How the Warriors could benefit from a resumed regular season

Warriors (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Warriors (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Could the Golden State Warriors actually benefit from playing out the regular season?

The Golden State Warriors‘ season, for all intents and purposes, is over. After qualifying for the postseason in each of the last seven seasons, the Warriors put together their worst season since the turn of the decade and will finish at the bottom of the NBA’s standings.

In a season marred by injuries, Golden State trudged through a disastrous 15-50 season playing without the likes of Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and others for a vast majority of the campaign.

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The NBA’s postponement back in March as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic essentially ended the Warriors’ season prematurely. In one sense, you could look at the situation as putting the team out of its misery.

But despite all the struggles, despite the absence of the franchise’s star players, it never truly felt like misery.

Perhaps that’s a testament to a fanbase that has been overwhelmingly understanding of the situation. Or perhaps it’s a product of an exciting (albeit mistake-prone) collection of young players.

Regardless, it won’t exactly be a season to remember. But by the looks of things, the Warriors’ 2019-20 campaign might not be over just yet.

There’s been some talk of all 30 NBA teams resuming the regular season just to play out the final stretch. For teams like the Warriors that are already eliminated from playoff contention, this seems pointless.

But there are actually a couple of reasons as to why it could be beneficial. Anthony Slater of The Athletic speculated how the Warriors might go about these extra few games.

"“The Warriors, planted in stall mode, can finally expect a resolution to the 2020 season in the next few weeks. Either they’ll be told their participation isn’t required for an end-of-season NBA resumption, as they still expect, or the league will ask them to ramp up training and likely enter an Orlando bubble to play a few competitively meaningless regular-season games for financial purposes, which they’re prepared to do.Replacement summer league, as it’s been described to me, is how the Warriors would view it.”"

That “replacement summer league” idea is interesting as it would allow a young Warriors team to continue developing. We’re talking players like Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall, and Alen Smailagic all continuing their growth as players.

The Warriors’ 2019 draft class showed promise this past season and this would be an ideal situation for them to mature and expand their games in low-pressure, meaningless games.

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As Slater said — a replacement summer league.

Poole could continue to develop consistency with his outside shot and sharpen his ball-handling. Paschall could work on his three-point shooting and overall offensive game. And Smailagic? He needs every minute of in-game development that he could get.

On the surface, the Warriors wouldn’t have much to play for if they were forced to play out the final stretch of games. But there is some upside to playing some more basketball this season.

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A “replacement summer league” is a more appealing option than most probably realize.