Restarting a dynasty never is easy, and the Warriors will face a host of new challenges next season as they look to return to greatness after a pause year at the bottom of the NBA.
Among the new set of obstacles for coach Steve Kerr is something he hasn't had to worry about in the past: managing Steph Curry's workload. As Curry enters his age 32 season, Kerr knows it will be the responsibility of the staff to make sure Curry isn't overworked during the season, suggesting the Warriors will implement a version of the Celtics' "KG Plan," which Boston used toward the end of Kevin Garnett's tenure.
“Now, (Curry’s) at the point where he’s been at the peak of his powers for the last couple of years,” Kerr said on The Athletic's "Hoops, Adjacent" podcast. “If anything, it’s on us to try to begin to manage his minutes. We’ve always been really blessed. We’ve been able to do that because of the talent on our team. We’ve never really run Steph into the ground. We don’t have as much depth as we once did. It’s on us as a coaching staff to make sure we get him his rest every night, and we’re not wearing him out.”
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For Garnett and the Celtics, that plan meant Garnett spending five minutes on the court and then five minutes on the bench. The Celtics tried to stick to that plan as diligently as possible during the 2011-12 season, but eventually, they needed Garnett to play more down the stretch and in the playoffs.
The Warriors' plan for Curry is unlikely to be as regimented as Garnett's was in 2012. As Kerr noted, the Warriors no longer have the depth they once did, so even more will be placed on the shoulders of Curry and Klay Thompson as they try to resurrect a dynasty that was brought down by injuries and exhaustion in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.
After playing just five games last season, Curry no doubt is chomping at the bit to return and prove that he and the Warriors should not be cast aside yet. Managing Curry's minutes will be important to keep him fresh for what the Warriors hope is an extended playoff run, but it's clear the Warriors will have to ask Curry to shoulder a heavier load in order to accomplish their goals next season.
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A critical offseason now faces the Warriors. After sinking to the bottom of the NBA, the Warriors will have a top-five draft pick and a $17.2 million trade exception to use to bolster the roster around Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.
Returning to the unprecedented level of greatness they once enjoyed is too much to ask of Curry and the Warriors. You don't simply absorb the massive blow of losing Durant and return to that level.
But the Warriors will return to the court rested and healthy in December when the next season is expected to begin, and they should automatically return to contender status atop a now loaded Western Conference.
Curry wants to prove that the Warriors dynasty isn't done. In order to do that, he'll have to carry a heavy load for a rebuilt Warriors team. For the Warriors to succeed in returning to the top of the NBA, it's important Kerr makes sure the two-time MVP isn't worn down by the weight he's asked to carry.