The 2019-20 NBA season went on hiatus on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The season will return on July 30 and NBA.com's writers are taking an updated look at each of the league's 30 teams.
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Record: 15-50, last in Western Conference
Season summary: Once Stephen Curry was lost for 58 games to a broken left hand, the Warriors fell into the vortex of anonymity, a place they hadn’t known for almost a decade. It was a strange way to kick-start life in the new Chase Center, with a group of well-meaning and hard-working players almost always falling short on the talent board and scoreboard. The fans in The Bay, so spoiled by regular romps to The Finals and shots splashing in from deep, got an altogether different experience this season. In the recent and glorious past, it took the Warriors roughly a month to win 15 games. This season, it took five months to do so. Losing streaks became commonplace, but understood as well. There was a shift in philosophy: Golden State has used this season to shift through a dozen or so players to see who’ll return next season.
Breakout player: He lasted until the 41st pick in the 2019 draft, but at least forward Eric Paschall had a role model in that sense -- teammate Draymond Green was a second-round pick in 2012. Paschall overcame the odds and leads the Warriors in games played (60) and has started 26 games. He will most likely be in the rotation next season when the Warriors get healthy again. An undersized power forward at 6-foot-6, Paschall brings an aggressive approach and a feel for the game to overcome the stigma usually associated with ‘tweener forwards. He averaged 14 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and the ball was usually in his hands when the Warriors had a chance to win games.
Statement win:The Warriors were, unsurprisingly, a 16-point underdog when they visited Denver on March 3. Yet they won by 16 points thanks to Paschall scoring nine of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. This was one of the season’s bigger surprises if only because the Nuggets are 25-8 at home and have been among the top of the West for much of 2019-20. However, the Warriors had all the second-half answers and used their grit to wrestle this win away. They also went on a 43-16 run at one point, which sounds like something they’d do in seasons past. The real significance of the accomplishment came two days later, when Curry returned to the lineup.
Most compelling or exciting game: Look, the Warriors didn’t notch too many under this heading in 2019-20. But a win is a win, and Golden State got its standout one on March 7 vs. Philadelphia. Yes, the Sixers were missing Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. With Curry out with flu-like symptoms just a few days following his return to the lineup, the Warriors rallied from eight points down to start the fourth quarter to win 118-114 as Paschall (23 points) powered the victory. But the Warriors also showed a togetherness in tense moments and also continued to see positive signs from Andrew Wiggins, who’d only recently arrived in a mid-season trade with Minnesota.
Memorable moment(s): Curry supplied the only two moments anyone can or will remember -- when he broke his left hand on Oct. 30 vs. Phoenix and when he returned in March. The first moment made people wince as the sight of Curry falling awkwardly and instantly reaching for a body part is never comforting. The next moment, when Curry returned to a hero’s welcome and a standing ovation, made Warriors fans thrilled to see something positive happen. That’s true when considering in the span if five months, Golden State saw Kevin Durant depart and Klay Thompson and Curry suffer major injuries. Thompson won’t suit up again until the start of 2020-21, making Curry a man on an island this season.
Team MVP: Wiggins has played in only 12 games since arriving for D’Angelo Russell, yet he’s clearly the Warriors’ MVP in that his value will spill over into next season. An enigma during his time in Minnesota, Wiggins received a warm welcome in San Francisco and will feel less pressure once the Warriors are fully healthy. The idea is Wiggins should thrive playing next to Curry and Thompson and enjoying the open shots that come from that. The Warriors were also pleasantly surprised by his willingness and ability to play defense, which went over well with the coaching staff. In his limited time with the Warriors, he’s showed enough positive flashes to send a feel-good vibe.
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