As the NBA continues to try to find ways to salvage the end of its season as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that his team is operating as if its season is over.
“It feels like the offseason,” Kerr said during a video conference call in conjunction with the University of San Francisco on Tuesday. “And, in fact, we had a Zoom call, Bob Myers and I got on a Zoom with our players, our whole roster last week. And it was just a chance to check in, but it was also a chance for Bob to update the players on his contact with the league and the latest news, but it also kind of felt like our annual team exit meeting. Our coaching staff and I have been undergoing staff evaluations, offseason plans, so we are absolutely in offseason mode right now.”
As other teams in playoff contention try to keep their teams focused on a possible resumption of play, Kerr said that though the Warriors remain in communication with all their players and staffers, the team isn’t concerned about a possible resumption, given that Golden State had a league-worst 15-50 record when the season was suspended on March 11.
“The suspension came at an interesting time, and it really made a difference, depending on where your team stood in the standings,” Kerr said. “So I’ve talked to some of my fellow coaches who are coaching teams that are right in the thick of the playoff hunt. They’re trying desperately to stay in touch with their team, some of them are even doing group workouts on Zoom with their training staff, and they’re trying to find hoops for their players to shoot at where they’re able to do so.
“It’s different for us because we were down to 17 games, but we were out of the playoffs. It feels like the end of the season for our team. It just does. We don’t know anything officially. There’s still a chance the league could ask us to come back and play some games, but given what we went through this season, with all the injuries and the tough record, it’s been more of the case of we’re staying in touch with guys, but everybody is just sort of assuming that this is kind of it. We’re not going to be involved much anymore.”
“My commitment was to communicate with every employee every day. And we do that through kind of an end-of-the-day email,” Welts said. “I’m trying to talk to somebody every day who has a unique viewpoint because of the job they have on what they’re going through with the pandemic that might relate to our industry, and then I try to share some of their insights with our people. The town halls are very much like this.”
The meetings for employees have included Kerr and NBA commissioner Adam Silver as featured guests.
“It’s kind of the untold story, I think, we focus on the truly medical side of the virus. The mental health side, I think, is increasingly important to address because we as human beings, we were not wired to operate this way. And you can start to see the frustration that people are having in following guidelines as best we can, but we need more than that as human beings.”
For Kerr, who has been social distancing with his family at their offseason home in San Diego since the season stopped, the suspension has allowed his coaching staff to reevaluate how they want to approach next season and beyond.
Kerr said the break has been very “productive” for the staff on a lot of levels. The Warriors will have a top pick in the 2020 NBA draft and are scheduled to have their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, all of whom have dealt with injuries in the past year, healthy and ready to go when the 2020-21 season begins.
“It’s been really productive for me and for our staff,” Kerr said. “I think we’ve had much deeper conversations amongst the staff to try to come up with better ways to coach our players and better ways to approach next season and really take advantage of the time that we do have.”