By Gabe Schapiro
In the final session in a series of Golden State Warriors players and staff being made available to the media, today general manager Bob Myers sat down to answer some questions.
A basic principle that Myers kept coming back to was the simple idea of working hard and success being a natural result. One of the first things he said to the gathered press was a Thomas Edison quote to illustrate the personal and organizational philosophy, “opportunity is often missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Elements of that idea entered into his answer for several questions that followed.
Among them was his answer about what to expect from the team this year. It was addressed yesterday by coach Mark Jackson, and has been a hot topic ever since the team made the splash signing of Andre Iguodala. With the season approaching and the excitement building, Myers’ answer, similar to Jackson’s, was based more in a fundamental idea of leaving it all on the court, and not in a number of wins. “It’s a razor’s edge between winning and losing. To define a goal and say if we don’t do this or that we’re not going to have a successful year, it isn’t the right way to analyze our success and what our goals should be. We should leave the season knowing that we did everything that we could to be successful.” He continued, “we have the aptitude. We need the attitude. We have the talent, but we have to work hard, and make sure we get everything we can out of that talent.”
Despite avoiding any kind of exclamation about a certain number of wins, it shouldn’t be mistaken that their ultimate goal is to win a championship. “The ultimate goal is to win the whole thing. That’s what you play for. You don’t go play anything and think, ‘well second, third, fourth, that would be fine.”
It’s pretty clear what their internal expectations are, but the external expectations from fans and the media can apply a different kind of pressure. It’s a pressure, however, that Myers welcomes. “Expectations are new, I think, for this organization in some capacity, but all of the good organizations have expectations. It is where you want to be…we’re in a place where we think we deserve those expectations.”
Beyond the overall team goals, Myers also covered what to expect from certain players, and how they have been looking during unofficial workouts. It’s no surprise that much of the emphasis continued to be on possibly their two most important players, Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry.
Regarding Bogut, Myers concurred with the many reports that he is looking very good. He described him as “the player we envisioned when we traded for him. This is the player that if you follow the NBA you would have seen three or four years ago.”
In explaining the differences from what we saw last season, Myers delved into the mental side of the game, and how much of an impact injuries can have. “He is just happier. It’s almost like you had an injury or a toothache that was there for a year, and all of a sudden it’s gone. You just feel better. You interact with people better, and it translates in your play.”
He had very similar sentiments about Curry. “I think he just feels good, his ankle feels good. A lot of the time when you’re injured or sore you don’t want to test your limits…If they’re not thinking about an injury, they’re probably playing better.”
Myers also talked a little about a couple of the Warriors young European newcomers, Nemanja Nedovic, the Warriors most recent first round pick, and Ognjen Kuzmic, a second round selection from 2012.
On Nedovic, Myers gave a brief description of what he has seen from him. “He was a little inconsistent which is normal for a young player, but he did show some flashes against some high level competition.” He went on to say that with the kind of depth the roster has heading into camp, it will be difficult for him to earn himself many minutes right off the bat, but that one way or another they will make sure he’s playing. “If we’re not finding minutes for him…then we’ll probably put him in Santa Cruz. Our philosophy as an organization, we all believe that you aren’t getting better at basketball unless you’re playing basketball. We’re big believers and proponents of the D league.”
For Kuzmic the biggest news was that they are still working on buying out his contract with his European club, but they are expecting that to be resolved by next week. He will be guaranteed a roster spot.
Finally, to wrap up his media session, Myers touched on the issues of managing players minutes, and who the starting five will be.
Last year, because of a lack of depth, in part due to some injuries, the Warriors really ended up leaning pretty hard on certain players. The hope heading into this season is that they’ve compiled enough depth to spread the minutes around more to preserve their key assets. “You get caught up in winning, that’s why minutes get up there… You could almost justify having a guy like Curry in there the whole game, he’s that good. But that’s not the best thing for the team long term. The nice thing we think, we hope, about this roster is that we’ve got options where you don’t have to go 40 plus minutes.”
The current roster has six players on it who were starters last year, meaning one is going to be relegated to sixth man duties. Myers had a simple answer; it’s a good problem to have. “It’s better to have six or seven guys who can start than only two, right?” He continued, “I think if you look at the teams who competed for a championship this year, the Spurs and the Heat, they both had some very good players coming off of the bench, whoever that may be for us….so to win at the highest level you might need 6, 7 guys who can start. Hopefully that’s what we have.”
For nailing down which players fill what roles, again Myers had a simple answer. “I fully trust his [Mark Jackson’s] judgment on that, I think we all do.”