Even before the league went on a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Coach Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors already knew their fate in the 2019-20 NBA season. With some of their key players — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — unable to play due to injury, the Warriors have struggled to win games and became the first team to be eliminated in the playoff race in the Western Conference. As they hold one of the worst records in the league, it’s not surprising they weren’t invited to play out the remainder of the season in Orlando, Florida.
In a recent interview with Bills Simmons on The Ringer Podcast, Kerr discussed several topics, including Golden State’s non-inclusion in the Orlando bubble. At first, he said they didn’t feel any disappointment about not being invited. However, when the season officially restarted, the head coach admitted that it was “kind of painful” not to be able to join the others who are currently aiming to win the 2020 championship title.
“When the Orlando thing happened, I don’t think a lot of us were that disappointed to not be invited — especially Steph (Curry), Draymond (Green), Klay (Thompson),” Kerr said, as quoted by Essentially Sports. “The guys needed a rest. They just needed to getaway. But now that it’s going — I talked to Draymond about it — Draymond and I kind of both feel the same way, which is we kind of want to be there. We’re missing out. These games look fun. The NBA is doing a great job. The games are competitive. The players look great. To not be there actually is kind of painful.”
It’s hard to blame Kerr and the entire Warriors’ team for feeling that way. Before they became a lottery team, Golden State had been ruling the Western Conference for five consecutive years and brought home three Larry O’Brien Trophies. It’s definitely painful to see other teams play while knowing they have what it takes to win it all this year.
However, their non-inclusion in the season restart might be best for the Warriors, as it gave some of their core players more time to recover from their respective injuries. This will ensure they will be in better shape when they compete for the championship title again next year. Also, as one of the worst teams in the league, they have a strong chance of winning the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which they are expected to use in a blockbuster deal to acquire their fourth superstar this fall.