For once, the Warriors will want to listen to what Charles Barkley has to say.
The "Inside the NBA" analyst said on Friday's broadcast that he thinks Golden State will have a leg up on its competitors in 2020-21.
Why? Mostly because the Warriors aren't participating in the restarted NBA season.
"I think they're gonna have a huge advantage because they're gonna get rest and get Klay (Thompson) and Steph (Curry) back," Barkley said Friday, with Warriors star Draymond Green serving as a guest analyst alongside him. "(Andrew) Wiggins is gonna be there, they're gonna get a lottery pick. These other teams are gonna be tired. ... It's gonna be a quick turnaround, one way or the other.
"Even if [the NBA says] they're gonna move [the season] back, it's still gonna be a quick turnaround. I think [the Warriors] are gonna have a huge advantage going into next season."
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The Warriors were eliminated from playoff contention on March 10, a day before the NBA announced it was suspending the season due to the coronavirus. Golden State was 15-50 at the time, and thus wasn't among the 22 teams invited to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to jockey for position and play out the postseason.
Klay Thompson didn't play in a single game while rehabbing a torn ACL he sustained in the 2019 NBA Finals, and Steph Curry played in just five after he broke his hand on Oct. 30, 2019. Kevin Durant's departure last summer meant growing pains were a given for the 2019-20 season and Thompson's play was never a given, but few predicted the Warriors would need to roll with that many punches.
It's not all bad for the Warriors moving forward, as Barkley noted. Golden State is guaranteed a top-five pick, has a sizeable trade exception and should benefit from Curry, Green and Thompson getting much-needed rest. The trio isn't getting any younger after playing more games than just about anyone from 2014 to '19, but the Warriors are betting that February's trade for Wiggins and October's draft pick will inject some much-needed youth into the team.
Refreshed legs playing alongside younger ones could do wonders, especially because the Warriors' elite competitors will be playing well into the fall. Next season tentatively is scheduled to begin in December, and the Finals don't begin until Sept. 30. For reference, the Warriors opened the 2019-20 season over four months after bowing out to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Finals.
If the 2020 Finals go to a Game 7 on Oct. 13, this year's finalists could have fewer than two months in between starting the next season if it begins in December as targeted. The NBA reportedly could push back next season's start as late as March, but the Warriors will be refreshed regardless.
Will that all be enough to get the Warriors back to the Finals? A lot has to go Golden State's way this offseason, and the NBA still has a lot of hurdles to clear before next season takes shape let alone begins.
But it sure sounds like Charles Barkley thinks a jump-shooting team can win a championship. It might be time to check the skies for pigs and Hell for its temperature.