Another season in the books, but the real season is just about to start.
Despite winning 53 games this season, the Golden State Warriors have gone through their own shares of ups and downs, especially the past two or so months. The team did manage to build momentum going into the postseason, winning their final five games to secure the third seed in the West.
The Warriors will be matched up against the sixth seed Denver Nuggets. Steph Curry’s status remains up in the air, and Kerr did say the team really was not too sure yet at this point if he would be available to play on April 16.
That being said, the Warriors are somewhat at full strength sans James Wiseman. The team seems to have found a sense of rhythm and fluidity the past week or two as they head into the postseason.
Jordan Poole would like to see the Chase Center crowd to be the 16th player of the team starting this weekend.
“I need everyone to be loud, everyone to be standing up,” Poole tells NBC Sports Bay Area after the game. “Everyone to get their eight hours [sleep] the night before, so they can come and cheer their hearts out. Every game that we get at home because home court is such a big deal, and we’re excited to come and play in front of our home fans after two years of not being able to make the playoffs.”
Oracle Arena in Oakland has long been known to be one of the loudest and best fans in terms of passion through the years. When the team moved to Chase Center two years prior, losses were piling up because of injuries, thus it did not give the fans too much reason to sell out their arena and cheer loud for the team.
Warriors Manage to Finish Third Best Overall Despite Injury Adversity
After dominating the league and winning the Western Conference from 2015-19, the Warriors failed to qualify for the playoffs the last two seasons. In terms of injuries, the Warriors had quite good luck during their reign of dominance, but the principle of equilibrium took effect, and the team endured a string of bad luck since 2019.
In terms of injuries, this season was no different than the last two years.
Klay Thompson did not play his first game until January 9, 2021 against the Cavaliers. He had been out of commission for 941 days—spanning two and a half seasons—making his way back from ACL and Achilles injuries.
Draymond Green was out for 32 games due to a calf injury. The calf pain was later diagnosed that it was started from a disc injury in his lower back. Since then he has used the final batch of games to get back into game shape and seems to have rounded into form just as the playoffs begin.
Andre Iguodala missed his own chunk of time this season, but the team understands his presence on the floor is most beneficial during the postseason, when the games really matter. At his advanced age now, there was no reason to add unnecessary mileage to Iguodala during the dog days of the regular season.
Kevon Looney Hits Goal of Playing in All 82 Games
After April 10 win against the New Orleans Pelicans, Kevon Looney became the sole player on the Warriors to play in all 82 games of the grueling season. Right before the season, Looney had set a goal for himself to accomplish this incredible feat. The former UCLA Bruin has gone through his own sheer of injuries throughout his career, so this is quite an achievement for the big man.
Head coach Steve Kerr spoke with reporters after the game and talked about how proud he was with the accomplishment.
“It’s a huge deal for Loon,” Kerr says. “It’s a huge deal for me. It’s always an incredible badge of honor for a player to play 82 games, and as a coach, to be able to rely on somebody 82 times is amazing. But particularly for it to be Loon, given what he’s been through his career, this has just been a fantastic season and I’m thrilled for him.”
With the absence of Wiseman, Looney will be relied to play minutes at the five for the bulk of the time during the postseason. Green and Nemanja Bjelica will also help in that role, but expect Looney to be the main integral part in the middle.