The 2019 season will be one of struggle and transition for the Golden State Warriors. From a larger point of view, it can become a blessing in disguise.
Brace yourself Golden State Warriors fans, the 2019 season very well won’t be pretty. Yes, the Warriors still have the likes of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on the court while Klay Thompson recovers from this ACL tear. Yes, D’Angelo Russell should help with the scoring load, coming off an all-star season.
The Western Conference has improved too much over the course of the summer, and there are a number of teams that on paper and via the eye test (so far this preseason) that are simply better than this Warriors roster currently. 2019 will be rough, and the truth that must be accepted is that the reality of missing the postseason is likely.
That may be a tough pill to swallow in Chase Center’s inaugural season, but could it actually be a blessing in disguise?
Granted, Klay Thompson rehabbing for a torn ACL is not a silver lining by any means. But after Steve Kerr‘s comments regarding his return status being up in the air this season, might it be best for him to actually sit out the entirety of this year? Even further, might it be beneficial for Stephen Curry and Draymond Green’s seasons to end in April, as opposed to scrapping for a playoff run?
The Warriors have made it to five straight NBA finals, which means that Golden State has played through the month of June five straight times. That extra mileage and wear and tear on the bodies of players adds up. Historically, Warriors players begin their offseason in June, their competitors have already enjoyed an additional month or two of rest and recovery.
With expectations drastically lowered, for now, it might be best if that scenario is reversed. While the other franchises battle in the postseason, Curry, Green, and especially Thompson can enjoy the extra time to rest and recover, and prepare for 2020 (when they can bounce back to legitimate contender status).
Additionally, with the 2020 Summer Olympics on the horizon, and the commitment from stars like Stephen Curry to participate, long-term health has to be taken into account. Why risk injury when a first-round exit seems likely, then add on more wear and tear during the Olympics in Tokyo, only to follow up with an ever-important 2020 season?
Of course, the state of the Warriors currently isn’t ideal (hard-capped, injured, young and inexperienced) but Golden State can work to build off of what they have as opposed to simply throwing away the season. If that means missing out on the postseason? Then so be it.
2019 isn’t a priority, 2020 and beyond is. Stay competitive, play hard, and seek incremental growth from the roster all around. And if missing the playoffs, and therefore an extra month or so of rest and recovery is the consolation, the Warriors should take it. Keep the eyes on the prize, and that goal is a strong 2020 season, where they’ll be back as contenders.