Given the extent to which the Warriors‘ stars have been plagued by injuries since 2019, president of basketball operations Bob Myers admitted in a conversation with Mark Medina of NBA.com that he kept his expectations for this season in check, even though he liked the roster the team put together.
Now that the Warriors are once again in the Western Conference Finals and are just four wins away from appearing in the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years, Myers feels a sense of satisfaction about how far the team has come since its 15-50 season in 2019/20.
“What makes it most gratifying is how hard it is,” Myers told Medina. “Having a couple of years out of the playoffs was not fun. But I have a better appreciation for being here and where we are now.”
Myers’ discussion with Medina touched on a wide variety of topics, including Jordan Poole‘s emergence, the Warriors’ approach to the trade deadline, and Andre Iguodala‘s health. Here are a few highlights from the Q&A, which is worth checking out in full:
Myers on Poole’s breakout season and success in the playoffs:
“We saw the potential. But when we draft players (late in the first round), realistically it’s really hard to know where it’s going to go. We thought it was possible, but we didn’t know he would reach it. But credit to him and the coaching staff that put the time in to perfect his craft. I’m happy for him that he’s showcasing this on a big stage, showing his skill set and fitting in with guys that are leading him. He’s been great, and I don’t know if we’d be where we are without him. It’ll be interesting to see where it all keeps going.”
On the Warriors’ decision not to add another center prior to the trade deadline in February:
“The league is realizing that size is really important, but it’s more about positional size than size at the center spot. We didn’t have a great option available to us. Secondly, I was under the impression we would have James Wiseman. He was trending well. We thought he’d be back, ready to go and help us with that vertical space. That didn’t happen and his rehab hit a bump in the road post-deadline. That put us in a tough spot, and the (buyout) market was pretty dry. We had to march forward.
“Size still matters. But (Kevon) Looney’s been an unbelievable, steadfast guy that often gets overlooked. When we need to go bigger, Draymond (Green) and Looney have shown they can do it. They’re capable. They’re not seven feet tall, but they’re versatile, switchable and very smart. We found a way. We’ll see if it keeps working and if we continue to win.”
On Iguodala’s ongoing recovery from a neck injury:
“He’s frustrated. He wants to play. Frankly, he could help us. He’s trying to get back. Because he hasn’t been able to play, he’s used his voice and has been very vocal. He’s one of the most respected players in the league and is very, very bright. He communicates on the bench, whether it’s with our coaches, young players and our older players. That matters, especially as you go deeper in the playoffs.”