The first day of the Golden State Warriors' "media week" was quite different from the 2019 version for obvious reasons, but in some ways, they were surprisingly similar. There are more questions than answers surrounding the Warriors for the second straight season, as once again they will be without Klay Thompson, who recently ruptured his Achilles tendon after missing all of last year while rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals.
Golden State's roster is again filled with multiple new faces who will likely be rotation staples, including No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman, athletic wing Kelly Oubre Jr., reserve guard Brad Wanamaker and veteran Kent Bazemore. Warriors general manager Bob Myers said on Tuesday that the team was already looking to add wing and guard depth, but that need became all the more pressing when Thompson was injured on the day of the draft.
A core of Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green would have put the Warriors right back into the championship conversation, but now things are much murkier. Warriors coach Steve Kerr addressed Thompson's absence on Tuesday, saying that his team is still coming to grips with the devastating news.
"There's definitely a hole with Klay not being there. There's a hole in the lineup and there's a hole in our hearts, just because he's such a huge part of who we are," Kerr said. "And [Thompson, Curry and Green] really are the core of this whole thing -- what's been built here over the last seven or eight years. That part is gonna be really tough for Steph and Draymond to get past. It'll be hard for all of us to get past, but we have no choice but to do so."
Despite the loss of Thompson, Kerr is confident that Curry and Green will be in top form this season, partly due to a hunger for basketball they've accrued after a nine-month layoff from NBA games.
"I feel like Steph and Draymond are gonna have great years for us," Kerr said. "I've spoken with both of them. I spoke to Draymond this morning, I spoke to Steph last night. I've kept in touch with them during the summer. They are basketball players. They love to play. They're competitors. They've had a long time off, so I think they're ready to compete again."
Adding to the complications of the Warriors season is, of course, COVID-19 and its ripple effects throughout sports. Myers said that two of the team's players had tested positive prior to camp, which delayed the start. Golden State will have to navigate the 2020-21 season during a pandemic with a host of new faces who have limited time on the court together.
"We'd like to see our team, that's the bottom line. I'd love to see the team play and be able to evaluate them appropriately with health," Myers said on Tuesday. "The hardest thing about the [Thompson] injury is, unfortunately, my job and our job in the front office is to evaluate our personnel. And it's tough to do that with one of the major cogs not there. But you still have to do it. You still have to evaluate the team and take the season to see how they mesh, how they work together, individually, collectively, defensively, offensively."