The day the Warriors learned Klay Thompson tore his right Achilles and would require season-ending surgery before the season even began is one that both the team and fans alike would like to forget.
President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts joined Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike on the Warriors' broadcast in the second quarter of Golden State's matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, detailing what it was like to hear that news and how the Warriors' front office responded to it.
"I think we look back on those few hours when we learned of Klay Thompson’s Achilles injury and that really set the tone for us this season," Welts said. "There was a chance to retreat at that point, and the decision was full speed ahead."
Golden State stayed true to that decision, promptly selecting James Wiseman with the No. 2 overall draft pick. They also traded for Kelly Oubre Jr., sending two 2021 draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the 25-year-old.
While the Warriors' season has started off with a thud, both the front office and Steve Kerr have preached patience while the team configures their identity and individual players adapt to their roles. Golden State was bound to run into some trouble early on (and they definitely have), but that's hardly come as a surprise.
“That's what the early part of this season is going to be like, frankly,” Kerr said to Bay Area reporters after Saturday's practice. “It's going to be about taking some lumps and then refusing to give in, but rather take the lessons that we learned, work on those things and then come out and compete like crazy the next game and execute better.
“We’re going through this mini-dynamic of shifting on the fly, understanding what we can run, what we can do better and how to simplify things with new personnel on the floor,” Kerr added. “For a team that’s never been together before, it’s not an easy thing to do.”
Welts conceded, and offered up more optimism to Warriors fans.
"We have some incredible talent on this roster," he said. "We’ve got some young talent thanks to an amazing No. 2 pick in the draft. I think fans are really going to learn to love this team as we progress through the season."
Another season without Thompson obviously hurts, but for now, Warriors fans can take solace in the fact that the front office is committed to putting the best product forward until their star can return.