Warriors

Warriors' Klay Thompson 'crushed' to not play this season, Steve Kerr says

Warriors' Klay Thompson 'crushed' to not play this season, Steve Kerr says

It was a hard season for the Warriors. 

The five-time defending Western Conference champions were ravaged by injuries and roster turnover, causing them to sink to the bottom of the NBA. Steph Curry broke his hand in the fourth game of the season and played one game before the league went on its coronavirus hiatus.

Star backcourtmate Klay Thompson spent the entire season recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Missing the entire season was really difficult for Thompson, but coach Steve Kerr knows his talented guards will be all systems go whenever next season starts. 

“It’s been a really, really hard season for Klay,” Kerr told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “He loves to play basketball so much and just not being able to play has crushed him. And so he was, unlike Steph, over the last couple, few months, he hasn’t been around as often as Steph was. I was OK with that just because it was so frustrating for Klay just to be at practice watching and not really being able to do anything.

“Finally over the last few weeks he was able to start shooting with our guys, running through some drills and he was so happy to be out there. But for much of the season, it was just about getting away and not torturing himself by watching us play. He’s going to be so ready to play next year and so excited and the rehab is coming along really well, so I have no doubt that -- assuming everything starts in September and October like it usually does -- that Klay and Steph will be in great shape and ready to roll.”

The Warriors entered the hiatus with the NBA's worst record, giving them a good shot at landing the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. That pick -- whether the Warriors keep it or trade it for veteran help -- along with the returns of Thompson and Curry, the arrival of Andrew Wiggins and the emergence of Eric Paschall will give Kerr and the Warriors hope to return to title contention next season. 

[RELATED: Curry-Ionescu relationship good for basketball]

While Thompson undoubtedly has been gutted by not playing, he's handled the rehab year in typical Klay fashion. He rode the ferry into the city, sported a kimono, gave a speech welcoming Andre Iguodala back to the Bay, played sideline reporter for NBC Sports Bay Area and had his bulldog Rocco present at an autograph session. 

He even got in a shooting session in his full Warriors uniform, thanks to Zaza Pachulia. 

It has been a tough year for Thompson, but it's safe to say he'll be ready to go next season. 

What Warriors' Ron Adams believes is Alen Smailagic's best current skill

What Warriors' Ron Adams believes is Alen Smailagic's best current skill

During Alen Smailagic's rookie season with the Warriors, he showed flashes as to why Golden State traded two future second-round draft picks (2021 and 2023) to acquire him.

The No. 39 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft averaged 4.2 points and 1.9 rebounds in 9.9 minutes per game over 14 appearances.

"His best skill right now -- for a young guy, he's not afraid of the game," Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic last week. "He comes into the game and he's turned on. He makes some good plays.

"That was noticeable this year. His confidence, his savvy, whatever you want to call it. It was pretty impressive."

The 19-year-old has the utmost belief in himself, and doesn't shy away from the bright lights.

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

Smailagic believes he already belongs and can have a big impact on the game.

This is an important mindset to possess as it can help when things aren't going your way. And the reality is that Smailagic is far from a finished product.

"He has a ways to go," Adams said. "I think he made great strides this year. He would get in the game and the only thing he thought about was how (he was) going to get the ball into the hoop (laughter). He was just really intent on that. 

"He began to understand the game in a different way. He began to understand the game the way Steve (Kerr) likes the game to be played. I thought he improved defensively."

[RELATED: Draymond has eager student in Warriors rookie Smailagic]

It's possible that the 6-foot-10 Serbian is a consistent rotation player next season. The Warriors would be ecstatic if that comes to fruition.

But he might not have a significant role, and he could end up spending a decent amount of time in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

That is all to-be-determined.

"He's a young developing player," Adams said. "And when that's the case, you can never be surprised when things happen more quickly than you think they should in terms of development, and you can't be disappointed when they don't."

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How latest reported NBA schedule timeline could affect Warriors, draft

How latest reported NBA schedule timeline could affect Warriors, draft

The Warriors know they practically are guaranteed to land a top-five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Yet they still don't know when the draft -- originally scheduled for June 25 -- actually will take place.

But the latest intel from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is helping us narrow down the date.

The draft typically falls on the first Thursday after the scheduled date for Game 7 of the NBA Finals. So if we assume the league maintains that format, the Warriors could be making their selections on Oct. 15.

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

To reiterate, we are making an assumption here and it's possible the NBA doesn't follow its normal protocol during these very uncertain times. 

But as Woj writes:

The expectation is that the NBA draft and the opening of free agency would follow in sequential order in October, sources said.

[RELATED: Oturu could be what Warriors wanted out of Bell in NBA draft]

If we apply the same logic for the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery -- which was slated for May 19 -- you can expect it to be held in mid-September.

We might know all of the specifics as early as Thursday because that's when the NBA's Board of Governors is expected to vote on the NBA's return-to-play proposal.

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