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Draymond bursts bubble but more Warriors culture oozes out
What saying no, vehemently, to the bubble means
UPDATE: See update at the bottom of this post…
I was going to write a piece on the now-apparently-shot-down second NBA “bubble” for the “Delete Eight” bottom teams that weren’t invited to Orlando. I’m glad I waited/procrastinated. Sitting in my inbox for more than a month from Warriors PR are the detailed protocols of the individual workouts currently still going on at Chase Center; more on that below.
Today, in a segment of NBA on TNT’s “The Steam Room” podcast with Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley, our very own Draymond Green finally burst the bubble. And then some.
I think we can agree: the Orlando bubble has been a smash hit, with the TV experience not drastically altered from normalcy plus not one, but two consecutive all-zeroes on COVID-19 test results throughout the entire 22-team player rosters.
Games are exciting, underdogs like Devin Booker are hitting buzzer-beaters against superstars like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, and The Bay’s own Damian Lillard is leading a darkhorse, resurgent, and mostly healthy Portland Trail Blazers.
Best of all for us sidelined in DubNation, the Los Angeles Lakers have lost two in a row, can’t hit a three-pointer, suddenly have doubts, and “Slatar” — Anthony Slater of TheAthletic, our Kevin Durant of Golden State Warriors beat-writing — gets to tell the world about it.
The behind-the-scenes clips of Booker getting splashed in the postgame locker room and Jusuf Nurkic and Lillard hitting up an ice bath at 1:00AM in the morning were pretty cool, by the way:
Alas, wouldn’t it make sense for the Warriors, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both now ready to resume any and all team activities, to finally mesh with Green and Andrew Wiggins and test things out against “real” competition?
As a former coach (of amateurs), I thought so. Why wouldn’t you want to get some real game reps for your guys? Live-action petri-dishing always beats intra-squad practice, right?
And couldn’t the Delete Eight just move right into Orlando for a second bubble to appease the demands of NBPA’s Michele Roberts for strict safety protocols?
After all, Curry went on a road trip with wife Ayesha not too long ago, presumably to celebrate their wedding anniversary. On Instagram Steph posted a video, filmed by Ayesha, of him waking up and thinking he was in an Orlando hotel, about to get ready for a game or practice:
On Bill Simmons’ most recent podcast, head coach Steve Kerr said he’d talked to Draymond about having that itch to play and compete.
But, again, Green popped that bubble today with the Chuckster, laughing off the Delete Eight as a “Gus Macker toilet bowl.” In case you’re wondering, Gus Macker is an annual 3-on-3 blacktop basketball tournament where all ages, male and female, can play. Only Ernie had heard of it. But wow, Day-Day just equated the league’s worst seven teams with streetball!
Draymond also hinted that the SplashBrothers would not attend, in the closing quip that no one would want to see the Warriors without Steph and Klay, and that he himself would only attend to be a good sport about it. That’s something Warriors GM Bob Myers has mentioned, if the NBA were to somehow get unanimous consent for another bubble and asked GSW for their good faith participation.
Even Curry said recently in a livestream (sorry, I don’t have the link) that he would not want to attend a Delete Eight bubble, which with the context of his most recent road trip Instagram, reinforces the notion that the Warriors are not too keen on playing against the fellow cellar dwellers of the NBA.
Notwithstanding multiple reports from Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer and a “trust me, this is what’s happening” article from Shams Charania and Sam Amick of TheAthletic that the second bubble is dead in the water, as well as the fact that golf-carting 500 pounds of ice for postgame night ice baths probably doesn’t appeal to Warriors equipment manager Eric Housen (who quite frankly deserves this pandemic break more than anyone), what does this tell you?
Kerr has already said that they would much rather run some sort of training camp aka “Other Team Activities” (OTAs) rather than play against opponents in some sort of bubble, but Draymond’s ridicule and cherry-picked naming of the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons shows you Draymond and his squad’s arrogance and confidence — a good thing if you’re a Warriors fan.
I wrote as much in an NBC Sports Bay Area roundtable when Grant Liffman posed the question, “Are the Warriors still contenders to start the 2020-21 season?”
I said they definitely think they are, all because they defeated the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals without Durant — plus pummeled Portland and stretched the Finals to six games — although they would never publicly say that, as that would be the proverbial throwing of KD under the bus, which the NBA fraternity tries to avoid.
Even Klay has gone on record to say that five straight Finals runs is not to be taken lightly and something had to be at the core of that. Speaking of core, you’re probably thinking Kevon Looney needs to be healthy for the above litmus test to work, although at last check, it’s been reported he’s fully recovered from his core muscle surgery.
So the Dubs value training camp more than they do testing their chemistry and #KerrSystem against opponents. Way more. To the extent that playing their roster as-is against any of those seven other teams is a complete waste of time. Remember, this with Draymond’s voice.
Individual workouts can only involve one player and one assistant coach no closer than twelve feet apart. Not even PR staff is allowed yet into the practice facility. The Warriors are still filming promotions and commercials on the floor of Chase Center, revealing that the baskets are still up, so by my count they have up to six hoops physically distanced enough to work with (eight total, but two of them crowd the basement practice facility). This is when you combine Chase with the ones downstairs in Biofreeze.
They think their six baskets of individual workouts and, in essence, player development plus mix of intra-squad scrimmages, of which includes the ability to find players to fill out training camp, would yield better results than actually playing competitive basketball against actual NBA teams.
That says a lot about the Golden State culture.
UPDATE (8/7/2020): Now TheAthletic is reporting that the NBA is considering having the Delete Eight come into Orlando where everything is already setup. In fact, a big 🙄 goes out to NBA media, as I basically predicted this development. But thank you, Day-Day, for making it clear that Steph and Klay will not attend, unless the Warriors have some 180-degree change of heart.