Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is relishing his reunion with former team-mate Kevin Durant on the opening night of the 2020-21 NBA season.

The NBA announced its national TV schedule for the first three days of the season, with the Warriors-Brooklyn Nets clash part of a December 22 doubleheader also featuring defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers and city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers.

Durant – who won two championships and as many NBA Finals MVP awards in the Bay Area – is set to make his long-awaited debut for the Nets as he returns from an Achilles injury.

Former MVP Durant left the Warriors via free agency ahead of the 2019-20 season, but he missed last term through an Achilles injury sustained with Golden State in the 2019 Finals.

The Warriors will also face reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas Day and Curry told reporters on Wednesday: "It's exciting.

"Throw us right into the familiarity with K [Durant] but also with teams that are expected to be at the top of each conference, or the Eastern Conference.

"And then, we kind of get a good gauge of where we are right out the gate.

"We're going to have to play every team at some point. I know the excitement around the NBA being back and the Christmas Day slate and all that ... it's going to be dope."

Golden State – coming off a forgettable campaign – will be without star Klay Thompson again due to a ruptured Achilles, having missed the entire 2019-20 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

The Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals between 2015 and 2019, winning three titles, but slumped to a 15-50 record at the bottom of the Western Conference in 2019-20.

Curry's own injuries limited him to just five games last term and he added: "I've got to figure out what we're going to do in Milwaukee for Christmas.

"But other than that, it's going to be pretty awesome just to be playing basketball again. I'm excited, man, it's going to be here before you know it."

"Watching the bubble was weird," Curry said. "It was nice to be a fan for a little bit, but I definitely want to be playing competitive basketball and in games that matter."

LeBron James and defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers will face city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on the opening night of the 2020-21 NBA season.

The NBA announced its national TV schedule for the first three days of the season, with the Lakers-Clippers showdown part of a December 22 doubleheader.

The Lakers ended their 10-year wait for a title after topping the Miami Heat at Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic, though this season is set to be played in a non-bubble environment.

James – who has agreed a two-year, $85million contract extension with the Lakers – became the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP award for three different teams, having also been crowned Most Valuable Player with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Heat, as he celebrated a fourth championship.

Kevin Durant is set to make his long-awaited debut for the Brooklyn Nets in a mouth-watering opening-night reunion with the Golden State Warriors, where he won two championships and as many Finals MVP awards.

Durant left the Warriors via free agency ahead of the 2019-20 season but he missed last term as he recovered from an Achilles injury, while Steph Curry and Golden State will be without Klay Thompson due to a ruptured Achilles, having suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the 2019 Finals.

December 23 will see reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks face the Boston Celtics, while the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns go head-to-head.

Christmas Day will feature five games as NBA Finals participants the Miami Heat play the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers meet Luka Doncic's Mavericks, the Bucks do battle with the Warriors, first-year head coach Steve Nash and the Nets go up against the Celtics, while the Clippers will seek some sort of revenge against the Denver Nuggets.

The Clippers squandered a commanding lead in the Western Conference semi-finals as the Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series twice in the same postseason.

But a lot has changed for the Clippers, who parted ways with Doc Rivers and turned to championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue to deliver a maiden title to the franchise.

Former Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut has retired from professional basketball.

Bogut, 36, left the Sydney Kings in May and had hoped to play for Australia at the Tokyo Olympics, which have been pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the veteran, who was the top pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and won a championship with the Warriors in 2015, has decided to end his career.

"The decision that I made and where I will be signing for next season is absolutely nowhere. I'll be retiring from professional basketball, effective immediately," he said on his podcast, Rogue Bogues, on Tuesday.

"We're in late November, early December, I would've made this decision earlier if it wasn't for the postponement of the Olympics. I was hoping to get to 2020 Tokyo Games and then calling it a day after that, that would've been my fourth Olympics and selfishly obviously it would've been a great accolade to have four Olympic Games under your belt, but it's just not meant to be.

"I just can't physically and mentally get to 2021 with the way the body's been. I could, on a lot of painkillers and a lot of physical and mental anguish, but it's just not worth it at this point of my career.

"I'm really starting to value my health away from the court and my health when I'm 40 and 45 and 50. Some people might say it's just seven more months of training and commitments and I'm at a point where I just can't do it."

Drafted by the Bucks in 2005, Bogut spent seven seasons in Milwaukee before joining the Warriors in 2012.

Bogut helped the Warriors end a 40-year wait for an NBA championship with their success in 2015.

Spells with the Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers followed before Bogut signed with the Kings and was named the 2019 NBL MVP, while he also had another stint with the Warriors.

He finished his NBA career averaging 9.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 706 regular-season appearances.

Steph Curry insists the Golden State Warriors are ready to adapt to their new role "chasing" the Los Angeles Lakers despite Klay Thompson's latest season-ending injury.

The Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals between 2015 and 2019, winning three titles, but slumped to a 15-50 record at the bottom of the West in 2019-20.

Golden State lost Thompson and Kevin Durant to long-term setbacks in their Finals defeat the previous season, before the latter departed for the Brooklyn Nets.

Curry's own injuries limited him to just five games last term as Thompson sat out the entire season and the team suffered.

The Warriors were expected to return to contention this season, challenging the champion Lakers, but Thompson will again be absent due to a major Achilles blow.

Talk of writing off another campaign is premature, however, according to Curry.

The two-time MVP told ESPN's The Undefeated: "We've been waiting seven months to get back out there.

"Not seeing [Thompson] on the court, at first, is going to be weird. But I think we've done a really good job in the offseason with James [Wiseman, the second overall pick] and our draft picks and in the free agency pool to put together a really solid roster.

"We're going to have to learn a lot really quickly, and we will need a full commitment from everybody.

"We know we can compete with anyone in the league. It's kind of crazy. We know how great Klay is - don't get me wrong - but we hear the chatter. 'It's the end for us', 'This year is a wash', 'What are we going to do in the future?'.

"But we are in the moment right now.

"It's kind of refreshing being in that category as guys that are chasing. We know [the Lakers] are the defending champs. We've got to beat them. We're ready for it."

Curry described news of Thompson's new injury as "a gut punch, for sure" and said it prompted "a lot of tears".

But Golden State are hoping to eventually welcome back the five-time All-Star who Curry still considers the best shooting guard in the league.

"He can come back strong. He's a guy that loves the game so much," Curry said. "He is going to do whatever it takes to get back out there on the floor and be himself.

"That's what we hope and that's the confidence that we have. Two and a half years of rehab is tough for anybody. But we're hoping for the best."

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

 

  1. Batting clicked in Windies warm-up match

The three-day warm-up match between New Zealand A and West Indies at Queenstown ended in a draw on Sunday. Electing to bat first after winning the toss, New Zealand ‘A’ put up a dominant display of batting to post 308 for 3 declared in the first innings and then 124 for 1. The Windies scored 366 in what must be considered a commendable effort.

     The 112-run partnership between Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo helped bring the Windies compile a good score after opener John Campbell was bowled for 4.

Brathwaite went on to score 47 while gave a glimpse of his class in a memorable Bravo 135. Bravo knock included 13 fours and five sixes. Top order batsman Shamarh Brooks also stepped up with the bat scoring 80 while Captain Rostan Chase contributed 42 from 76 balls. 

  There is cause for optimism when considering the performance with the bat from the West Indies even though John Campbell does need to show greater game awareness and application. The lower order also needs to raise their game as four of the batsmen were dismissed in single digits.

Despite the commendable batting performance, the Windies had a tough time with the ball. Kemar Roach, Chemar Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall ended the match wicket-less and the bowling attack only managed to snare four wickets during the match.

If the West Indies are to be competitive during the coming series, the bowlers need to quickly shake off the rust and get firing.

 

  1. A sigh of relief for Trinidad and Tobago’s football!

Football’s world governing body, FIFA, on Thursday lifted the suspension of the Trinidad and Tobago football Association, TTFA. The decision was communicated in a letter to the Head of FIFA’s normalization committee in T&T, Robert Hadad. This is a major fillip for Trinidad and Tobago’s football as it paves the way for the team to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers. 

     Despite the setbacks, it is my hope that the normalization committee will cleared the massive debt burdening the association while paying salaries and getting the national team ready for international competition.

  1. Huge blow to Golden State Warriors after Klay Thompson’s injury

The Golden State Warriors star guard Klay Thompson suffered a season-ending tear to his right Achilles tendon during a workout last Wednesday in Southern California. The 30-year-old Thompson missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. 

The Warriors were hopeful that Thompson would return fit and ready to compete for the 2020-21 season. However, they are now trying to figure out how they will cope without one half of the Splash Brothers, whose absence contributed to their league’s worst record (15-50) last season.

 Another season without Thompson on the court will be a huge blow to the Golden State Warriors chances of winning a title next season. How does one accept that such a dependable star has become so vulnerable? 

 

 

The Golden State Warriors have confirmed Klay Thompson is expected to miss the entire 2020-21 NBA season due to a serious injury.

Thompson suffered a torn Achilles in his right leg while participating in a workout on Wednesday, with an MRI scan confirming the severity of the issue.

The five-time NBA All-Star missed the entire 2019-20 campaign after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Game 6 of the prior season's NBA Finals.

Now Golden State are once again facing up to an extended period without the 30-year-old, who averages 19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists during his eight-year career.

"Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson suffered a torn right Achilles tendon, an MRI confirmed today in Los Angeles,"  a short statement read from the team.

"Thompson suffered the injury yesterday in a workout in Southern California. He is expected to miss the 2020-21 season."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski had first reported the extent of the issue earlier on Thursday, prior to the team's official announcement.

Former Warrior Rick Barry - who was named Finals MVP when they won the title in 1975 - empathised with Thompson on Twitter, as his Hall of Fame career was also hampered by injury problems.

Barry tweeted: "Having had injuries that kept me away from the game I know how devastating it can be emotionally. If anyone can get through this and come back, I’m sure it's Klay with his great work ethic."

Many current NBA players offered prayers for Thompson on social media following the news, among them LeBron James, Luka Doncic and Paul George.

With Thompson's back-court partner Stephen Curry also missing significant time, Golden State finished with an NBA-worst 15-50 record last term.

The Warriors selected James Wiseman with the second pick in the NBA Draft on Wednesday, the center having averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in his three-game career at the University of Memphis, as well as guards Nico Mannion and Justinian Jessup in the second round.

Klay Thompson has suffered a right Achilles tear and will miss the entire 2020-21 NBA season, according to reports. 

The Golden State Warriors confirmed on Wednesday that Thompson had sustained an unspecified leg injury during a workout in California. 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the five-time All-Star has a torn Achilles that will force him to sit out a second straight season. 

Thompson missed the entire 2019-20 campaign after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Game 6 of the prior season's NBA Finals. 

The 30-year-old guard only took part in his first full Warriors practice since that injury in September, 470 days after leaving the decisive defeat in the series against the Toronto Raptors. 

Stephen Curry also missed significant time last season as Golden State, who were without Kevin Durant too after he left for the Brooklyn Nets, finished with an NBA-worst 15-50 record. 

News of Thompson's injury will be a bitter blow for head coach Steve Kerr as he looks to steer the Warriors back to the postseason, with the new campaign scheduled to begin on December 22. 

Thompson has won three NBA championships and averages 19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists during his eight-year career, while averages 41.9 per cent from three-point range.

James Wiseman is looking forward to learning again from Steph Curry after the Golden State Warriors selected him with the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

After Anthony Edwards went to the Minnesota Timberwolves with the first selection, the Warriors – said to be keeping their options open approaching the draft – took Wiseman.

The former Memphis center – compared to DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside – joins a Golden State team looking to return to contention after an injury-wrecked 2019-20 season.

The Warriors had reached the Finals in five straight years, winning three titles, before going 15-50 and missing out on an invite to the bubble in Orlando.

Star man Curry is back fit for the new campaign, though, and he is a man Wiseman knows well having attended his SC30 Select Camp in 2018.

"I have a great relationship with Steph," Wiseman, who will wear the number 33 jersey in San Francisco, told reporters. "Obviously, I went to his camp, so he taught me a lot.

"When I was in high school, he taught me a lot about the game of basketball, gave me a lot of information. I actually took a picture with him, so that's my guy."

Wiseman reeled off the names of Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Marquese Chriss and Kevon Looney as he described a "great fit" alongside the team's veterans.

And the new man has no concerns about the pressure that comes with being a Warrior.

"There's no pressure. I've been playing this game a long time," he said. "I've been in winning traditions, especially at Memphis East High School and in college as well.

"I'm built for it and I'm ready to learn, grow my game and adapt."

Golden State were waiting on news of Thompson's latest injury as he headed for a scan, but Wiseman said he was praying for his team-mate.

In the meantime, title-winning coach Steve Kerr was delighted to have Wiseman on board.

"James is incredibly talented," Kerr said. "He's a great young man. We had the chance to watch him work out and have dinner with him a couple of weeks ago and he was so impressive.

"He's just bursting with potential. We're excited to get him. There's a lot of work ahead, but he's excited to be coming here and we're excited to have him, so it should be a great partnership."

Nico Mannion, the Warriors' second-round pick, also attended one of Curry's camps and followed in his father's footsteps by heading to Golden State. Pace Mannion was a second-round Warriors selection in 1983.

Klay Thompson is reportedly set to undergo an MRI after the Golden State Warriors confirmed the star suffered a leg injury during practice.

Thompson has been working his way back to full fitness after sitting out the entire season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sustained in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

Now, the Warriors – who are looking to bounce back after their forgettable 15-50 season – are sweating on Thompson's fitness following his latest setback.

Thompson is believed to have felt pain in his calf during a workout in Los Angeles on Wednesday, with the three-time NBA champion reportedly scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday.

The five-time All-Star has been rehabilitating for more than a year – Thompson took part in his first full practice with the Warriors in September, 470 days following the ACL injury.

Golden State used the second pick to draft center James Wiseman on Wednesday and he was rocked by the news midweek.

"As soon as I seen [the news], it was kind of down for me, like emotionally," Wiseman said. "But the team, we got his back no matter what and he's going to be in great recovery.

"And from my perspective, I just can't wait to go in there and give my great contribution towards the team and just go in there and learn as much as possible.

"Just grow and adapt within that environment and just play my position. But all prayers be to Klay, my team-mate, and he's going to be just fine."

Since being drafted by the Warriors as the 11th pick in 2011, Thompson has a career average of 19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

In 2018-19, Thompson averaged 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game as the Warriors eventually fell to the Toronto Raptors in the Finals.

The first round of the NBA Draft saw Anthony Edwards headline the league's newest recruits.

Georgia guard Edwards, not LaMelo Ball, was drafted first by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

Ball – the younger brother of 2017 second round pick and New Orleans Pelicans star Lonzo – was the third draftee to the Charlotte Hornets, behind Golden State Warriors-bound center James Wiseman.

Here are the first 30 picks from the 2020 Draft.

 

2020 NBA Draft:
1. Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)
2. James Wiseman (Golden State Warriors)
3. LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)
4. Patrick Williams (Chicago Bulls)
5. Isaac Okoro (Cleveland Cavaliers)
6. Onyeka Okongwu (Atlanta Hawks)
7. Killian Hayes (Detroit Pistons)
8. Obi Toppin (New York Knicks)
9. Deni Avdija (Washington Wizards)
10. Jalen Smith (Phoenix Suns)
11. Devin Vassell (San Antonio Spurs)
12. Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento Kings)
13. Kira Lewis (New Orleans Pelicans)
14. Aaron Nesmith (Boston Celtics)
15. Cole Anthony (Orlando Magic)
16. Isaiah Stewart (Portland Trail Blazers)
17. Aleksej Pokusevski (Minnesota Timberwolves)
18. Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks)
19. Saddiq Bey (Brooklyn Nets)
20. Precious Achiuwa (Miami Heat)
21. Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers)
22. Zeke Nnaji (Denver Nuggets)
23. Leandro Bolmaro (New York Knicks)
24. R.J. Hampton (Milwaukee Bucks)
25. Immanuel Quickley (Oklahoma City Thunder)
26. Payton Pritchard (Boston Celtics)
27. Udoka Azubuike (Utah Jazz)
28. Jaden McDaniels (Los Angeles Lakers)
29. Malachi Flynn (Toronto Raptors)
30. Desmond Bane (Boston Celtics)

The Golden State Warriors drafted James Wiseman with the second pick as LaMelo Ball fell to third on his way to the Charlotte Hornets.

Wiseman and Ball were next best on the board after the Minnesota Timberwolves used the top selection on Georgia guard Anthony Edwards in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Keen to return to the summit of the NBA following a forgettable 2019-20 season, the Warriors turned to Memphis center Wiseman.

Wiseman – compared to DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside – played only three games for Memphis last season, but his blend of size and athleticism gives him upside.

He had a points/assists/rebounds average of 30.7 across his three games, dominating on the boards as he put up 10.7 total rebounds per game.

"Versatility, be able to rebound, run the floor, block shots and just space the floor out for my size," Wiseman told ESPN when asked what he could bring to the Warriors.

"I've been playing a lot of pickup games and stuff this summer. I've just been improving my game every day so I'm just ready and I'm prepared."

Following Kevin Durant's departure to the Brooklyn Nets, and injuries to All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors went 15-50 and missed the playoffs after reaching every Finals between 2015 and 2019.

Ball had been projected to go first, as was Edwards, but the 19-year-old's name was called out third midweek.

LaMelo Ball, whose older brother and New Orleans Pelicans star Lonzo was drafted second in 2017, will move to Charlotte after impressing with the Illawarra Hawks in the NBL.

Ball was crowned the 2019-20 NBL Rookie of the Year during his stint with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia, where he averaged 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 12 games before a foot injury cut short his season.

He also became the youngest player in NBL history to record a triple-double after posting 32 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds against the Cairns Taipans in November last year, while he also had three double-doubles.

After reaching the NBA Finals for five successive seasons, winning on three occasions, the Golden State Warriors took a year off from competing at the top of the league in 2019-20. 

Injuries to Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, as well as the departure of Kevin Durant, left the Warriors with just one remaining All-Star, Draymond Green, and ill-equipped to contend for the Larry O'Brien Trophy again. 

Instead, the Warriors finished a lowly 15-50, making them nothing more than interested spectators as the season reached its conclusion in an Orlando bubble following a coronavirus-enforced suspension. 

The saving grace was that their struggles on the court netted the Warriors the second overall pick in the draft, which takes place on Wednesday. 

Golden State would have obviously preferred the lottery to have ended with them selecting first. However, with Curry and Thompson poised to return, the question over what they will choose to do is one of the most intriguing elements of the draft. 

Should the Warriors select wisely, they will have additional ammunition with which to compete once more at the sharp end of a Western Conference in which LeBron James and reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers will surely be favourites. 

Warriors general manager Bob Myers faces one of the most pivotal decisions in the recent history of the franchise. Here we examine three possible avenues he could take with their highest draft pick since 1995.

Select James Wiseman

Memphis center James Wiseman is the name most frequently connected with the Warriors and the second overall selection. 

Despite Wiseman having played only three games in his collegiate career, it is a choice that would make a lot of sense for Golden State. 

Even at the peak of their dynasty, center was a weakness for the Warriors; Damian Jones failed to fill the void after the struggles of Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli played a significant role in their infamous 2016 Finals collapse. 

A tremendous athletic specimen at 7ft 1in, Wiseman's brief time on the court in college suggested he can help at both ends of the floor. However, it is on defense where he would likely be most valued.

The under-manned 2019-20 Warriors ranked 25th in the NBA in defensive rebounds with 32.9 per game. 

Golden State cannot rely solely on Green and Kevon Looney, who started only four games last season, to improve their rim protection. 

Green led the Warriors with 5.7 defensive rebounds per game in 2019-20. Wiseman averaged 6.3, along with 3.0 blocks and 19.7 points, in his short time at Memphis. 

The sample size may be small and the level of competition much lower, but Wiseman has indicated he can be a defensive force for Golden State. 

With the established core of Curry, Thompson and Green sure to keep them competitive, the Warriors can afford to take a chance on a player of Wiseman's limited experience and bet on his physical tools translating to NBA success.

Draft a wing

Having parted with Andre Iguodala last offseason and lost Shaun Livingston to retirement, the Warriors are lacking a sixth man who can play on the wing. 

Finding a rotational player who can operate as both a guard and forward, switch on defense and provide additional three-point shooting is a priority for Golden State. 

Damion Lee enjoyed a decent season as a swingman in 2019-20, averaging 12.7 points per game and shooting 35.6 per cent from three-point range. 

However, Lee was 11th on the Warriors in Defensive Rating, which estimates the number of points allowed by a player per 100 possessions. They would, therefore, benefit from a wing with the ability to make a greater all-round contribution. 

Georgia guard Anthony Edwards may fit the bill. A potential number one pick, Edwards could prove tough for the Warriors to resist if the Minnesota Timberwolves take LaMelo Ball first overall.

The versatile Edwards was fifth in defensive rebounds per game among guards in the Southeastern Conference with 4.5. 

He was in the top 10 for blocked shots while shooting 40 per cent from the field, though his three-point accuracy may be a concern. Edwards hit on just 29.4 per cent of his attempts from beyond the arc last season. 

And if the Warriors are not comfortable with him or Wiseman, they may be able to move back in the draft and still land a wing that meets their needs.

Trade back for depth

'Strength in numbers' was the strapline attached to the Warriors' playoff runs during their era of dominance. 

It was a fitting slogan. In addition to Curry, Thompson, Green and Kevin Durant, the Warriors could overwhelm teams with the level of options available to them from the bench. 

Yet with Durant limited to one game in the 2019 NBA Finals, it was a rallying cry that made less sense during their defeat to the Toronto Raptors in six games. 

Curry and Green each averaged over 41 minutes per game in that series, while Thompson (37.6) and Iguodala (31.4) also had to do plenty of the heavy lifting, the former tearing his ACL in the decisive Game 6. 

Just four other players who participated in more than one Finals game averaged double figures in terms of minutes and only one, Looney, remains on the roster for 2020-21. 

The Warriors saw rapid development from 2019 second-round pick Eric Paschall, who was named to the NBA's All-Rookie team, in the 2019-20 campaign. 

Trading D'Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves netted Golden State former 2014 first overall pick Andrew Wiggins, yet it is unclear whether the Warriors will stick with him as a reclamation project or use him as bait in another trade. 

Regardless of what happens with Wiggins and the progress of Paschall, the Warriors remain in need of veterans who can take some of the load off their big three. 

Depending on the offers they receive, moving out of the No. 2 pick would potentially enable them to acquire some additional help. 

They could still address the wing even after dropping down the board too, with Israel's Deni Avdija seen as a potential target along with Tyrese Haliburton, Devin Vassell and Saddiq Bey. 

Curry is 32 and Thompson and Green are both 30. The Warriors' window as contenders may not be open for too much longer. 

The question they must answer this offseason is clear: how do they maximise it? Do they select a top-tier prospect who may take time to develop, or do they try to pull off a trade that allows them to potentially add both youth and also much-needed veteran depth to the roster? 

After a year in the wilderness, the Warriors' decision could go a long way to shaping the Western Conference in 2020-21. 

The Golden State Warriors have submitted a plan that aims to reopen Chase Center at 50 per cent capacity for the 2020-21 NBA season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A December 22 start date for a 72-game regular season, not the usual 82-game schedule, has been tentatively approved following the COVID-19-hit 2019-20 campaign.

The NBA season was shut down in March before resuming behind closed doors at the Orlando bubble in July, with the Los Angeles Lakers claiming the championship in October.

As teams prepare for the new campaign, Warriors owner Joe Lacob is aiming to allow spectators back into the venue in San Francisco amid vigorous testing.

"I not only want to get this done and show the world how we can do it now, I'm willing to spend the money to do it," said Lacob.

"This is a serious, serious problem. It cannot go on for multiple years ... because if this were to go on for several years, the NBA is no more.

"You cannot sustain this league with no fans. You can do it for a year. We'll all get by for a year. But suppose we're in this situation next year.

"Now we're talking some serious, serious financial damage to a lot of people."

Lacob added: "Let us prove the concept. Let us use our money, our resources, our seven-eight months of work, our expertise to prove the concept. That's what I'm trying to get the state, the city and the government to entertain.

"This [rapid PCR] test is orders of magnitude more accurate than the [rapid antigen] test at the [White House] Rose Garden event. This is the best you can do. A lot of people don't even know these tests exist yet, and they are ramping them up.

"By springtime, the rapid PCR tests will be manufactured in amounts nearing 100,000 per day by some of these companies. But I'm trying to show the world, trying to show the sports world in particular, and California, a way to do this. A safe way to have people come to an event and be totally safe walking in that building. The numbers bear it out."

The Warriors endured a forgettable 2019-20 season, missing the playoffs.

With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson injured, and Kevin Durant off to the Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors finished with a 15-50 record.

At this time a year ago, most NBA teams were right around the 10-game mark.

The Los Angeles Lakers, who would capture the season's delayed championship a mere 11 months later, sat atop the Western Conference at 8-2, while defending conference champions and injury-ravaged Golden State Warriors were tied with the lowly New York Knicks for the league's worst record at 2-9.

Fast-forward a year, and the NBA is in the midst of an offseason, albeit a brief one. The 2019-20 season ended on October 11, and just this week the NBA made it official that the 2020-21 campaign will tip off on December 22.

The draft had been scheduled for October 16 before being pushed back to next Wednesday, when it will take place virtually from the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

The draft order was set back on August 20, when the league conducted its lottery at the NBA office in Secaucus, New Jersey, revealing the Minnesota Timberwolves have the top selection and the Boston Celtics have the last lottery pick – courtesy of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Most of these teams have not played a game since mid-March, so in case you have forgotten about how the league's also-rans fared – or tried to forget if you are a Knicks fan – here is a little breakdown of some notable stats from the teams with lottery picks.

 

1. Minnesota Timberwolves

For the second time in franchise history the Timberwolves have the top overall pick. The only other time they picked first was in 2015, when they selected Karl-Anthony Towns out of Kentucky. Towns led the Timberwolves last season with 26.5 points per game, while D'Angelo Russell averaged 21.7 and Malik Beasley averaged 20.7. The Timberwolves and the Celtics were the only two teams last season to have three players average 20 or points (minimum 12 games played). Minnesota could have possibly had more 20-point players if they could have made a higher rate of their shots. Minnesota were third in the league in three-point attempts per game (39.7) but were the NBA's third-worst team in three-point shooting at 33.6 per cent to become just the third team in league history to rank in the top three in three-point attempts per game and third worst in three-point percentage, joining the 1999-2000 Sacramento Kings and 2003-04 New Orleans Hornets. While the offense struggled, Minnesota's defense were abysmal, allowing at least 100 points in each of their final 30 games. After the All-Star break, the Timberwolves' opponents' scoring average of 125.3 points and opponents' shooting percentage of 51.7 percent both ranked last in the league. Winning the lottery and picking first is usually a blessing, but without a clear-cut number one in this draft, Minnesota have some decisions to make with how they plan to bolster their roster.

2. Golden State Warriors

A year ago, the Warriors were picking 28th and now they are second. Times have certainly changed, but you would have probably noticed that already. Given the Warriors were without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for essentially the entire season, it is no big surprise Golden State's winning percentage from 2018-19 to 2019-20 dropped by .464 – the biggest decline by any team from one season to the next since the Cleveland Cavaliers' drop in winning percentage of .512 from 2009-10 to 2010-11. Offensively, Golden State finished last in the NBA in effective field goal shooting at 49.7 per cent - (FGM plus 0.5 three points made)/FGA – and last in points scored per 100 possessions at 102.9. Eric Paschall led the depleted Warriors in scoring with 837 points – the lowest by any team leader in 2019-20. As Golden State's scoring leader, Paschall became the first Warrior rookie to lead the team in scoring since Hall of Famer Rick Barry in 1965-66. With Curry and Thompson healthy, the offense will have an entirely different look for 2020-21 and get Golden State back among the upper echelon of teams. The Warriors now seem to be targeting Memphis big man James Wiseman to upgrade a defense that allowed 110.9 points per 100 possessions – tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the fifth worst in the NBA.

3. Charlotte Hornets

After a lacklustre offensive showing in 2019-20, the Hornets are picking third for the first time since taking Gonzaga's Adam Morrison in 2006. While the NBA scoring average was at 111.8 points per game, Charlotte averaged a league-low 102.9 points and shot a league-worst 43.4 per cent – the first team since the 2015-16 Lakers to finish last in both categories. They shot a league-worst 33.4 per cent on pull-up shots and even right at the rim they struggled to convert, recording a league-worst 56.6 per cent on dunks and layups. In their 65 games played last season, they were outshot in 48 of them – the most in the league. You get the picture, the Hornets need to improve their shooting.

4. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are the only team to rank in the bottom five in scoring each of the last three seasons. They concluded the 2019-20 campaign with the NBA's fourth-worst scoring offense at 106.8 points per game and the fourth-worst offensive rating at 104.1 points per 100 possessions. They were the fifth-worst shooting team on catch and shoots at 35.7 per cent and sixth worst at converting dunks and layups at 58.4 percent. Not only were the Bulls not much of threat offensively, they were a mess on the glass, averaging the second-fewest rebounds in the NBA at 41.9 per game – the franchise's fewest since averaging 40.0 in 2001-02. Upgrading the offense with a proven shooter could be the way new executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas leans.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

Defense was somewhat optional for the Cavaliers last season, and they essentially opted not to play it, ranking last in the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions at 113.6. Since the advent of the three-point line in 1979-80, their opponents' effective field goal percentage of 56.0 was the second worst by any team in a season beating out only the 2018-19 Cavs' 56.4. Their offensive production was not much better, with their 104.4 points per 100 possessions ranking sixth worst in the NBA. Carelessness played a part in Cleveland's inefficient offense with their 16.5 turnovers per game ranking last in the league – the first time since 1997-98 they finished last in turnovers per game. The Cavs enter this draft with plenty of needs on both sides of the ball.

6. Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks had glaring issues both offensively and defensively last season, posting the fifth-worst offensive rating at 104.3 points per 100 possessions, along with the third-worst defensive rating at 112.3 opponents' points per 100 possessions. Their defense was especially shoddy down the stretch, permitting a league-worst 124.3 points per game since February 1. Their offensive woes, meanwhile, stemmed from poor perimeter shooting, as they ranked last in the league in three-point shooting at 33.3 per cent – the first time since 2006-07 they had the NBA's worst three-point percentage. Finding someone to compliment Trae Young would go a long way in boosting the offense. Young averaged a team-high 29.6 points while the Hawks' second-leading scorer, De'Andre Hunter, averaged 12.3 points. That difference of 17.3 points per game was the largest gap in the NBA between a team's leading scorer and its second-leading scorer.

7. Detroit Pistons

Perhaps the biggest issue for the Pistons last season was that the oft-injured Derrick Rose led the team in scoring – not exactly the ideal player a team want to build around given his age and inability to stay healthy. Rose's average of 18.1 points per game was the second lowest for a team leader in 2019-20, and the Pistons had a 30-point scorer in just seven games – tied with the Miami Heat for the fewest 30-point games by a player last season. Detroit's offense was never flashy, averaging the fifth-fewest fast-break points per game at 11.0, and then it really shrivelled down the stretch, averaging a league-worst 103.7 points per 100 possessions after the end of January. Selecting a playmaker that can jump-start the offense should be Detroit's prime goal come draft night.

8. New York Knicks

Offense was not New York's strong suit last season. The Knicks had the league's worst true shooting percentage at 53.1 per cent and second-worst effective field goal percentage at 50.1. Not to be outdone, they also had the league's second-worst offensive rating at 103.8 points per 100 possessions. Behind power forward Julius Randle, the Knicks found success in scoring inside, scoring 46.9 percent of their points on dunks and layups – the seventh-highest rate in the NBA – but had the league's fourth-worst three-point percentage at 33.7. Upgrading at the point guard position, preferably with one who can score, is the troubled team's top priority.

9. Washington Wizards

Defense – or lack thereof – was the downfall of the 2019-20 Wizards, who surrendered 125 or more points in an NBA-worst 26 games. Washington were last in the NBA in opponents' true shooting percentage at 59.6 and had the league's second-worst defensive rating, allowing 112.7 points per 100 possessions. The team also had no answer on the boards, as they were outrebounded in an NBA-worst 50 games. Bradley Beal, meanwhile, carried the offense, leading the team in scoring in 46 games last season – two fewer than Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks outright in scoring for the most in the NBA. Led by Beal, the Wizards reached the 115-point mark in 34 games – eighth most in the NBA - but their .500 winning percentage (17-17) in games scoring 115 points or more was tied with the Timberwolves (15-15) and Warriors (8-8) for the worst in the league. The all-out offensive attack does not seem to be working for the Wizards, so a defensive stopper may be the answer.

10. Phoenix Suns

The Suns were all business on their summer trip to "The Most Magical Place on Earth," but still missed the playoffs for a 10th straight season – the second-longest active playoff drought behind the Sacramento Kings at 14. Phoenix are seemingly a playoff-calibre team, at least it looked that way at Walt Disney World Resort, where they won all eight of their games in the restart to become the first team in NBA history to end the regular season on an eight-game winning streak and still miss the playoffs. The Suns averaged 122.3 points and shot 40.2 per cent from three-point range in Orlando after averaging 112.6 points while shooting 35.3 per cent from beyond the arc before the season went on pause. Prior to the restart, the Suns were tied with the Cavs for 20th in the NBA in three-pointers made per game at 11.2, so adding a wing that can connect from long range would help. What would also help would be capturing that magic the team displayed inside the Orlando bubble and playing with that intensity from the get-go instead of waiting until the last two weeks.

11. San Antonio Spurs

With the 11th pick of the draft, the Spurs have a lottery pick for the first time since drafting Tim Duncan first overall in 1997. That is what happens when the team misses the playoffs for the first time in 23 years. San Antonio had some success offensively last season, ranking fourth in three-point shooting at 37.6 per cent. The problem was only the Knicks attempted fewer three-pointers, so Gregg Popovich was not buying into the chuck up three-pointer offense. The offense, however, neglected to force the ball inside, attempting a league-low 27.6 percent of their shots on dunks and layups. Instead, San Antonio attempted an NBA-high 70.4 per cent of their shots on jumpers. Popovich's defense also was not up to normal standard last season, allowing 110.9 points per 100 possessions - tied with the Warriors for the fifth worst in the NBA. While the defense could be improved, upgrading the offense with a playmaker is paramount.

12. Sacramento Kings

The Kings may be owners of the longest active playoff drought at 14 years, but their trajectory is pointing in the right direction with an offense revolving around De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Since the start of February, Sacramento ranked seventh in three-point shooting at 38.0 per cent and 10th in scoring at 115.6 points per game. The problems begin with their lack of size and athleticism in the interior. The Kings were the fourth-worst rebounding team, averaging 42.6 boards, and fourth worst in blocking shots, averaging 4.07. Opponents also shot 64.9 per cent within five feet of the rim – the second-highest field goal percentage in the league. Finding a rim protector could be the difference in the Kings reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

13. New Orleans Pelicans

Like the Kings, the Pelicans have a solid young core behind Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball and are on the precipice of becoming a playoff team. Last season, they ranked seventh in three-point shooting at 37.0 per cent, fifth in three-pointers made per game at 13.6 and fifth in scoring at 115.8 points per game. However, they also ranked 17th in offensive rating at 108.0 points per 100 possessions after ranking 29th in turnovers per game with an average of 16.4. Their defense also left something to be desired, especially in the restart, where their opponents' average of 113.4 points per 100 possessions was tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the fifth worst from the eight seeding games. The defense should see improvement under new coach Stan Van Gundy and drafting a big man that can step out to draw opposing defenses away from Williamson will make the offense more dangerous.

14. Boston Celtics

Eight weeks after playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics own a lottery pick via a trade with the Grizzlies from five years ago. Boston are the only team with three first-round picks, so for a team with a championship window wide open it seems unlikely they will keep all of them. The Celtics ranked second in three-point defense last season at 34.0 per cent and fourth in defensive rating at 104.5 points per 100 possessions. They were also tied with the Spurs for fifth in offensive rating at 110.4 points per 100 possessions and will bring back most of their roster, so they do not have a lot of big-time needs. More depth would certainly be welcome, however, after Boston's reserves accounted for just 25.0 percent of the team's total points – the third-lowest percentage of bench points in the NBA.

Steve Kerr aimed a dig at the Houston Rockets by insisting the Golden State Warriors will not play like them despite a significant turnover in personnel.

The Warriors went from making the NBA Finals for a fifth straight year in 2019 to finishing the past regular season with the worst record in the league at 15-50.

Golden State were without All-Star backcourt duo Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for almost the entire season – the former played just five games while the latter sat out the campaign to recover from ACL surgery.

Kerr has won three rings as head coach of the Warriors and despite the losses of Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant – key members of the dynasty they established – the switch to a system like that used by the Rockets, who have focused their offense on isolation plays for James Harden, does not appeal.

"We're not reinventing the wheel. We're still gonna be the Warriors," Kerr said on the TK Show.

"We're not going to all of a sudden turn into the Rockets — change our offense — and have one guy go high pick-and-roll 70 times a game.

"We've got to be ourselves. What makes Steph and Klay the players they are is the combination of what they can on and off the ball. That's what moves defenses.

"And what makes Draymond [Green] special is his ability to distribute from either the four or the five spot — to have playmaking at that level. As you watch [the] Miami [Heat] right now [in the NBA Finals], you can see the influence that our team has had on the league.

"It's really difficult for defenses to guard when there's a lot of action going on. So we're not gonna change that stuff."

Harden averaged a league-high 14.1 isolation possessions per game during the 2019-20 regular season, almost twice as many as Rockets team-mate Russell Westbrook who was second on the list at 7.4.

Outside of Houston, Damian Lillard had the most isolation possessions per game at 4.8 – almost a third of Harden's.

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