After a stretch in which the Warriors played six games in nine days, several of the team's top players got a much-needed day off from practice Thursday.
“We have guys who are legitimately banged up right now. I think we just finished six games in nine days if I’m not mistaken," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Thursday. "Steph [Curry] didn’t practice today, Draymond [Green] didn’t practice, [Andrew Wiggins] Wiggs was limited in practice, Damion Lee is getting a workout now, he’s out for tomorrow but he’s starting to get on the floor a little bit. Eric Paschall practiced fully, so he will play, but there’s a lot of unknowns given how banged-up we are right now.”
The Warriors went 5-1 over that six-game stretch, solidifying the team's spot in the upcoming play-in tournament for the NBA playoffs.
Curry and Green played heavy minutes over those six games, and Kerr emphasized that the two veterans are feeling some wear-and-tear as the season comes to an end.
“Draymond’s knee and Steph’s tailbone is still a lingering concern," Kerr said. "So this was desperately needed having yesterday off and then today, without playing a game. He’s still wearing the padding, he still feels the soreness so it was good for him to get off his feet the last two days, hopefully he’ll be okay tomorrow.”
Wiggins, who has played in every Warriors game this season, sounds likely to get a night off when the Warriors take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. If the Memphis Grizzlies win Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings, the Warriors will be locked into a winner-take-all game Sunday with the Grizzlies at Chase Center for the eighth seed.
“His knee is sore, I can’t remember if it’s the right or the left. It’s been sore the past week or so, but he's just been an ironman this year, playing in every game," Kerr said. "It’d be nice to be able to give him a night off, and obviously, a lot of big games coming up and we’ll see what the training staff says tomorrow and what the circumstances are.”
Paschall hasn't played since April 2 as he dealt with a hip issue, but will be returning to the Warriors' frontcourt at a critical time. Even with the signing of Jordan Bell on Thursday, Paschall's presence still lightens the load for the team's big men, and he should see extensive minutes, especially if the Warriors opt to rest the top players.
Curry has played some of the best basketball of his NBA career in his 12th season and is on the verge of potentially winning his second career scoring title. Draymond is averaging a career-high in assists and continues to provide elite defense on a nightly basis.
The Warriors will need both at full strength for Thursday's pivotal matchup with the Grizzlies, which could be the difference between a chance at the seventh seed in the playoffs and being forced to win two games just to earn the eighth seed.