Sunday, Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies will take the floor in Salt Lake City against the Jazz in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Golden State Warriors will be watching the games on television at home for the second straight year.
Curry and Green are still trying to process the end of a season that saw the Warriors enter the Play-In Tournament needing to win just one of two games, then losing in the final minutes to both the Lakers and the Grizzlies.
“I have no idea,” Curry told reporters about how he was processing all this, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “This is very unfamiliar territory, obviously with the play-in and this being the end of the season. Very tough way to end it with these two games coming down to the wire and us giving it everything we had in the tank. Proud of every single person in the Oakland uniform tonight and all season…
“From 15 wins last year and injuries and all that to what we made out of this year, pretty damn impressive,” Curry said. “It’s a very tough way to go out. We would love to be playing on Sunday, but we can’t lose sight of the big picture in terms of where people had us at the beginning of the season, what we were dealt with in injuries, youth, inexperience, lineup changes all year. And we’re two fourth quarters away from being a seventh or eighth seed. So it’s weird, all the way around.”
The conventional wisdom around the Warriors is that next season they will get a healthy Klay Thompson back, James Wiseman will both get healthy and stop playing like a lost rookie on defense, and this team will be ready to take a step back to at or near the top of the West.
Green thinks the Warriors have a longer road than many suggest. Via Nick Friedell of ESPN.
“We’re not in the playoffs, so we’re a ways away,” Green said… “I may go to Mexico or something [Saturday], but that’s not a gym. That’s not to an arena. That’s not flying to Utah, so we got a ways to go because we’re not in the playoffs — so we’re far away. Because in order to win a championship, you got to be in the playoffs. So we’re clearly a ways away — a few tweaks here and there, and we’re not that far. But right now we’re a ways away because we’re not in the playoffs.”
The Warriors have the tools to make some roster changes this offseason if they wish. If Minnesota’s draft pick falls outside the top three, it belongs to the Warriors — a potentially very valuable trade chip, or it gives Golden State the chance to draft another young potential star to pair with Wiseman. There are also contract decisions to be made about free agents Kelly Oubre and Kent Bazemore, and then there is the potential contract extension for Curry.
It’s a big offseason for the Warriors, one that could land them back near the top of the West if things go well.
But first, they are all trying to process the sudden end to their season.