was probably good for them,” Walton said of the Warriors on the latest episode of the "Purple Talk" podcast. “You go to The Finals two straight times, three straight times, mentally and physically, it’s like impossible. They went five straight times.
"Big picture, it’s probably good that all of this happened at one time together so they can sit out.”
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Walton had a courtside seat for two of those runs before becoming the Los Angeles Lakers' head coach, and the Warriors played over half a season's worth of additional games -- 46, to be exact -- in those two postseasons alone. That number ballooned to 106 after Golden State lost to the Toronto Raptors in last year's NBA Finals.
Thompson (490), Green (476) and Curry (451) ranked first, second and fifth, respectively, in the NBA in total games played during the Warriors' dynastic run. Throw in USA Basketball trips for all three players, and that's a grind like few of their peers experienced.
A step back during the season was one thing, but a prolonged offseason might be another. Kerr and Green admitted earlier this week they feel like they're missing out by not being in the NBA bubble, as the Kings currently are in pursuit of a playoff spot. The Warriors haven't played since March, and they won't play in another competitive NBA game any sooner than December with the league's calendar upended by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Whenever the next season does start, Walton believes the Warriors will have no trouble returning to the rarefied air to which they've become so accustomed.
“Steve will have them ready to go,” Walton added. “I think knowing their players, they’ll be juiced and excited to show the world what they still have and they’ll probably add a pretty good draft pick in there as well.”