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How much will Steph Curry’s return impact the Warriors’ lottery chances?

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NBA: Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Hi everyone! This is my first post for Golden State of Mind, so I wanted to introduce myself. I recently signed on to be a Community Editor here in California. I am looking forward to engaging and discussing Warriors basketball with all of you. I will also be contributing to some of our sister sites. I most recently covered USC hoops and football for USA TODAY, but I am excited to be working alongside Brady and everyone else. Although this season has been a dud, the off-season will definitely be exciting. It is weird that we are looking forward to the NBA Draft Lottery after all of the success of the organization this decade, but we know this team will be right back challenging for a championship next season.

Let’s get to it!

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With the face of the franchise set to return, it should be considered a great thing. Let’s be real, this Warriors season hasn’t been much fun, so Steph Curry coming back, it will definitely give us something to watch down the stretch. Woj reported on ESPN that Curry will practice tomorrow with the team and that Sunday has been a target date. He added that the Warriors aren’t going to rush it.

Whenever he does get back on the court, it will be awesome. The Chase Center will finally have some life, but should we be rooting for the team to win?

Heading into tonight’s game against the Lakers the Dubs are sitting in a position to have a 14% chance of winning the lottery. Since the NBA’s changes, the teams with the three worst records in the league have the same odds of getting the No. 1 pick, so it doesn’t matter if the Warriors make up some ground on two of the awful teams ahead of them. The problem would be that the odds drop to 10.5% if they finish with the fifth worst record, which is where the Minnesota Timberwolves sit.

Here is how the bottom of the standings look heading into tonight’s games:

Standings

Team W L GB
Team W L GB
Timberwolves 17 40 -
Knicks 17 41 0.5
Cavaliers 17 41 0.5
Hawks 17 43 1.5
Warriors 12 46 5.5

The team plays in Phoenix Saturday, so if Curry returns on Sunday, there will be 22 games left on the schedule. It is safe to assume Steve Kerr will keep him on a minutes restriction for a few games as he gets his conditioning going.

Even though the roster is thin, Curry’s impact on the team can’t be understated. The guys around him will not only have an emotional lift, but he will raise their level of play just with his greatness.

The Warriors will play teams in playoff position 13 times over those final 22 games. Of the nine games against non-playoff teams, they have two against the Cavs and one against the Knicks.

The Timberwolves are without Karl Anthony Towns, the Knicks stink, while the Cavs have played better since parting ways with John Beilein, but them and the Hawks are sitting where they are for a reason. Do you have confidence that any of these teams will win six or more games down the stretch?

If two of them can get to 23 or 24 wins, that will be good enough to keep the Warriors in the bottom three.

Curry can win any game on any given night by going off for 40 and while we will enjoy and savor watching it, we have to hope it doesn’t cost the team in the lottery.