The Golden State Warriors will face the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday to decide the eighth seed in the west, but before coach Steve Kerr can get to that point, he’s got a golden opportunity on Friday, one that’s full of good fortune.
First of all, after the Grizzlies beat the Kings Thursday night, the above scenario came into focus. It would indeed be the Warriors against Memphis for the more favorable play-in tournament seed.
The Warriors are on a roll and will be at home on Sunday, which itself an advantage, but did you catch the last part of Anthony Slater’s tweet? Friday’s game against the Pelicans will be meaningless.
And my goodness, is that sweet for Golden State. It’s got its top-three players on the injury list as of now, and they can presumably rest.
That’s Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins on the injury list, which can’t comfort Kerr this late in the campaign. Plus, there’s guard Mychal Mulder, who can’t be slighted because he’s been part of an eight man rotation that’s been on fire lately.
And that brings us to yet another advantage for Kerr in this scenario. While Curry, Green and Wiggins are likely to sit on the bench, if not play vastly reduced minutes, Kerr is expecting reinforcements. Power forward Eric Paschall is set to return from his hip injury, and the club just signed former Warrior, PF Jordan Bell. Kerr can play them both more than he might have otherwise against the Pelicans.
Ideally for Kerr, Paschall and Bell can get their feet wet and be ready for an extended playoff run. That optimistic scenario is aided by the extra rest afforded to the Warriors’ star players.
But still, beating Memphis is a large part of this. It’s sure to be a show, with Curry facing Grizzlies standout guard Ja Morant for the first time. Luckily for the Warriors, however, they’ve got a game to rest up and get up to speed with new pieces on the roster — and be better prepared for whatever comes their way.
(Photo credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)