Nine must-see Warriors games on 2019-20 schedule besides Opening Night

Nine must-see Warriors games on 2019-20 schedule besides Opening Night

The NBA released its 2019-20 schedule Monday, and the league is wasting no time thrusting Chase Center under the spotlight. It is safe to presume the Warriors are delighted.

There are no fewer than 10 must-see games for Warriors fans, beginning with the regular-season opener at Chase, set for Thursday, Oct. 24, against the remodeled and much-improved Los Angeles Clippers -- perhaps the most discussed team in the NBA.

With All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joining the team that took the Warriors to six games in the 2019 playoffs, consider the Warriors-Clippers rivalry revived, only without the mutual animosity.

Here are nine more games, in chronological order, that deserve special attention:

Nov. 6: Warriors at Rockets

Is Rockets general manager Daryl Morey still obsessed with the Warriors? Is he still angry with Steph Curry’s remorseless dispatching of his team again, forcing a third retooling of the roster? Will Russell Westbrook and James Harden still love each other two weeks into the season?

Nov. 13: Warriors at Lakers

This is, by all accounts, the season LA will snap its playoff drought at six years. LeBron James will be on a mission to prove Father Time is a myth. Good luck with that, even with the addition of the fabulous Anthony Davis. Consider this a three-week measurement of each team.

Dec. 20: Pelicans at Warriors

Zion Time. Get a glimpse -- he might be even better on the gigantic outdoor HD screen on the Chase Center plaza. Why wait until Christmas to open the biggest, most fascinating gift presented by the NBA since LeBron arrived 16 years ago?

Dec. 25: Rockets at Warriors

For the first time in five seasons, the Warriors will not play the marquee game on Marquee Day in the NBA. No matter. It’s the hated Rockets, and they’re making their initial journey to Chase. Know that Warriors co-chairman Peter Guber, who loves spectacle, will have something memorable beyond the game itself.

Jan. 8: Bucks at Warriors

Giannis Antetokounmpo makes his only visit to the Bay Area. If there’s one player who must be seen to be believed, he’s it. It won’t be easy for the rookies on the Warriors’ roster to keep their chins off their knees.

Feb. 8: Lakers at Warriors

The new Lakers’ first trip to Chase includes the return to the Bay of three ex-Warriors: DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee and Quinn Cook. Is it too soon to expect Klay Thompson to be back?

March 7: 76ers at Warriors

It’s three weeks after All-Star Weekend, so it’s reasonable to believe Thompson could be back to face Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Al Horford, Tobias Harris, etc. Philly is loaded and expected to battle Milwaukee for Eastern Conference supremacy.

April 9: Warriors at Lakers

The Warriors would like to believe they will be fighting for a top-four playoff seed in the West. LA would like to believe it has a chance to snag the No. 1 seed. There could be serious playoff intensity in this game.

[RELATED: Warriors' preseason schedule includes four games vs. Lakers]

April 11: Warriors at Clippers

The Warriors will be coming off a Friday night in LA. No biggie, right? It’s the last Saturday of the regular season, and at least one team will have something at stake. May the key players for both teams be fully healthy.

Warriors' Klay Thompson will return 'late next season,' father Mychal says

Warriors' Klay Thompson will return 'late next season,' father Mychal says

There is not yet an official timeline for Klay Thompson’s return to the Warriors lineup, but his father provided a pretty good update the other day.

Mychal Thompson, who accompanied Klay out of Oracle Arena after the shooting guard sustained a torn ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of The Finals, indicated his son may be able to resume moderate basketball activities by the end of the calendar year.

“He’s walking normally and he’s very optimistic and enthusiastic about getting back late next season,” Thompson said on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Insider podcast.

“Once he gets back up to the bay and is around the team and he’s working out . . . he probably won’t be on the court doing fullcourt drills until late December or January. So, he’s got quite a ways to go. The main thing is to stay dedicated and diligent in your rehab and just continue to work hard and keep that motivation to get back on the court with his teammates.”

Thompson sustained the injury on June 13 and underwent surgery on July 2. With a typical recovery period falling anytime between six months and nine months, his father’s projection is within range.

Mychal even offered a comparison: Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who had surgery in February 2017. LaVine five months later (in July) announced himself ahead of schedule. Four months later, he was throwing down windmill dunks in full-contact practices.

When LaVine did not return until January, it was speculated that he could have come back sooner if the Bulls weren’t committed to tanking.

There is no questioning that LaVine aced his recovery.

“Modern medicine has advanced so much since 10, 15, 20 years ago,” Mychal Thompson said. “Guys come back from this injury and are normal. You can look at a bunch of players in the league now who have suffered that injury and have come back because they’ve dedicated themselves to their rehab. And they come back as if nothing ever happened.

“Doctors are so good now. Modern medicine is so good at repairing these athletes. That’s the way I talked to Klay. You’re going to be fine. Look at Zach LaVine. He had the same injury and is as bouncy as ever because guys like that work hard to come back. (Klay) will come back stronger than ever.”

Thompson’s injury led some to wonder if the Warriors might reduce the proposed max contract offer once he became a free agent. They didn’t. Thompson last month signed a five-year pact worth $190 million.

[RELATED: What attracted Warriors to D'Angelo]

“We never worried about that, because (Warriors CEO) Joe Lacob and management have been so loyal to their core players and what they have meant to that franchise,” Mychal Thompson said. “And with this injury, every doctor assured Klay and the Warriors that he was going to come back as good as ever.”

The Warriors would happily accept that and remain hopeful that Thompson will be able to return to game action sometime in February or March.

Why Bob Myers believes Warriors' title run felt like 'running five marathons'

Why Bob Myers believes Warriors' title run felt like 'running five marathons'

It's hard to blame the man.

After five consecutive runs to the NBA Finals, just about every member of the Warriors' organization was drained. General manager Bob Myers recently joined The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on his podcast, and went in-depth on the toll these seasons have taken.

“Thinking back to my state of mind, there's things I know. I was tired, I know that. Just the five years, I don't know how that plays with the audience and listeners and how to convey that appropriately, but internally, for those that work here, that was, we felt that.

“And not having time each offseason, leading right into the draft, leading right into free agency, I look at it as running five marathons back-to-back-to-back. And the fifth one, you're just like 'Can we cross the line?'”

Myers also constantly dealt with questions regarding the 2019 free agency period throughout the tail end of the season.

“I didn't have that kind of certainty that you intimated as far as did I know if Kevin was gonna go or stay. It was more of, 'There's a lot of work to do and a lot of unknowns’.”

[RELATED: Warriors projected to face Clippers in playoffs by ESPN real plus-minus]

KD’s departure put a bow on what was one of the most dominant three-year runs by a team in NBA history. Although the team salvaged All-Star D’Angelo Russell in the Durant sign-and-trade, the Dubs still enter 2020 with a litany of questions.

“I don't think it was a fear of what was upcoming, it was just more of, there's a lot of uncertainty.”