It’s tough to imagine a worse start to the 2019-20 season for the Warriors: Two blowout losses, then the Phoenix Suns embarrass the helpless Warriors Wednesday night at Chase.
And that was before Stephen Curry broke his left hand.
The one victory condition for Golden State (1-3) was always keep Curry healthy. Well that’s no longer the case, and the 121-110 worrisome loss to the Suns (3-2) morphed into a full-on panic about the rest of the season.
The team is already missing Kevon Looney indefinitely, with what they are describing as neuropathy, and Jacob Evans for at least three weeks with a left adductor strain. And don’t forget about Klay Thompson.
It’s been a disastrous stretch of injuries for this club, maybe the worst stretch that’s been seen in the NBA. Over their last six meaningful games, which means not counting preseason, the Warriors have endured significant injuries to Kevin Durant, Thompson and now Curry.
Steve Kerr didn’t have many answers after the game, as he was just told the news after the final buzzer:
“Obviously it’s been a tough start for us on many levels. We’re just trying to find our footing and obviously this puts us in a tough spot. So we’ll assess it and go from there.”
That leaves Draymond Green — who isn’t 100 percent after getting banged up in his first few games — as the only semi-healthy remnant of those dominant Warriors teams. And outside of his triple-double Monday against a short-handed Pelicans team, he hasn’t been good either.
D’Angelo Russell is the lone Warrior who can create any type of offense but hasn’t looked good in his new uniform — and has been abysmal on the defensive end.
He’ll get a lot of minutes on the ball as the only point guard really on this roster now, and he said that the team just has to look at this injury as an opportunity to step up:
“I mean it’s tough when you have a guy like that go down … but it forces guys to step up. We got a lot of young guys on the team that can get a lot of extra burn and extra opportunities.”
No one expected the Warriors to be title contenders, but they have looked like a bottom-eight team. And that squad just lost one of the best players in the league.
The future looks bleak.
The lone bright spot was probably Eric Paschall, who went for a career-high 20 points in a starting role and seemed like the only coherent NBA-level player on the court for most of the contest.
Kerr was impressed, but also knows this is a lot to ask of Paschall and Poole as rookies:
“It’s a great opportunity for these young guys to play, but it’s also a little bit too much. You want to bring along rookies as best you can and we are just putting so much on their plate, but we have no choice with all the injuries.”
Looking for bright spots amid blowouts isn’t a mindset newer Warriors fans are used to, but it’s an all-too familiar feeling for longtime fans.
The Warriors have lost three games, not one of them close. That too may be a blessing, as it shows the Warriors need drastic changes on offense and defense. This isn’t something a tweak to their system can fix, they need an overhaul — especially with Curry out.
And the injury itself, while awful and depressing, may actually be a blessing. Now the Warriors can stop pretending that they were setting up to make a run in this year’s playoffs and go into full tank mode. Let Thompson sit out the year, have Curry take his time coming back, and rest Green as much as possible.
Not to mention it makes everyone forget how embarrassing it was that this Warriors team was down 43-14 after the first quarter to the Suns.
What their offense will look like without their rock is yet to be determined, would Steve Kerr abandon the motion offense and just give Russell 50 pick-and-rolls a game? He might have to in order to remain competitive—and honestly that probably still wouldn’t be enough.
Before the season, the Warriors talked about how they wanted to bring Oracle into Chase Center — they might have just gotten their wish. But it’s not the Oracle of recent memory, it’s the one they spent years trying to forget.
The good news for the Warriors is they only have a day to think about this beatdown before taking the court Friday. The bad news is it’s against the visiting San Antonio Spurs (3-0).
Willie Cauley-Stein and Alec Burks both made their season debuts for the Warriors, who are in desperate need of reinforcements. Cauley-Stein had 12 points and five rebounds in 12 minutes, while Burks scored seven points in his 18. Both are going to be key players, especially with all the injuries.