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Media Day Recap: “asshole” CP3, Saric-Curry DHO, Kuminga grew? + more
Warning: this is a super-massive Golden State Warriors Media Day recap. You’re probably gonna scroll past stuff. Go right ahead. Also, I had to use “a—hole” on YouTube to avoid getting flagged so I’ve decided to let it out here (unless someone is actually offended?).
I have divided up this tome by player, in “sort of/not really” chronological order of how the day unfolded and podium visits. We also had Bill Huang of Tencent on the livestream yesterday and we went through some feet-on-the-street observations. These are interspersed as it pertains to each player. After those initial thoughts, I’ve put the entire transcripts of the interviews below those, again for each player.
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There’s also transcriptions from Steve Kerr and Mike Dunleavy, Jr. from the pre-Media Day presser last Monday 9/25 as well as Kerr on 95.7 The Game from this past Friday, all at the very bottom.
Here’s the livestream from last night:
One of Huang’s main observations was that everybody’s older. You can see the vets’ wrinkles up-close. Another interesting thing: Bill was invited to a station with a robotic arm camera. The footage will be used for intros on the Jumbotron and the like. Everything is like a movie set, but the final production won’t be used until Opening Night. You can see this station in the behind-the-scenes video below.
Huang also noticed that the younger guys (at all Media Days) tend to stay quiet and humble. For example, Andrew Wiggins was running late, so Brandin Podziemski was waiting until a point he was hungry and asked a staffer for a sandwich.
Here are my Top Five highlights of #GSWMediaDay — more commentary is below in each section:
Stephen Curry saying Dario Saric automatically did a DHO (dribble-hand-off) with him in an early scrimmage.
Chris Paul being an “asshole” is good for journalists but especially (casual) fans.
Draymond Green was walking without a limp and said he’s a “fast healer”.
Jonathan Kuminga told Jason Dumas of KRON-TV that he feels like he grew (not to 7’2”, though, so maybe an inch?).
I wonder if Kevon Looney actually saw the video from the Philippines of Klay Thompson doing a little Michael Jackson dance, because Looney said the reception of the crowds was like that for MJ — I’d be shocked and it would be hilarious if Loon actually hasn’t seen that clip. That little dance is in this video, btw:
Here’s the behind-the-scenes video recap from Media Day:
Let us begin the massive recap. Again, my thoughts, the video embed, and the transcript, repeated over and over for each player:
• Nick DePaula, ESPN sneaker head and shoe industry expert, tweeted that Green had left Converse and returned to Nike. Converse is owned by Nike but is run separately. I suppose this allows Draymond to wear his buddy and business partner LeBron James’ signature shoes now.
• As previously mentioned, Dray did not walk with a limp during Media Day, as reported by Huang on our livestream and filmed by Anthony Slater of The Athletic while approaching the podium. Details of the injury were spelled out in our previous article before this. Dr. Nirav Pandya of UCSF tweeted that it was good news seeing the way Dray got up on the podium. However, Huang also said Draymond’s left ankle was heavily taped and at one point complained to a Warriors PR staffer that he’d already been there for five hours and didn’t feel like walking to the next multimedia station.
Q. What's going on with the ankle? How did you first suffer that injury, and how are you feeling now?
DRAYMOND GREEN: Was just playing pickup. I was going up for a lay-up, came down on JK's foot. But I feel good. I feel like I'm improving fast. I'm a pretty fast healer. I feel like I'm improving fast, and it's good. Didn't quite foresee this coming into the season, but everything happens for a reason.
I think I'm excited because we have a great performance team, and I'll be in even better shape whenever it is when I start playing than I even am in now with our performance team.
It's an opportunity for me to get better and to improve on some things that I've been working on, and when the time is there, get back out there and be ready to go and hit the ground running.
Q. You obviously twisted your ankle a few times. Is this as bad as you've ever twisted it?
DRAYMOND GREEN: No, I've had some bad ones. It could have been as bad -- thought it was going to be, especially initially. But I've had some bad ones. It's tough, but it's fine. It's not the end of the world.
Q. Grand scheme, how big of a setback do you view it as far as timing and right before camp and missing these practices?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I've missed the beginning of training camp before. It actually sucks because from that point on you feel like you're playing catch-up. I think the goal and the task is to put yourself in a space to where you're playing the least amount of catch-up that you could possibly play.
And so that's my goal, just to do everything that I can to where I'm not -- essentially use this time as wisely as I can so that I'm not totally playing catch-up. It obviously helps that I'm going into year 12 and I know what to expect. I know the task at hand.
I think it's a lot tougher as a young guy coming into training camp hurt. You're trying to learn. You're trying to get the speed of things, all these things going on. It's a whirlwind. For me, I've been around the block a few times. I'll get up to speed pretty fast and just try to make sure I'm a part of the practices, know everything that's going on.
Things change from year to year, so just try to be as much of a part of it as I can while still getting my work in and getting back as fast as I can.
Q. Following up on that, it is year 12 for you and Steph, Klay, you've been around those guys for a long time but with a different supporting cast. Chris coming here, how does this change the way you can keep up with things when there are inherently going to be some differences, Steve playing around with the lineup?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I think there's definitely going to be some differences, and I think one of the things that will be important to keep up with is Chris, because Chris will have his own view of how certain things should work, and like you just don't take that and throw it away. It's Chris Paul; he's one of the smartest players to play this game, so he's going to have some things, say some things, see some things that quite frankly nobody else may see or say.
So I think just from that perspective alone it's a difference. Like that's a totally different force to be reckoned with. Like I said, that'll come with some different things, some different vantage points. That'll come with, oh, man, I see y'all doing this this way. What do you think about doing it this way, and then you look at it like, Ah, that makes sense, wouldn't have thought it that. And all of a sudden something we've been doing this way changes.
I think just understanding all of those things will be important. And Steve, like you said, Steve will teeter with things during preseason. That is the time to do that.
But I think for us the goal is to get our foot in as quickly as we can, kind of settle into who we are, who we want to be as quickly as we can, and then go from there.
Q. Going back to what you were saying about Chris Paul, you've been the lead playmaker on this team, assist guy for a long time, but even with all that experience, what can you learn --
DRAYMOND GREEN: I don't see that changing now.
Q. That's not what where I was going. What can you learn from a guy like Chris Paul?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I think number one, for me to learn -- anytime you get to learn from a guy like Chris Paul, you're lucky. So for me, I'm looking forward to the opportunity. I have this saying, I always walk around talking to guys like, I see everything, I'm a point guard. It could be us sitting here and I see this thing like I'm a point guard, I see that.
But to actually have a guy like Chris Paul to learn from, the experience that he has, when you talk about mastering the point guard position, he mastered that position. He's one of the most incredible playmakers we've seen in this league.
It's funny because I was talking with a couple friends, Travis in particular, the other day, and we were sitting and talking with a couple of the young guys. I thought it was very interesting some of the things that the young guys had to say, and we was just talking about pickup.
A couple of the young guys was playing on Chris' team, and he was telling us some of the things that Chris was saying and doing with like him and Kuminga, and I was just sitting there, and Travis and I were sitting there looking at each other like, wow.
The first thing Travis said is, wow, I've got to teach TJ that. TJ is Travis' son, my nephew. He's like, I've got to teach TJ that. We weren't even sitting with Chris. Chris wasn't even in the same place we were.
But yet and still, we're sitting there essentially learning from Chris.
I think that is, A, something that you just can't quantify that because that is influence, and so, like I said, that's without Chris being there, so now imagine Chris there and the things that you get to learn.
Because what we learned in that situation, it was from Chris' perspective in a sense, but it wasn't from Chris. But yet you'll have Chris there to learn from.
Man, I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to learn from him. I think even in -- when I look at Chris' career, one thing he's been absolutely incredible at is bringing younger guys along, and that's something that I feel like I can be so much better at.
So to have someone like that to learn from I think is pretty incredible.
Q. Given Chris' personality, we know his impact on this league. Where do you fall on the starting lineup question? We know Steve has said we're going to see what it looks like. You had the best starting five in the league last year. Do you think Chris should be in the conversation to break that up a little bit?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I mean, you said it. We did have the best starting lineup in the league, so you can't ignore that. And yet you can't ignore Chris Paul is Chris Paul. He is very much so Chris Paul.
You have to take all of that into account, and then once you take all of that into account, I am a basketball player and not a coach, so it's not my job to figure it out. It's not my role.
But what I do know is whatever is best for this team is going to happen. What I do know is in spending time with these guys over the last month and a half and getting together and spending time together, the number one goal from everybody here would be to win.
When that is the number one goal of everybody that walks into this building, everything else you figure it out.
It won't always be my way. It won't always be Steph's way. It won't always be Chris' way. It won't always be Steve's way. Because when the number one goal when you walk into an arena, when you set out on a journey to do something and the number one goal is winning, it don't always go anyone in particular's way, and then you have to sacrifice things. That's what makes up a team.
What I can feel with this team already is that everyone who's walking in that door has a dedication to winning, and because of that, everything else that'll happen along the way is just a part of the journey. You figure those things out.
But in figuring those things out, you do what's best to reach the end goal, and I have no doubt in my mind that everyone who's here has that goal. And so I have no worries about a starting lineup, about a finishing lineup, about a second unit. I don't have any worries about that because those are all things that's just a part of the journey of what we want to ultimately do.
Q. You mentioned that everyone is on the same page, and last season there was obviously some disconnect with the team and chemistry was off. How much is that getting in some new faces, having a more veteran squad compared to the year prior?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I think having veterans definitely helps because there's just more of an understanding. I think anything that you do, when you're mixing this amount of experience with this amount of experience, there is a disconnect. You try to do all that you can to lessen that disconnect.
Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you fail. That's just the nature of it.
I think for us, you bring in more veterans. We are veterans. You bring in more veterans, guess what, you lessen the disconnect. It doesn't mean you can't -- Moses isn't a veteran, Kuminga is still not a veteran. Trayce isn't a veteran, BP isn't a veteran. You're still going to have guys that aren't veterans. That's an NBA team. You're always going to have guys that aren't veterans.
But I think when you start looking at adding a CP, adding a Dario, guys who -- proven veterans in this league, it changes things because ultimately the experience that guys have makes a huge difference in this league.
That's why guys get better as they go. You figure more things out. You figure schemes out. You figure how to work. You figure all of these things out.
So adding more veterans I think it shores up things. It lessens the room for error.
I think anything that you do, if you can lessen the room for error of something, you're trying to do that, and I think adding veterans for us helps.
Q. Steve said last week that he felt like last year you might have come in with your foot off the gas, having won the championship, short summer, everything. In retrospect do you feel that way, and do you feel a different kind of sense of urgency or that your time together, the three of you especially, is shrinking? Do you feel a different sense of urgency this year?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I think anytime you're coming off a championship, a sense of urgency won't be what it will become when you're not coming off a championship. I don't even get into the space of trying to compare the two because it's just really not a realistic comparison. As a human being, one of the things that we all fight as human beings when we have success is complacency. It's a natural thing.
Because you worked so hard to reach the mountain top, and when you reach the mountain top, you can appreciate that. The time that you spend appreciating it is time that you don't spend getting better. It's just a very natural thing.
In anything that you do, if you're not spending that time getting better, you're getting worse. When you win a championship and you're spending your time appreciating winning that championship, which we all do, which you should do, by the way, because who's working to get to the mountain top to only not appreciate it, then what's the point of getting there, and you should never get there again because you didn't even appreciate being there.
So I think for us, we reached the mountaintop a couple years ago, and you're coming off that, your foot isn't on the gas. Small things that you may stop when you're not on the mountain top, you let slide. You let those things slide, small issues become big issues. Sometimes you can correct them; sometimes you can't.
I think for us going through this so many times we understand that. Last year the season did not end how we wanted it to end. You're going to come back naturally even more motivated when that happens if you're competitors when you don't have the success that we've had if you're not competitors.
I think for us, it's a natural thing for us to come in more focused this year than we came in last year. I don't really necessarily take that as a knock. Like I said, it's human nature.
But I do think it's important, and I can see that, that everyone comes in locked in, ready to get off to a good start, because that will determine how the rest of our year goes.
Everyone is definitely more focused.
The way I view it is sometimes you have to lose to win. Last year we lost, and I think it set us up to put us in a better position to win this year.
Q. You're on record saying that you did not like Chris Paul. How has your perspective on that changed since you've been able to work with him, play with him, if at all?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I've had some conversations with him, with Chris, over the last couple months that I haven't necessarily had, not only with Chris, but just in my career.
I've said this before, too, on the record. He's one of the smartest guys in this league, when you talk basketball IQ. I've said on record, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, like I've said that on record a million times.
Number one, we've had conversations, basketball conversations that I've just been excited to have because it's sitting and speaking with the guy with an IQ level of a Chris Paul. For me I can get basketball geeky at times. I love the game of basketball. I think one of my best attributes as a basketball player is my IQ.
In speaking to a high-IQ guy like Chris, for me that's everything. Like that's gold. We've been able to share in those conversations. We've been able to share in a bunch of conversations. We've been collaborative on things, things that you do with teammates we've been doing.
In doing that, you start to get to know people outside of just what you're doing as far as basketball goes.
I'm starting to get -- I've started to get to know Chris better. I didn't know Chris at all outside of competing with him.
If you've ever watched Chris compete, he's kind of an asshole. He may say the same thing about me, and that's okay.
But he's also one of the most competitive guys that I've played against over my 11 years in this league. I'm also an extremely competitive guy, and I'm not backing down from anyone, he's not backing down from anyone. That will bring some clashes, and it has brought plenty of them.
When you look at the last seven, eight years in the NBA, Chris Paul is right at the center of all of it. And guess what? So are we, and we weren't on teams. If there wasn't any hate, then everybody would get to talking like, oh, man, those guys are too friendly, or why are they working out together, this, that, in today's NBA.
But then when you have competitors hating each other, then that's like, oh, man, they hate each other; how is that even possible? You've got to pick a side. You either want us to be friends and all work out together and everybody accept it, or you want us to hate each other. In this case, we competed. We're trying to get championships, Chris was trying to get championships. And guess what? When you're competing for that at the level that we've competed for that, that sometimes brings hate because we're going after the same thing, and that definitely had brought that between us.
But look at the runs we were on. Houston was right at the center of that. The Clippers were right at the center of that. Phoenix was right at the center of that.
So you look at -- been in the league 11 years, we've been competing on a championship level for eight. He's at the center of six of them. Of course there's going to be some animosity, and there was a lot of it.
Now, in saying that, we're dogs. We're men. We have an opportunity to go do something special together. Would never let that go by the wayside.
Just getting to know Chris and seeing how he operates, seeing how he moves, how he carries himself, how he walks in the gym every day. Like it makes sense of why he is who he is, why he's had the success that he's had. I'm growing to know that. I'm learning from that. I don't think you're ever too good or have done too much to learn from someone.
Chris Paul has been in this league, what, 18 years? Definitely somebody I can learn from. I'm excited about it.
We're growing in more facets than one. It's been an incredible start to it.
I know, like I said, for both of us, the goal is to win, and I know he wants to win, as we all know, and my goal is to do all that I can to make sure I help him win. And anything that happened before that, it happened. It definitely doesn't change our past.
Like us becoming teammates doesn't change the things that's happened in the past. We have battled and battled for sure, but I think the part I'm most excited about is you now get to know the person.
I know for myself and where I can probably relate to Chris, most people probably hate me that don't know me. I think if you get to know me, you don't necessarily hate me, but if you don't know me you definitely hate me, and Chris has definitely got some of that himself. If you don't know him, you probably hate him. You get to know him and you realize there's a competitor and a person.
But hey, it's not always easy to see that when you're in the heat of the battle. When you step outside the heat of the battle you can separate these two things, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to separate the two things.
Q. The front court, there's plenty of conversation if you guys are big enough. I know you guys brought in veteran centers, including Dwight. Do you think in this conference you guys have enough size?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I mean, they said we didn't have enough size in 2022 and we won. I've been told I wasn't the right size forever, and I've won. I'm never going to hear something and be like, they don't have enough size to win because I can show you where we didn't have enough size, and we won.
In saying that, I'm not totally against having another big, you know. But at the end of the day, I think Mike Dunleavy has done an incredible job of filling impossible shoes. You go from Bob Myers who's coming and had the most success of any general manager, not only for sure in this organization but more success than probably 98 percent of general managers in NBA history, and then you're tasked to follow that up.
It's impossible shoes to fill, yet I think Mike is doing an incredible job. He's transparent. He's up front. He'll have a conversation. Whether you think that conversation is tough or not, he's showing that he's willing to have those conversations, and he's doing the job.
When someone comes in and is doing the job like Mike, the number one thing that Mike has to do is come in and create trust, and every move that he's been making and moves that he hasn't made, but communicating with us and making sure we're in the know, that we know certain things I think is incredible. I think he's doing an incredible job.
Just to get back to your main question, which is do I think we need a big, I don't think we need anything. I think anything we need we've got right here.
Would a big be beneficial for us? I don't see it hurting us. I think it definitely could add a benefit. Lakers are huge. Like that's who we lost to. So if you look at someone and you're like, this is who we lost to, where do we need to improve, probably need a little bit more size. Doesn't mean we're necessarily going to lose again if we don't get the size, but it may help, so we'll see where it goes.
Mike has got my support 100 percent. I think he's been a pleasure to work with, even in my deal and going through that with Mike and different things. It was incredible.
So he got my support, and whatever he does, he does. I'm going to support that, and I'm going to do my job as a player, too. If I feel, oh, man, we could have had more size, well, I can't affect that. And I ain't talking about us signing -- I can affect the outcome. I'd rather focus my time on affecting the outcome than focus my time on affecting who comes. That ain't my job.
Pause. Have a good one.
• The onslaught of Warriors multimedia for the day began with ClutchPoints reposting Jim Ice’s post on Instagram of Paul in a Warriors uniform while standing in some neighborhood, dated 9/22/2023 by “Ice”, who is a long-time NBA social media guy. CP3 then alluded to that as a new State Farm commercial that he filmed recently, while answering questions on the podium.
• The best thing CP said in the Q&A was that he’s come off the bench for Team USA in 2008, then Looney later on also said he doesn’t care if he (Looney) starts or not — scroll down way below to the Looney section for that.
• I thought CP3 saying he had always wanted to play with Kevin Garnett after getting double-T’ed up on occasion with him was very telling of his measured excitement of playing next to Dray.
• Asked about his basketball intelligence, CP said it’s probably because he’s “vertically challenged”. Bill confirmed that he’s 6’1” in person, maybe can pass as 6’2” with shoes. Both Huang and I like how Paul can throw in a little humility every now and then and as a seasoned vet, answers questions like an adult on contrast to the rest of the very youthful NBA.
• On CP3 being an “asshole”, Bill remembers how, off-the-court, Andre Iguodala at Oracle just acted like a regular dude after a game, clocking out — “when they're on the court, they're super-humans”. Huang also made the following hot take: Paul is a bigger free agent signing than Iguodala was.
• CP tiptoed the line of “asshole” on a question about the ongoing Steve Kerr buzzword of “connectivity”. Paul cut off the reporter’s question twice by saying he does not listen to outside noise. On the flipside, I kinda of like the fact that he has a sharp edge. Very strong-minded, just like with Kevin Durant and David West in the past, reporters will have to come prepared, aware of boundaries and probably not too much joking around and establishing rapport type of stuff. This also will trickle down to the (casual) fans, which is good “tough love” education, imo.
• All the talk about CP “unlocking” JK and other fill-in-the-blank young guys was met by more Paul deflection, as he stripped it to the core by saying he’s just a “hooper” at heart and everything flows from that. It got me to thinking that CP3 should be able to carve up NBA second units. Almost everyone seems to be underestimating this acquisition (credit to the one pundit on Twitter who isn’t: Shane Young of Forbes Sports, who started as an LA Clippers reporter).
Q. We've heard about these work outs and how you were insistent on getting up here. What was that like and why did you want to go through this and what were those workouts like?
CHRIS PAUL: First of all, how you doing. I'm sorry, say that one more time. What's your question?
Q. Just the off-season workouts that we've heard about with you coming up here and getting Steph there and the young guys. Why did you think they were important and what did you get out of them?
CHRIS PAUL: Believe it or not, it's not my first time being traded on another team. So it's parts of it. But anything, you change jobs, anything, going into a new environment, you want to be around the guys; the only way you get a chance to know each other.
It was cool. We got a chance to hoop, spend a lot of time together, and we've still got a lot of work to do. But I hate it for anybody who show up to Media Day and say "what up" for the first time and not know nobody. It make it tough on you.
Q. Back during Summer League, you held the Warriors jersey in your hand and said you never thought you would see the day. Now going through Media Day, actually got the uniform on and have had workouts this summer with your new teammates, how has this transition been for you to this organization?
CHRIS PAUL: It's going. It's going. It's been going really well. First time I actually put the uniform on was for my new State Farm commercials.
It's a transition with anything. You know, just even Media Day when you're saying "Dove Nation" here and there, I didn't -- that's not been a sound I didn't like to hear for the past, I don't know how many years (laughing).
But getting here, seriously, communicating with Raymond, getting to know E and all the different people that work here with the team, it makes it a lot more personable, you know what I mean.
So it's not like I'm just walking past Raymond before the games or what not, just sort of side-eyes each other. You get to know everybody here on a more personal experience and I think that's been really cool.
Q. You obviously probably know the starting lineup question is coming.
CHRIS PAUL: No? (Feigning surprise).
Q. How much does that matter to you?
CHRIS PAUL: For me, I actually had an opportunity in '08 to come off the bench for the Olympic Team, you know what I mean, and that went pretty well. I think anybody who knows me knows I'm all about winning, you know what I mean. Whatever I can do to help our team win. I know Coach and us, we are going to talk about it and see what it likes like.
We've been hooping all summer. I think for the season, you know, it's going to be whatever to help our team win and I think I've at least tried to show or proven that my entire career, so yeah.
Q. Steve and Mike have made it so clear what a big sign Dario was, you guys have history together. Why is he so important to this team and why is he a good combination for you as well?
CHRIS PAUL: Dario just a great dude, great teammate. He was a big part of our Phoenix team until he got injured, and I think we got a lot of guys on our team who sort of play with a chip on their shoulder or something to prove.
Dario, just when I knew I was coming here and I talked to Mike about the opportunity to play with Dario here, you know, some guys just fit a team really well. I think with the way that we want to play, Dario fits that.
Q. You were just speaking a little bit ago about how you never thought this day, you would have to say go Warriors and all these things. When Draymond was in here, he spoke for about five minutes on the evolution of your guys' relationship. So from your perspective and point of view, how would you describe the evolution of your relationship with Draymond and Steph, Klay, Steve, all these guys here?
CHRIS PAUL: It's been a lot. It's been a lot. Even with Dray. We've been the craziest competitors against each other for a long time. There's a lot of things that's said here and there. I tend to deal with things a lot more privately, you know, so we talked, went to lunch, had a great conversation, all these different things. But also with all the different guys, Steph, Klay -- I told you, Klay had guarded me for years. We was playing pick up the other day and he guarded me and I looked up and I said, we don't do this no more.
It's funny, man, life is crazy. Willy green who is like a brother to me actually became an assistant coach years ago here, and it kind of changed the dynamics of our relationship for a little while, you know what I mean. But it's funny how life happens. But everyone here, all the guys, Steve, everybody, has been great, and we all are trying to build.
Q. Everybody talks about you as the elder statesman and all this experience and how much they can learn from you. What do you think you can learn from the guys?
CHRIS PAUL: A lot. A lot. I think that's what's been cool. I know when you come into the league, you hope to play with one team your whole career. It's only been a few guys that's ever got the opportunity to do that. I was hoping I would do that with New Orleans, you know, but actually a really cool part of my career is the fact that I've played with other teams and other great players, so I've been able to learn how to do things, not just a certain way. I've had an opportunity to play with Blake Griffin, played with David West, played with James Harden, Shai, you know, and then I got a chance to play with Devin the last few years.
So being here with this great group of talent; me and Steph was in the gym together last night, and it's just fun when you're working out with guys, because you think you know things. So even with JK and some of the younger guys, you can always learn in this league, and that's what brings the excitement and that's what makes it fun.
Q. Along those lines, the Warriors have been in your package in recent seasons.
CHRIS PAUL: You sure? (Laughs).
Q. What have been your observations about how this group operated, and when guys went down, whether it was Draymond or Steph or Klay for a couple years what they were able to do and your observations from the outside looking in and now being part of it?
CHRIS PAUL: You know, it's funny, even though there's 30 teams in this league, this league is pretty small. Just the way this league work, you always know somebody in the locker room. You know a coach. You know someone close to every organization in the league, especially if you've been around as long as I have.
But you never know until you get inside and you get inside that locker room and you see what it's like.
You know, you come around and you see the different people that help on a daily basis, and you get to know the guys and you understand why they won. You know, everybody plays a role.
It's funny, Dray is always sort of this villain. You know, he was damn sure one when I was on another team. But you get a chance to be around a team and you see what he means to this team, what he means to this organization, and everybody plays their part. And that's why team sports and teams work, it's because -- you know, got a friend of mine, Killer Mike, who always says, "When everybody does a little, no one has to do a lot." That's what I hope to bring to this team.
Q. In addition to Draymond talking about the high-profile matchups that you guys have had that were so competitive, he also said that you're a big influence on the younger players. Is that something that you consciously do, and if so, how can you help them with your years of experience?
CHRIS PAUL: It's not. Like I come in here and say, what the young guys doing every day. It's just, I mean, for my life, I have always been vertically challenged, so I've never been a power forward or a center. I've always played point guard or in football I was a quarterfinal or I was the union president and all this stuff. So you understand, like with leadership, you've got to bring everybody along.
In order for our team to be good, we can't be the vets over here and the young guys over there. It takes a team. We all have our strengths; we all have our weaknesses. I think one of my strengths is always to try, at least try, ain't always perfect, but at least try to make sure I bring people together.
Q. Along those same lines, at the end of last season when it ended the way they didn't want it to and at the beginning of this season, there's been a lot of talk about chemistry and connectivity between the players. As someone coming in from the outside, did it look wrong to you, the chemistry with this team?
CHRIS PAUL: Yeah, I'm going to be honest with you -- not to cut you off, but I don't listen to what nobody say on the outside or what it was supposed to be. I can only go by my experience.
CHRIS PAUL: So it ain't like I came in searching for what's this, what's that. It's people. You know, so I can never go by what was said this, that and the third.
Q. Well, Steve said it. But I'm just wondering, is it something that you emphasize? Like how do you do that as a leader? How do you bring people together?
CHRIS PAUL: I don't know what Steve said, you know what I'm saying. What I'm telling you, I can only go by my experience.
I think the biggest thing that's helped me with leadership over the years is experience, right. So different situations that I've been in, they don't always go perfect but I know I try and the biggest thing that you can do with anybody is to spend time with them, real time with them. So that's that.
Q. Welcome to the Bay?
CHRIS PAUL: Yes, sir. Thank you.
Q. Draymond was up here a minute ago saying, they look at me outside and think I'm an a-hole. They look at Chris, they think he an a-hole. Do you think having both you guys on this team in that role with that reputation can be, I don't know, motivational or in any way an advantage against other teams?
CHRIS PAUL: We going to find out. You know, serious, like I've said this a number of places. The one person I wish I would have got an opportunity to play with my entire career and I never did was Kevin Garnett, right. And that's because the first three times I played against KG, we both got double-techs, right, because we both played with the same intensity. I never really played other than sort of Tyson and D-West.
But I never really played with big men that protected your guards, you know what I mean, where you don't have to get into s---, you know what I mean, I just sort of did it myself.
I'm excited, even though the way it's been for years and whatnot with Draymond, I'm excited about being on the same team with him.
Q. A few people have specifically mentioned Kuminga as a guy they think you can help. Your thoughts on his game and his talent and where basketball-wise you think you might be able to help him?
CHRIS PAUL: JK can hoop, man. We done have some great moments in pick up and all that stuff but I'm going to tell you straight up, I'm a hooper. Like, of course I may be able to help JK, but everybody, you know what I mean on the team. But I feel like those guys going to be able to help me.
So I'm going to tell you, I'm not like a guy who is coming in like, oh, this is just my focus. I'm here to hoop and to play and that's the way I am. That's the way I've always been and that's not changing.
Q. On a much lighter note, what did it feel like today putting on that uniform, and as you guys build chemistry, did your teammates give you some jokes about seeing you in that uniform for the first time?
CHRIS PAUL: My teammates? What that's all I hear, you know what I'm saying, from the coaches to everybody, Q, one of the assistant coaches, every time I show up to practice and anything, he just Pat me on the back and tell me how good this looks on me.
I remember the first day I came here, I took a picture of my locker and the uniform and the jersey, and I put it in my family group chat, and even in the group chat with all my homies and my friends, they are saying, "Oohh, damn, that's going to take some getting used to." So it's definitely been a process.
But the coolest part of about it has been hooping. Basketball, for years, for a lifetime just been a connector, you know what I mean. Once we get out on the court, that's the last thing that's on my mind or any other guy's mind. That's sort of like the safe haven.
Q. The one thing always said about you is your basketball intelligence. It's one thing to talk about the outside watching a player but how do you define that basketball intelligence label on you? What does that mean when people say that about you from your perspective?
CHRIS PAUL: Probably just mean I ain't that athletic, you know what I mean. I have to use that to get by.
But no, I mean, I love this game, right. I study this game a lot. I watch games all day every day. It's an art to it. It's a way I express myself. Like I said, it's sort of a safe haven, so I love to hoop. I love to play basketball.
Yeah, I think that basketball intelligence just comes from always watching and looking and learning. Like someone asked earlier, when you come to a new team with something like that, there's different plays or sets or whatnot. So always being able to learn.
• Steph doesn’t like to commit to things — nor jinx them — because over the years he’s learned how to make decisions only when he needs to, and there’s really no need to commit to Team USA for the 2024 Olympics right now, but he heavily leaned toward saying yes, but it might have been because LeBron and KD literally said yes at their respective media days a few hours earlier.
• Incidentally, as I’ve written on this website in a previous article, Steph has his Underrated Golf Tour making a stop in Europe next summer. I mean, Paris does make sense!
• Like the rest of us, Curry found the Jim Ice pic of CP3 in a neighborhood rather odd, especially as the aggregator ClutchPoints didn’t really do any investigation as to whether or not the photos were taken that morning as part of Media Day (as mentioned, they weren’t), but then Steph had an “Aha!” moment on the podium as the State Farm commercial was revealed. Give an assist to Chris Alvarez of ABC7 for that. He seems to always ask the questions that LGW followers would want to know.
• I’m probably going to do a TikTok clip of Steph lauding Saric’s natural DHO instincts, as mentioned in the Top Five highlights above, as that was my overall favorite quote of the day.
• Curry seemed to have won some kind of speed-putting contest (see our behind-the-scenes video above), but according to Franco Finn who was there emceeing the moment, it was against Gary Payton II. I’m just glad it wasn’t a fan contest because no one is going to be able to hit an incredible eight putts up a steep hill in fifteen seconds! Fwiw, GP2 seemed to be as celebratory as everyone else on the scene, as would anyone with knowledge of how amazingly talented Steph is with a golf club.
• Speaking of commercials, Ryan B on our YouTube livestream mentioned that Steph and Canon Curry should do a remake of the Burger King commercial Steph did with dad Dell Curry back in the day.
Q. What is it really like to see Chris Paul, to be scrimmaging with him, talking to him on the phone as a teammates. Has it hit you here that it's a real thing yet or has sunk in that he's here?
STEPH CURRY: Yeah, it's sunk in for sure. We got through all the pleasantries in the summer. We got together multiple times with the whole team.
Definitely is weird. Obviously you go through battles for years, and you kind of acknowledge the awkwardness of it at first. But the fact that he is who he is in terms of his career, the way that he's competed at the highest level for so long; the fact that he's motivated to help us do what we need to do this year, the way that he's approached everything has been awesome.
So there's probably going to still be moments when you get to points in the games in the regular season where you see him out here and it's like, oh, yeah, he's with us. But I think the bigger picture is that he is approaching everything the right way, and we're excited to have him. We're excited to see what changes and ways we can adapt to him in the lineup and different rotations that we can put out there.
He just knows how to play basketball, we know that, and excited to put it together.
Q. How does Klay look to you this summer and how do you feel about where he's at entering the season?
STEPH CURRY: He looks great. I know it's mostly just comparing to his experience last summer, and I think it's night and day different, even the way he's talking, by the way he approached it, and the progress that he's going through this year or this off-season; the confidence that he has in himself and his body to hit the ground running starting tomorrow in practice and leading through training camp and preseason.
So it's always a great sign when he's locked in mentally and physically, and to take advantage of the off-season, it's hard work. It's a lot of reps and a lot of commitment to the unglamorous stuff that we have to do in the off-season to prepare your body and the fact that he's speaking that game, and saying that he put the time in and it's showing in the way that we've seen him on the court makes a big difference.
Q. Have you ever played with a point guard like Chris, and what do you think playing alongside him is going to do for you?
STEPH CURRY: Well, Jason Richards back at Davidson College was the first point guard that I got to play with that was kind of pass-first and playmaker and distributor and I played off of him. That was my first two years in college, and then I was a go-to point ever since.
So never really had a guy that necessarily was with his -- with CP's skillset and the way he's elevated teams his whole career. But the beauty of the way me and Klay can play off the ball; we had Jarrett Jack for a while in the sense of, he had the ball in his hands a lot.
But obviously CP is a Hall of Famer, and we know just the talent that he is, will give us different looks. It should be pretty easy to -- whether it's from whatever lineup you're out there with or from possession-to-possession who is initiating the offense for us to kind of work off each other because in theory, again, we all understand the game and know spacing and know how to cut, how to play off of each other, our skillset to be able to shoot will open up hopefully a lot of lanes. We've got to figure out defensively in how we want to match up and all those type of things but it should be a good challenge.
Q. You've obviously been through a lot of NBA off-seasons. Are you a guy that likes to find one routine and kind of stick with it because it works or do you like to change things up to keep it fresh over the summer?
STEPH CURRY: It's a little bit of both. Change of scenery is always nice. I have my guys that I work out with and I have for over a decade, so you evolve in terms of your strategy and what you're trying to accomplish.
I think the deeper you get into your career, you realize you have to do a lot more a little bit often if that makes sense in terms of, I didn't take too much time off after the Lakers series, but it's not like you're killing yourself every day, seven-hours, eight-hour days. It's mostly just trying stay as consistent as possible so that you never really get out of shape. You just always stay primed but still find ways to get rest.
But it's always nice to shock the system a little bit with trying new things and new approaches to your on-court workout, stuff that you do in the weight room. You know what your bread and butter is and what works in terms of your routine, but you kind of have to listen to your body, too, to know what it needs, and that's the challenge of trying to extend your prime for as long as you can, and being honest with yourself about what work needs to go into your routine to prepare yourself for a season.
Q. I think LeBron and KD today committed to the Olympics. Sounds like you were part of those conversations at least at some point in the summer. Are you ready to commit to the Olympics yet or do you know?
STEPH CURRY: I talked to some people about the opportunity, and definitely if all things stay the same, I want to be playing. It's the one thing I haven't done, and I also understand the opportunity for Team USA to kind of reassert themselves as dominant in the world and all that type of stuff.
Definitely want to be there. Definitely want to be on the team. Hopefully things line up that way where we're all there.
Q. And Warriors-wise, and it wasn't a full roster reconstruction over the summer but you tweaked around the edges and with Chris. What are your thoughts on what you're bringing this year?
STEPH CURRY: There's always excitement as players. That's what we control is the ability to have confidence in yourselves and what -- who is in the locker room and what we all bring and the fact that we all can compliment each other. That confidence I think goes a long way.
We have a certain way of playing that we've -- we know has led to success and we want to continue to double-down on that.
But I think we are all in a position to know, we have a lot to figure out in terms of what those new looks, like CP, what Dario brings, Cory Joseph, guys that have been around the league for a long time, and again, are veterans, know how to play, true professionals, how we all gel and what that chemistry looks like when it comes to actually in between the lines.
Training camp, we say it every year, and for different reasons, this year it's because we have new faces that are going to be important pieces to our actual rotation on a nightly basis but training camp is going to be huge for us to make sure we're giving ourselves a great chance to get off to a great start. Because compared to last year, that was a big thing, a big hurdle to overcome, our road woes that we had at the start of the season, and the difference between 18-2 two years ago and where we were last year; we liked the former experience a little bit better.
Q. Otto Porter, Jr. was an important piece for you guys two years ago. Can you see Dario having a similar impact, and what might excite you the most about playing with Dario?
STEPH CURRY: I mean, they are two different guys. I hate to do a comparison but that is a role that you need in terms of a guy that can space the floor, a guy that can obviously knock down open shots.
He presents a bit of size for us, as well, and he also, just -- again, he kind of knows how to play in a motion-style offense. He's doing it a little bit in his international play over the summer but even back in Phoenix when he was there in CP, talked to him about the way he sees the game; it's very similar to the way we play.
Playing pickup the other day and somebody threw him the ball, and he did an immediate DHO with me and I didn't have to say anything. It was like one of those pieces of just playing good basketball that he figured out and knows without you having to tell him. So that's a good start on a role that we really need because he understands just how to play. When you can shoot and you know how to play and you fill a position of need for us, that's huge for us.
Q. Chris just joked that he saw himself in a Warriors uniform for the first time during a state form commercial?
STEPH CURRY: He said what?
Q. He said the first time he put the Warriors uniform?
STEPH CURRY: That's why hes with a in the neighborhood that, street? I was trying to figure that out, where was he at. Okay. Makes sense now.
Q. What do you think of him in that uniform?
STEPH CURRY: It looks good. It looks good. I like it, as opposed to the opposition for sure.
Q. That all being said, you've played your whole career in one uniform. You love history of the game. How important is it for you to have done everything in a Warriors uniform and continue and finish as a Warrior for life, hopefully with Draymond and Klay as you guys keep going for championships?
STEPH CURRY: I said it before; it means everything. I'm in my 15th year. No need for a change of scenery at this point. Just a matter of, like you said, be in a position where it's not a ceremonial thing. We're really here to win, and I'm doing everything I can to continue to be a leader on that front and perform at a high level and put ourselves to be in position to be championship contenders.
You know, you can't control everything and you can't guarantee anything in this league, and every team is trying to get better. That's the nature of the competition, but if I can keep doing that every year, and like you said, still represent this organization, all that we've built. It's a dream come true.
Q. Curious what sparked your interest in the Mac Dre documentary, and secondly, can you talk about some of your favorite moments, not family involved over the summer that you enjoyed the most? I saw you on Hot Ones; I saw you in Toby's video. You were really busy. So back to the Mac Dre question first.
STEPH CURRY: I mean, having played in Oakland for ten years, and understood the history of the city, obviously from music industry to rap game, the culture that exists there, Mac Dre's story is a special one and kind of embodies a lot of what the spirit of Oakland is. Obviously I never met him. But the things we're doing in the media space to be able to tell the stories that need to be told and to be a part of projects that speak to individuals that change the game, that is what I'm about.
So we're just giving a platform to hopefully tell his story in the most meaningful, impact way, with his family, everybody that knew him, worked with him, people that were influenced by him. It's creating that platform and that opportunity for that story to be told. It's an easy one, and I know looking forward to the project whenever it's ready to come out.
In the summer, it was special, kind of in the same vein. Basketball was opening a lot of doors and I had some amazing experiences on the golf course with family and traveling and all that, all the while, making sure I'm preparing for this season. A lot of it is kind of exposed for the world. Some of it wasn't. But I had a lot of fun, and you know, summer's over now.
Q. Obviously Draymond signs the extension, he's going to be here for a long time. You're going to be under contract for a long time but Steve and Klay are both entering their final years. How important is it to you to see those guys sign long-term relatively soon?
STEPH CURRY: If it was my decision, they would be here forever. Like that's part of, again, what we've built and the confidence that we have of what's ahead of us.
So I know how the business works and timing of everything matters; contracts, negotiations and conversations with get a little murky at times.
But I think at the end of the day, take Draymond's situation, for example. I mean, different narratives came out of that for the last two years of what was going to happen with him and where he was going to be mand is this his last year and all that. Try not to get too caught up in the day-to-day of that, and just understand how much he means to this organization and thankfully got it done. Hope the same and know the same will happen with Steve and with Klay.
I would say our job is to go out and make that an easy decision. That's what we're about.
Q. Draymond said that there's a different sense of urgency in the off-season after a championship year versus a non-championship year. How did you feel that sense of urgency heading into this off-season or a difference in urgency?
STEPH CURRY: Yeah, four extra weeks to work with and you're watching basketball, you're not used to that. Usually if you're in the Finals, however it plays out, that's the end of it. When you're watching it, it just gives you a different motivation and different fuel to the fire.
To me, that's really all you really need. That's the start of the journey of how are you approaching this off-season; what's the goal, not just individually how you're preparing yourself mentally and physically but as a team, how are we making the most of the time. We got together I think three times this summer as a group. Played pickup. Hung out. Tried to create a bond that can transition into training camp and the rest of the season, and hopefully that makes a difference with how we start the year.
But trying to do everything you can to control, or control the controllables, if you will, on what will put us in position to be successful this year knowing what we do is hard. There's high expectations and a standard that we've set over the course of these years, and we have to continue to try to live up to it.
Q. Congratulations on the hole-in-one.
STEPH CURRY: Appreciate it.
Q. Callaways work for you in Dubai?
STEPH CURRY: A little muggy, but we got it done.
Q. Incorporating rookies has been a challenge playing with the style of the Warriors. Can you tell us how you'll help Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis find minutes this year to help you guys out?
STEPH CURRY: The message is always your opportunities, you don't know when they are going to come, and to be in a position where you can be prepared for that opportunity and understand what impacts winning basketball.
Like it's a hard lesson to learn as a young guy because you have a certain way, a certain style of play maybe that got you to this point. You have a certain way of seeing the game that you're comfortable with but you might be asked to do something entirely different.
Podziemski maybe was a go-to scorer and Mr. Do It All for Santa Clara last year, and he might just be asked to lock up 94 feet and just turn a guy four or five times for two to three minutes a game or he might be asked to do more. He might be asked to show up in practice and challenge us to get better.
Like whatever he's asked to do, you have to be able to respond to that, and it's not glamorous at times. It's not easy but it sets you up for the next stage of increasing your role.
If you buy into it, and Coach is very straightforward when it comes to that, that's the situation, and the regular season will reward you in the long run.
So hopefully whatever that is, they can buy into it and understand it will help us win and when we win, everybody wins.
Q. Draymond was in here earlier talking about how Chris is one of those guys on the other team, he's one of the hated guys on the other team. This team, he's the hated guy. You've got two of those guys on one team. Can that work in a positive way for the team's general intensity over the course of the season, having two guys that bring it like that?
STEPH CURRY: For sure it will help us internally. Understanding, like, the vibe in practice, the sense of accountability, and making sure all the energy is put towards winning.
And then if those two guys can focus that energy on the court when it comes to games, doing exactly that, making everybody hate them and making us love them, I know they can keep each other accountable to that energy, as well. That's going to make a huge difference and give them an edge and give us an edge.
The one thing is I know they have been pretty open about talking about it to each other, like how they are going to try to help each other out on that front. Because neither one of them is not going to stop talking, and that's a good thing as long as it's channelled in the right direction.
Q. You had a relatively long off-season compared to previous off-seasons. How do you balance training, doing what you want to do away from training and not over-training? How do you find that balance?
STEPH CURRY: I mean, experience helps. Just because you know how to listen to your body. First thing is you need a strategy going in, and it's not just me looking at a piece of paper looking at the calendar saying, this is what I need to do, I have some very -- I have some experts in the fields that can kind of guide you in terms of what needs to -- what boxes need to be checked throughout the off-season so that you do exactly what you said. Know you're prepared but you don't need to feel like you're in the gym for eight hours a day, which might have some diminished returns on that front.
It's a little bit of both, understanding what you're trying to get out of the summer and talking to the right people to help design what that looks like and then staying accountable to that process throughout the summer. Knowing those are the hardest moments when you get a little bit further away from the season but so far away from when training starts, those days, middle of July, August, are hard because it kind of get a little monotonous; and the distractions of the fun of the summer can kind of creep in, too. So you have to have the balance of everything.
Q. Do you feel like a youngin' with two guys, two teammates now, in their late 30s, a little bit?
STEPH CURRY: CP and Rudy, that's right. Two guys that I've known for a very long time, and I've never seen them -- they have been older bro, but never seen them like that, so it's kind of weird. I've known both of them since I was in high school. So it's going to be fun to -- yeah, fight Father Time for as long as we can but not talk about it too much because we still feel young.
Q. And what can Rudy do for Kuminga and what kind of opportunities do you see for Kuminga and being able to lean on Rudy's experience a little bit?
STEPH CURRY: I think JK is going to help himself by doing everything he knows he needs to do. There's no secret anymore. It's just going out and competing at a high level, using his athleticism, his understanding of the game and what these last three years have shown him to say, okay, it's time to take that next step.
There's going to be opportunity for him, a lot of guys. Rudy, what he learned from Andre last year, the last two years, to you go down the list in our locker room, he can find something to pick from anybody in terms of perspective. But all that matters is him going out and having confidence in himself. He's put in a lot of work this summer.
Super excited for him to come in and find his way and do it consistently. I know everybody has confidence in him to do that. It's not just on one person it's happening to. It's for him to just step into his role and do it to the best of his ability.
• This was a rather subdued interview as Klay podium visits go, but the best part was learning that being an All-Star again is a goal and that he’s missed it.
• I didn’t think the question about representing the Bahamas national team was asked as ideally as it could, which left Klay merely stating that it would be cool, which is obvious. Imo he’s got to wait to see if he can rep Team USA first — which possibly hinges on his All-Star caliber-ness. Then there’s the issue of wear and tear on his aging body although the Bahamas now is quite star-studded, so as to ease the load on Klay; they essentially already have two elite shooting guards in Eric Gordon and Buddy Hield. Only time will tell.
Q. (On time over the summer.)
KLAY THOMPSON: Just have fun while doing it and that's always what we love to do as baseball players is play pickup and sharpen our skills, and when you have time off, make the most of it and that's what I did.
Q. How much of a challenge will it be this year, obviously everybody gets a year older, you guys have even more veteran guys this year with Rudy and Chris Paul and a revamped roster, knowing you had a quicker off-season than when you won the title, how much does that give you guys motivation for this year to build on what you guys did last year?
KLAY THOMPSON: Well, when you have as many veterans as we do, it makes it easy for everybody to be on the same page, and then to integrate young guys, it will be easier to transition, too, because we have so many great leaders and guys who have experienced a decade-plus in this league. We are all very hungry to have great success this year, and the front office doesn't bring in guys who don't share that same position. I'm really excited to get going tomorrow.
Q. With the Bahamas going to the pre-qualifier, is that something -- would you want to go to the Olympics with the Bahamas if they were to make it?
KLAY THOMPSON: That would be cool because my dad never got the opportunity. The Bahamas is a place where my story cannot be told without it. It's dear to my heart. So yeah, that would be sweet.
Q. You and Steve are both on expiring deals. Specifically with your situation, do you feel like an extension is possible in the next month or so and if not how do you feel as you look towards the future?
KLAY THOMPSON: I think it's possible and if not, life is still great. Like I'm still playing basketball in my 13th year in the NBA. So I have no complaints. Whatever the future has in store, like, I've done so many great things in this uniform and I know there are many more memories to create so whatever happens, life is great. I can't really complain. I've had an incredible run here and I look forward to making more great memories with the guys.
Q. Chris Paul was saying that you were guarding him recently and he said, "We don't do this no more" now that we're teammates. What's it like? You guys have had a lot of battles over a decade or more. What's it like now to have him on your side?
KLAY THOMPSON: It's crazy. I mean, Chris has been in our way of winning for so many years and now to be on the same team with him, it's just a huge honor for myself, especially playing the 2-guard spot. You love playing with a point guard like Chris who is one of the greatest assist men in basketball history. I know he's going to give me so many easy opportunities this year.
I think he's going to help us so much especially from a leadership standpoint. We know what he's capable on the court. Obviously has 20-10 nightly but his ability to lead and guide these young guys and myself, as well, is weighs going to really stand out, I feel like.
Q. Outside of playing pickup, what were some of your highlights?
KLAY THOMPSON: Well, I was fortunate enough to go back to China and the Philippines with ANTA and see how many fans we have over there is always humbling and inspiring. Because when I was a kid and in love with this game, I never would have thought I would have a chance to inspire people across the globe and now that I'm here, able to do it, that's what keeps me going.
I just can't believe that there's people around the world who watch us, who stay up till 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m., whatever our start time is at and they are dedicated to our season. I got to see that again this past summer when I went with ANTA. It was really special and cool to connect with fans in China and the Philippines. I gained so much motivation from that trip.
Q. Assuming you didn't know Chris real well before he got here. Have you had the experience, scrimmaging or talking to him, that he's nicer or funnier than you thought, or is he what you thought?
KLAY THOMPSON: He's what I thought. He's always been a great guy. Obviously when you're on the court between the lines, you don't like each other because we stand between what each other want. But he was the president of the Player's Association, and he did such wonderful things for us as players.
Chris is just a great family man, as well. To be able to be his shooting guard and have Chris Paul and Steph as your point guards, that's a crazy thought because those are two of the greatest point guards in basketball history.
Q. Towards the end of last season, you talked about having conversations with Coach Kerr about becoming a more complete player, rebounding, doing other things like that. How do you think you continued those steps in terms of your workouts this off-season and in terms of becoming a more complete player?
KLAY THOMPSON: Wow, that's a good question. I would say just try to focus on little details. I'm so in love with scoring the ball and shooting; sometimes it's equally as fun, getting a good stop, getting a good rebound, making assists, the simple plays.
So when I was hooping this summer, I just tried to focus on doing the things that allow the team to win, whether that's hitting the open man, taking the open shot, play defense and not being so pressed like to have to score for my team to win. Just to try to be a complete, cerebral player. I thought did I that well and hopefully it shows this season.
Q. You talked about last year how you will get back to being an All-Star player. What would it mean for you to get back to the All-Star Game this year and have a couple more under your belt before you leave?
KLAY THOMPSON: That would be awesome. It's a goal of mine, and I think it's attainable. It's just how hard I want to work and how ready I'll be opening night, so it's up to me. I'm not going to lie to you, it is a goal of mine. It's always an honor to play in the All-Star Game, and you get used to it; and when you don't go for a while, you kind of feel left out. I think it's in Indianapolis this year, I would love to be there.
Q. Going back to when Mark Jackson was a coach here and he used to always say about you, that you are not low maintenance; you are no maintains and how you and Steph are able to push each other with your work ethic and practice and so forth. Talk about how you and Steph have been together for so long and what you do for each other and how you guys have evolved over the years?
KLAY THOMPSON: Well, I love playing for Mark. Mark was a great motivator. He had so many great stories of when he played, whether it was against Kobe, whether against Michael Jordan, or against Shaq or Kareem, mark played in an era where you had to be tough. There was no nights off back then. I don't think flagrant fouls are the same as we are now.
I enjoyed those days, and as far as with Steph, that's all I know is Steph is my point guard. I've been lucky enough to see his work, ethic, and we were lucky enough to get in the gym together this summer. I know I let him down on the golf course, so I'll try and pick up the slack and have a great shooting season. That's the only way I can really makeup for it.
Q. Your answer about the All-Star Game, depends how ready you'll be opening night. Where does your game feel at this time now compared to this time last year?
KLAY THOMPSON: I feel awesome. I feel like I can do anything with the ball in my hands. I think that's the confidence you have to have if you want to be great. You can't let people dictate. I believe in myself and I believe myself to be an All-Star calibre player.
Q. I know some of the talk about last year was feeling like you weren't quite as ready for the season. I guess that's kind of what I'm asking. Do you feel a lot more physically ready for the season?
KLAY THOMPSON: Oh, yeah. I've been training, every day. And playing a lot of pickup and just having fun while doing it. I'll be ready. This preseason will be great to prepare for that as well. I'm really excited. I mean, I'm excited just to hoop tomorrow.
One benefit, obviously, when you lose, you don't go to the Finals, is extended time off, and that I think pays huge dividends mentally because playing the Championship every season, is feels like just one big overall season, and this year we had a real break to really rejuvenate.
ANDREW WIGGINS & KEVON LOONEY
• Wiggs was asked by a Chinese reporter about his China trip. Andrew said the highlight was visiting the zoo. We had a clip of him throwing a banana to an elephant, missing the target of its mouth, but not by much:
• It would have been nice to hear if he’d traded notes on China with Klay and Kevon Looney, but that just goes to show that Wiggs’ trip was not very popular with North American fans, unfortunately. We had two videos pertaining to the Peak Tour.
• People — even our own fans — forget how deep the Warriors roster is. With four Hall-of-Famers and Looney with three rings, Wiggs is at best the sixth-most-talked-about player on the team. This might’ve even been true since 2021-22 due to the popularity of Jordan Poole, who by the way was filmed by Jordan Jimenez per usual, at the Washington Wizards’ Media Day. “J Squared” made a 24-hour trip out there for that.
• Wiggs said he participated in “both” mini-camps, apparently arranged by Steph 🤔 as they should be, because the Warriors are not allowed to do so per the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement — the Minnesota Timberwolves were fined $250k back in November 2021 for organizing a late summer workout in Miami. But by my count there was at least three: at least one each at Stanford, UCLA and Las Vegas.
• Alvarez, ABC7 sports anchor, struck gold again when he got Loon to say that his fastball was about 46 mph when throwing out the first pitch at a Milwaukee Brewers game in the summer. I actually have footage of this but never got around to putting it together. Maybe I’ll find time this week. Maybe not.
• I loved how Looney said he doesn’t mind coming off the bench, going so far as to give an example of not even dressing for a game on occasion. He also said he “plays better” by playing all 82 games. Never underestimate the psychological power of playing all 82, which was alluded to by GP2 as well.
• Had I been there, I might’ve asked Loon if he’d seen the aforementioned MJ dance clip of Klay (from the stop in Manila after they got their barongs). But then again, with the zoo-like atmosphere of Media Day, I might’ve forgotten or been somewhere else.
Q. A lot of talk over the last few weeks from Mike Dunleavy from Steve Kerr, from your own team about being more connected, that's important, things feel better. Have you been part of these summer work outs and do you think there is a definite improvement in the way this team is connected?
ANDREW WIGGINS: For sure. Everyone came out. It was a great time, having time to connect with the team, because summertime, usually you don't see nobody that often. Getting a chance to catch up and seeing how everyone's summer has been and getting a chance to get some work done in the gym has been great. I feel like it's going to help us get off to a great start, a great training camp and set that foundation up for the rest of the year.
Q. As you look back to last season, how challenging was that for you overall and how do you feel going next season with everything?
ANDREW WIGGINS: Yeah, last season was a little different for sure with the connectivity part. But I'm confident for this season. That helped, having little team get-togethers and just building that connectivity up and that trust up and that chemistry, and so I feel like this year will be a special year for us.
Q. What's it like having your fellow Torontonian Cory Joseph on the roster this year?
ANDREW WIGGINS: Oh, man, it's great. When I heard he was coming to the team, I was very excited. I've known him for years, since I was like a little kid. So you know, it's great.
Q. You didn't have much continuity to your season last year with injuries and tough personal stuff. How much do you look forward to turning the page with a fresh start and having more flow to your season, and how hard was that and how did you get through that?
ANDREW WIGGINS: Last year was definitely a tough year for sure. But you know, I feel like I have great family, great friends, and you know, a great support system for times that aren't easy.
But for this year, I'm excited. I plan to be on the court all the time, and you know, just be out there with the guys, and I'm confident about this year. I put in a lot of work this summer to prepare myself for the season coming up.
Q. Draymond was in here earlier and he was saying that he kind of has a reputation among opponents of being an a-hole. He said Chris had that same reputation. What do you think it will be like having two guys that opponents really hate on your team and what it can do for your guys?
ANDREW WIGGINS: Yeah, Draymond, CP, they are the players you hate to play against but you love to have them on your team. They are dogs. They are very intelligent and they know how to get under the other team's skin, their weaknesses. They are very smart players. So getting a chance to play alongside both of them is going to be very special.
Q. Obviously you've been on this team for the last couple years with Steph, Klay, Draymond, all future Hall of Famers, you had Chris Paul. What can that dynamic bring to you guys and how excited are you personally to play with Chris Paul and how can he elevate your game?
ANDREW WIGGINS: I feel like CP being on this team, it will take it to another level. He's one of the best point guards to ever do it.
So with him on the court, I'm excited, very excited. Everywhere he's went to, you know that he's improved the team, so I've got no doubt in my mind that this team is going to do the same.
Q. So we know that you've been to China this summer, spent several weeks there. Do you have any special memory from there?
ANDREW WIGGINS: Yeah, when I went to China, I had a fun time. The fans, they showed a lot of love, a lot of support. They were everywhere. One of the best parts about this trip was probably going to the zoo. I seen a lot of animals I had not seen with my own two eyes in person, so getting a chance to see other animals and getting to feed a couple of them was pretty cool.
Q. What's the challenge for you guys this year? The goal is to do better than you did last year. What's your thoughts on having a couple teammates like Chris Paul and Rudy to reach that goal?
KEVON LOONEY: Excited to play with those guys. The new guys are veterans in this league. They have a lot of success. Wherever they go they have a lot of success. Excited to play with them and going forward, you've got to figure out our style of play and continue to build our chemistry and keep our health right going down the stretch, I think we've got enough talent to go really far. We're just got to make sure we're healthy at the end.
Q. Everyone is talking about "connectivity" and being connected more. We all know last year was maybe not the greatest season for that. Have you felt that already? Is it still a work-in-progress or do you think this team is much better connected now than it was, say, eight months ago?
KEVON LOONEY: Eight months ago -- hey, it was -- I feel like we're building to the right direction. I feel like we are connected. Off the court, everything seems to be flowing fine.
It's going to take time on the court, like always, find the right rotations and get that right chemistry on the court. I feel like we're going the right direction and I feel like we've the right talent and personalities that's going to mix well. Then we have the right balance of older and young. I think it's going to be a fun year, and I think the chemistry is off to a great start.
Q. Draymond obviously has a reputation for being intense and a guy who rubs people the wrong way and opponents the wrong way, and Chris has that same kind of reputation. What do you think having two guys like that on this team can do for what this team needs to do to put together a good season?
KEVON LOONEY: I think it's going to be great for our team to have that edge that we need to compete on the court. Having both of those guys, they going to challenge us. Both are going to hold everybody accountable and I think that's what we need to get back to where we want to go.
So having those personalities, that's going to show on our team and when we play, and I think it's going to be good for us.
Q. What does having Chris Paul add to this team?
KEVON LOONEY: Having Chris adds a lot. Adds another leader to this team and somebody with a high IQ and just a huge basketball know-how. He's somebody that can change the pace of our team. He can play fast, he can slow it down and execute on the halfcourt. I think he's going to keep us under control a little bit more.
Sometimes last year, we got a little bit too chaotic. I think having Chris out there is going to help balance us out.
Q. Secondly, the big question surrounding Chris is where does he fit; is he going to start; is he going to come off the bench. You seem to be merged into that conversation. How would you feel if you were to come off the bench? Do you care? Does it matter?
KEVON LOONEY: I really don't. I done played every role from starter to the bench to not dressing to whatever. I feel like I worked hard enough to be a starter in this league, but we got five other guys that been in All-Star games.
Just got to go with the flow and see what happens. I know Steve is going to put the left lineup and combination out there that it's going to take to win a game. So I'm going into camp with no -- just whatever happens, happens and I'm just going to be ready to play and play my role.
Q. What's it like working with Trayce so far, and how has he impressed you early on?
KEVON LOONEY: It's been fun working out with him and playing with him. He's been really good. He has a great feel for the game. He's real active on the glass. He's real bouncy. It's been fun matching up with him and getting to play against him and hopefully show him some things that I can learn from him as well. I think he has a bright future and he fits our style of play really well.
Q. The way that Dario can space the floor, is he another big man that you can see yourself maybe sharing the floor with as well?
KEVON LOONEY: For sure. He's somebody that I can play with. He's somebody that he can space the floor, and he also can make plays off the dribble. He can do a lot of different things for us. I think he's going to be a huge piece for use. He's the type of player that usually always thrives well in this type of season.
Q. How optimistic are you of seeing kind of Jonathan's continued growth and maybe doing what he can do on a more consistent basis as he against opportunities and maybe leaning on you and Rudy and to keep learning and building?
KEVON LOONEY: I'm excited for JK this year. I see how hard he's been working this summer. I've seen the growth already and our few pickup games we played, he's somebody that's asked a lot of questions. He wants to learn. He wants to be really good. I'm excited for him.
I think he's going to help us a lot. He provides some athleticism, and his speed and defensive help that we need, and I think this is the year for him to take that next step. I think he's capable and I think he's ready.
Q. How about working with Rudy, for both of you guys?
KEVON LOONEY: That's pretty cool. Rudy has a wealth of knowledge, his 17th or 18th year. He's been a guy that's been a big scorer in this league. He done played the three, the four. He done played for a lot of great coaches. I think he can teach me a lot of things. He can teach JK a lot of things about scoring, post-ups. Different things, tricks you can't get unless you've actually played. I think he has a wealth of knowledge in that and I think it's going to be great for us.
Q. Klay was talking about how much it meant to him to go back to China this past summer. I know you were there with him. What was it like seeing fans responding to him? Did it feel like the old days a little bit?
KEVON LOONEY: Definitely. It was insane, the fan love we got out there. You kind of forget how big the NBA is and how big basketball is when you just kind of sit here at home. We haven't been there in a long time, and for me, my first time going with him. And so to see the love that we got; the experience was great. We was being chasing after like we was Michael Jackson or something like that, a rock star. It was pretty cool to be a part of that experience that.
Q. You also went to Milwaukee, and I looked all over the Internet. How did your first pitch go? I never saw the actual video.
KEVON LOONEY: I won't say it was really good but it was good. I was actually really nervous. I got video. I got video. I was a little nervous. Didn't want to embarrass my dad. He's been playing baseball with me for a long time. But I haven't threw a pitch in probably ten, fifteen years. I wanted to practice before I got it there..
Q. When you say "really good," I haven't seen it. Where did it go?
KEVON LOONEY: It went a little right. It was a ball. I got the video. I'll show you.
Q. 90 miles per hour?
KEVON LOONEY: It was about 46.
Q. We know you played 82. Is that your goal? Do you expect to play 82?
KEVON LOONEY: Definitely. That's always my goal to be there every night. Something I feel like I'm capable of doing. I feel good coming into the season. I feel like I played better when I played every game so I feel like I'm going to keep the tradition going and play every game.
Q. Also last year, you revealed you had that internship. Did you do another internship this summer? What's the status of your internship over the summer?
KEVON LOONEY: I didn't do an internship this summer. I did a few things with music. They called -- we have like just to build a relationship. So whenever they call me, they need something, or if I need them, you know, we just lean on each other. I'm kind of saving my favorites for down the road when I really need them.
But it was a great experience last summer. This summer, I was busy, went to China with Klay so I was doing that type of stuff so hopefully next year I can do even more stuff.
Q. You've been watching Steph for a pretty long time, and we heard the stories about his workouts and his physical conditioning stuff. But you also put in a lot of work to do that. Talk a little about your summer and maybe how much watching him has driven you to do what you do in order to be the best you?
KEVON LOONEY: Definitely watching Steph put in work, it makes you have to question: Am I doing enough? Everybody when they come in thinks they are working hard until they see what hard work really looks like; and I had the pleasure and honor to watch Steph, Klay, Andre, some other guys really put in work, and I kind of learned how to work hard.
I can't do what he does. I had to tailor my workout for me. We got different bodies and different situations but made me want to lock in and challenge myself to do more and I feel like every summer I get better, I get stronger. I've got my routine that I go through and it works for me.
MOSES MOODY & JONATHAN KUMINGA
• Moses Moody referenced Klay mentioning that he’d help out at Moody’s hometown Little Rock camp and he came through, although Klay did not cut short the trip to Greece to do so, as a local reporter had mistakenly said. At this camp, there was a paper airplane contest from the top of the bleachers at the (large) high school gym, as shown in the video below. There’s also footage of Moody playing pickle ball, apparently at Hilton Head, as he went live on Instagram from there for about five minutes:
• Back to the topic of just who organized the mini-camps, Mo says it was either Steph, Dray and/or CP3. Anyways, Tim Kawakami was asking a lot of the summer workout and mini-camp questions so I’ll have to check The Athletic to see what that was all about — probably in the vein of Kerr’s “connectivity” buzzword.
• Asked about extra motivation after not winning a championship, Kuminga said the competitive desire is the same. I agree that for most young players, there should be innate urgency every year. I would also add that, as Draymond mentioned on the podium, there’s also a little bit of complacency but I think that’s more so the older you get. The vets really don’t get their fair share of the blame for last year’s shortcomings — I forgot to mention above that Looney said the team was little “chaotic” last year and that was also one of my favorite quotes of the day. CP3 will lessen that chaos, which will be a good thing.
• JK refers to a “championship” he won a Basketball Without Borders in Johannesburg. That was with the youth team he coached. Here’s the video:
• I was impressed by JK’s description of CP3 as one of the greatest point guards to ever touch a basketball. I would like to say that inside that “fence-bender” body, Kuminga has a ton of reverence for Hall-of-Famers. Maybe that’s why he didn’t get too worked up at the exit interview by his lack of playing time in the playoffs — as we broached many times during the LA Lakers series, what could’ve changed the dynamic of the matchup was a fence-bender.
• JK mentioned the confidence at least twice. It could be that his benching in the playoffs affected that aspect, although I’m grossly speculating. He did not point out rebounding on this podium visit as he did with the season-ending exit interview. On the 60-point performance at CrawsOver in Seattle, JK said he was just showcasing his skills — those include pull-up threes and Kobe-like baseline fadeaways, but I also realize it’s hard to focus on rebounding in a summer pro-am game. Here’s that video:
• As I mentioned in the Top Five above, JK thinks he actually did grow, but he told KRON’s Dumas that he hadn’t gotten measured yet. I’d love a follow-up to that. Also, the whole 7’2” misconception has two culprits: 1) Andre, who tweeted a joke that was designed to poo-poo the notion of someone on Twitter claiming Kuminga had sprouted that tall, and 2) Kendrick Perkins, who once again got confused and spread false information on ESPN — ironic how I’ve got “Moded Moosy” here in the same section and video 😂
• What wasn’t mentioned was JK’s love of fashion. Like, it’s a huge part of his life. But it seems to remain low-key as it’s only occasionally shed light on on his IG. I have some saved up footage from his trip to Milan, Italy a few weeks ago. Hopefully I’ll have time to post it this week.
Q. We've been hearing about these workouts. This time was it a little different? Were you there when Chris came and what was that like?
MOSES MOODY: The summer workout? Yeah, it was good. We haven't really even done them very much since I've been here, so just going and being around the guys, being able to hang out off the court and on the court, just getting on those runs, being able to get acquainted before training camp starts I feel was pretty good.
Q. Who was in charge of getting them together?
MOSES MOODY: Between 30, CP, Dray, somewhere in there. I guess that group.
Q. Entering your third year, what have you learned about off-season preparation and how has that changed over the course of your career to know what you need to do to get ready for a season?
MOSES MOODY: Yeah, that's a good question. Over the years I've realized that off-season is when you really make those improvements, make those jumps, because during the season you've got to manage your load, manage how much you're working out and all of that, so much that you don't actually get to get the full work in like you want to.
So being able to get in a routine I feel like is how you get the most progress, and being able to come up with a consistent routine over a period of time, you've got the opportunity to do that in the summertime.
Q. Over the past couple seasons it's been harder for younger guys to get out on the court with this team and have consistent playing time. What do you see as your goals for this season? Has the coaching staff talked to you about role, and what do you hope to build on this year really?
MOSES MOODY: Yeah, preparation and all of that has been going towards being a contributing factor to winning. Like I want to be on the floor. I want to be a part of winning these games. On a championship team that might look different than the situations, whatever, but I want to be a part of things.
Q. At the end of last season and again last week, Steve and Mike talked about connectivity and chemistry as being things that really need to improve this year. I'm wondering, do you see an improvement? Obviously today is the first day of camp, but in the workouts together do you see improved chemistry, and how do players -- it's one thing to say let's improve our chemistry, but how do you go about actually doing that?
MOSES MOODY: Yeah, I feel like even a lot of it might be genuine, just pieces and people kind of gravitating where we're closer together. Thus far, though, summertime workouts, being around each other, hanging around each other kind of gave us more time to develop authentic relationships rather than being thrown into training camp saying, you guys are best friends now.
We've had some time to be around each other, figure out things that you like about guys, and I think it's been able to kind of authentically happen that way.
Q. Draymond mentioned he noticed in scrimmages that if Chris was with the younger guys, I don't know if he is with you, but maybe Kuminga, and there's things he's telling them, discussions. Have you had those interactions with Chris and has he said, hey, if you do this, I can do that?
MOSES MOODY: Yeah, he communicates. He talks. A lot of us -- obviously everybody knows how smart of a basketball player he is, but not only that, he's able to communicate what he's thinking really well. He might have an idea of somewhere you should be or some way you should do something on defense, and he's just willing to kind of dish out knowledge and game that he's picked up over the years.
Q. How many times was Chris up here for workouts?
MOSES MOODY: I mean, he's been here a lot. He even came to Vegas and got a run in with the Summer League guys, so he's been going a lot. I don't know necessarily how many times, but he's been here.
Q. Was it mostly him with the young guys?
MOSES MOODY: Whoever is in town really, so it's most of the young guys, people that's been in town. So whoever is in town at that time they're do teams like that, but I don't know if it's specifically with the young guys.
Q. What do you think was the difference for you last year early in the season when you kind of fell out of the rotation compared to playoff time, you're back in? That Lakers series you're playing 25 minutes a night.
MOSES MOODY: I feel like it was a journey. Figuring things out throughout the time that I wasn't playing as much or whatever, just trying to figure out something that works and trying to figure out what I can do to get on the floor and just being able to do that by the end of the year.
Q. I'm just curious what the best thing you did was this summer, non-basketball related?
MOSES MOODY: Best non-basketball thing of my summer is a pretty tight race between the camp -- I started my foundation. I started that, and we had an event with a camp back home in Little Rock. And also my family trip. We went to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Had a house on the water. Everybody was there, kids running around. That was a good time.
Q. I think that was the one with Klay, right?
MOSES MOODY: Yeah.
Q. What did it mean for Klay to leave Greece and come to Arkansas to be with you?
MOSES MOODY: Yeah, it was cool. He told me he was going to do it in the Playoffs and I didn't really -- I thought he was just talking, but he stood on it. He came to Little Rock, Arkansas, and not only did he show up, but he showed out. He was running around with the kids, lifting them up. They had fun shooting paper airplanes everywhere and everything. It was cool.
Q. You guys had a pretty long summer compared to the short summer you had last year. What are the things you want to get accomplished this summer and how well did you do those things?
JONATHAN KUMINGA: I would say this summer I got to really like focus on myself and working on things that Tim wanted me to do and wanted me to add on and just more of trying to be like a full complete player. It's not going to happen in just one night. But I just keep on working every single day, going to help me and establish or help me to get where I want to go.
Q. How do you just generally feel about the opportunity in year three and the role that you expect to have?
JONATHAN KUMINGA: I'm definitely coming back confident. Whatever happen, anything happen, I'm already prepared for anything. So I feel confident going into my third year.
Q. What do you view as your natural position? Do you view yourself as a power forward, small forward in do you have any thoughts on that?
JONATHAN KUMINGA: I don't have any thoughts on none of that. You see how we play. It could be 6-2 or it could be 7-2 player at every position, it don't matter. Just as long as whatever you go out there and produce that can help the team win.
Q. You talk about becoming an all-around player, however you phrased that. What specifically, shooting? Are there specific things that you are looking to advance in this season?
JONATHAN KUMINGA: Just pretty much -- I would say just keep it on my confidence, working pretty much on everything. Not really anything specific but just pretty much, like I said being a full, complete player and fit perfect with the rest of the guys and helping this team win.
Q. So you got to play in the cross over pick-and-roll game this past summer, drop 60 points in that. What was that experience like for you, and what does an opportunity like that do for your confidence?
JONATHAN KUMINGA: It was just especially things that I worked on all summer, and like you could always work out but you've just got to go out there and play against people. So I just wanted to go out there and showcase what I've been working on.
But definitely it was just me trying to have fun so obviously it wasn't like really anything that I was trying to prove or anything. It was just me going out there and just showcase what I've been working on and having fun.
Q. How was your trip to semifinal with Basketball Beyond Borders?
JONATHAN KUMINGA: My trip was to South Africa is one of the best trip I ever had. It's crazy, a lot of people don't know, I got to be a GM. I got to be a scout, at the same time I got to be a head coach, I got to be a trainer, and just looking back to that, those are all my people. Man, I didn't get a chance to be in with Basketball Without Borders. But just going out there and helping the next generation coming from Africa, that means a lot to me.
And another crazy thing, I got to be all that I just said and end up winning the Championship. So I was excited coming out of South Africa.
Q. How much did you know about Chris Paul before he came to the team? He has a reputation of helping young guys get buckets and just advance their games and make them better.
JONATHAN KUMINGA: I mean, obviously we all new Chris Paul was one of the best point guards to ever touch a basketball. And growing up, watching Chris Paul play, actually get to play against him, and now we get to play on the same team, I'm just looking forward to get better every single day, to learn more because he's been around this game for a very long time. So I can't wait to get going.
Q. Wonder what you missed the most about being in an NBA game when you're in the summer and the off-season, what gets you geared up when you get back out on the court?
JONATHAN KUMINGA: I definitely missed the fans, being around my teammates, being coached. So it's the game that I love, so obviously summertime comes, it's time to relax and work and stuff like that, but like with the game you love, you always want to play every day. But it's impossible because you've got to take breaks off basketball.
I'm really just excited to come back here, being around the group of people that I always love sharing time with. So I'm looking forward to that.
Q. That being said, do you get the motivation from these guys, last year, coming off an NBA and Draymond talked about maybe the motivation is different, now you're hunting again, do you like being in that position as being a team that's hunting maybe other teams in the West around the league?
JONATHAN KUMINGA: It's always been the same way. Every year is not going to be your guys' year. So obviously this year we are looking forward to it. Really excited. We are happy to get things going.
DARIO SARIC, GARY PAYTON II, RUDY GAY
• Saric could be yet another foreign big helping GSW to a title, as Ryan B mentioned on the livestream: Andrew Bogut, Zaza Pachulia, and Nemanja Bjelica.
• Loved how Saric described Warriors camp more as guys trying to fit in rather than the usual energy of guys trying to prove themselves. Five guys who are dangerous means you have a system.
• Also loved how Saric reminded us how he wanted to play here, that it was only the fifth day of free agency.
• With Draymond hurt, there majority of people are voting for Kuminga to start in his place, but I would start Saric in preseason game 1 for all the reasons mentioned here plus in the transcript of him, below. Let’s throw him in the deep end and see more ad hoc DHOs with Steph! I'd start JK if this were the playoffs, but also depending on matchups. Also I’d start JK vs the Phoenix Suns on Opening Night to match the athleticism of KD.
• The positivity of GP2 is on another level. Once again he told reporters, “You guys are great.”
• Wow, GP2 really only played 15 games last season (for the Portland Trail Blazers; he played seven for GSW)!
• A couple of reporters referred to Rudy Gay’s veteran presence as if he were signed for the season. According to SpoTrac, he’s officially on an Exhibit 9 non-guaranteed deal that becomes guaranteed in mid-January. Slater has reported he and Rodney McGruder (Exhibit 10 per SpoTrac, although McGruder is too old to join the Santa Cruz Warriors and therefore probably won’t get the $75k bonus) are training camp invites. Per the Dwight Howard article on this website, I have intel on Gay’s performance in scrimmages so far. Incidentally, there were zero mentions of McGruder and most writers — myself included prior to this year — probably couldn’t pick him out of a lineup standing next to other Exhibit 10 guys destined for the G League. So anyways, I guess members of the media are thinking Gay wins the 14th roster spot?
• Keith Smith of SpoTrac literally just posted an article on Exhibit 9 and 10 contracts, saying they are basically training camp invites and are rarely converted to non-guaranteed deals, with the notable exception of Dwight Howard recently with the Lakers: https://www.spotrac.com/news/explaining-exhibit-9-and-exhibit-10-contracts-2032/
• Huang of Tencent said on our livestream that Gay knew a lot of the media already, whereas the youngsters are more reserved and have to wait their turn.
DARIO ŠARIC: The last couple years, obviously have like one of the greatest player ever, one of the greatest system ever, one of the greatest coach ever. So for me, it was kind of easy decision. Obviously I didn't sign in the first or second of the, how do you say, free agency, I didn't sign it right away.
But you know, it was always in my mind. Like I want to go there. This is like best option for me to play quality guys, high-level IQ players who knows how to win. Obviously I came here ten days ago and I see like what has been playing for the team that knows how to win, and even the guys who are coming kind of on the side or for training camp, you can see how they fit in. You know, they fit in the system, it's not like, you know, figuring it out, it's like everybody kind of knows what they are doing. Just glad and happy to be here.
Q. How excited are you to be teammates with Chris Paul again?
DARIO ŠARIC: I'm excited. Me and Chris kind of like plague played together. We have like great, great run with the Suns. We went with the Finals. Some circumstances, we didn't win the Championship.
Amazing guy. Amazing player. Just how he read the court and how he play pick-and-roll and how he can play audible, that kinds of stuff, amazing. Happy to play with him again, and he really knows how to find me in some situation. We have great experience playing together and I hope we are going to be a lot of time on the court together and kind of like figure out how to attack and how to guard and obviously great defender, too. Great to be with him again.
Q. Chris spent a lot of time talking about you, how perfect a fit you are for this team and he can see it. Did you play a lot with him in Phoenix, and can you see this kind of being the basis of a unit out there with this team?
DARIO ŠARIC: Kind of, yeah, we play a lot. Obviously he was the first unit, I was the second unit. A lot of time during the season, kind of like he was playing with the second unit, and kind of like he was playing even the campaign for them together the second unit. What was your question?
Q. Being a nice foundation for a unit.
DARIO ŠARIC: Yeah, nice function for a unit. Obviously there was more specifically like more pick-and-roll, let's say, 2-2 game and try to find the shooters on the side, but here I think it's like different.
You know, if you have five guys on the court who are dangerous in every moment, who are capable to score in every moment, that's a system.
So from there it's just hard to guard. And obviously you have Chris, high IQ, he can play the pick-and-roll, I think is just great addition for this team, Warriors. They have like option plays, but they can play pick-and-roll, too. They have great guy who can find guys open.
Q. Were you playing pick-and-roll with him?
DARIO ŠARIC: Yeah, I was setting screen for him most of the time. So sometimes I'm short post, sometimes I will roll and sometimes I will spread on the court and pick and pop and go from. You know, like last year, we started to play together. I was more playing four.
So I was more playing off the ball and I was kind of like reading him, how he was playing pick-and-roll and try to make a cut and try to make a little slot to be open for him to find and get the open shot or play from that. But my first year, playing in the Finals, being more pick-and-roll situation with him.
Q. You've been on a few different teams. What are some of your first impressions of the vibe you're getting from the Warriors?
DARIO ŠARIC: I think you can see, it's just like energy is different. You can kind of feel it, the team already did something. You know, they already won the Championship multiple times. So they have kind of experience. They have kind of like that peace and still proud, you know, how they doing things.
Sometimes you come on the teams and especially in training camp when it's everything kind of like wild. Everybody kind of want to prove themselves. But here it's kind of like, everything kind of knows like the way, you know what I mean. Everybody need to find a way how to fit in that kind of like system of what they want, you know what I mean. It's not like somebody need to prove something. It's more like how you fit in a team. You don't need to prove nothing.
So you just need to fit with these team guys. Obviously you're not going to shoot more times than Steph Curry, you know what I mean. So you need to find how to set up with that team. That's really like not so many teams have, where it's like fighting for position or something like that; it's just like natural for you to compete here -- not against each other for every spot.
Q. Did you want to be a part of this franchise as much as fans seemingly wanted you to be?
DARIO ŠARIC: Yeah, I wanted to be. I'm happy I'm here. Obviously I didn't sign up for first day of free agency but I sign up fifth day of free agency. I'm happy to be here. I looked a little bit those couple days, I looked a little bit at the Warriors how they run stuff, a little bit more kind of like to see how I can fit there, and obviously I think I can. So I'm really like happy to be here. I hope the fans are happy. I hope I'll prove to fans I deserve to be part of this team, and I hope we have a great season.
Q. Gary, health-wise, were you ever a hundred percent last season, and are you a hundred percent right now?
GARY PAYTON II: Yeah, if I had to come back and I had to sit out for a month, it's probably not a good look. But I'm healthy. It doesn't matter. Healthy, ready to go, all 82, hopefully.
Q. Have you been going through some of the workouts and everything?
GARY PAYTON II: I've been doing everything. Fresh, clean summer. Traveling. Playing basketball. No problems, no issues. Ready to go. Ready to go. Excited.
See, look at that.
Q. Draymond was in here and Chris Paul, both, talking about their history and battles and not liking each other. Have you observed any of this yet, and these two, can you imagine the fire of the veterans on this team now with the addition of Chris?
GARY PAYTON II: Yeah, it's going to be wonderful. We don't got to worry about Chris on the other side doing -- bothering us with his antics and Draymond bothering him. So they can bother other guys now. So I'm glad they are on my side and excited to get on the court with them and cause havoc.
Q. You obviously were not here at the start of last season, but how does the general vibe feel different heading into this training camp compared to how last season ended with just how the team was?
GARY PAYTON II: "Connectivity," I want to say, is the word. I think that's the word.
Q. Are you guys getting paid to that?
GARY PAYTON II: That's the word? Oh, that's the word? All right. I'm on a good track.
No, we've had multiple mini-camps throughout the summer. Everybody seems locked in. Chris, he's been asking, wondering, you know, how we do things here and everything. I'm sure it's going to not take him too long to get accustomed and everything. You just put -- just throw Chris in there and I'm sure he'll figure it out sooner or later. Yeah, like I said, just connectiveness; everybody is on the same page, want the same thing and we're pushing to something bigger.
Q. Last year, the motivation factor, didn't end the way you wanted it to, and there's high expectations and new guys. You talk about the connectivity, but what is that sense towards building a championship and being hungry to get back to where you were a couple years ago?
GARY PAYTON II: Just little steps, started in the summer, like I said, and we just keep going. Treat this week like we've been treating every other week we come in, play, and do what we've got to do and continue to take those steps day-by-day. You know we're going to go through some ups and downs, of course, like every team. I think when we need to, you know, split that switch and lock in and really take those steps to play our highest peek at the right time. I think it's going to come. We have too many vets to let that slip away, so I think once again, we just follow our vets and you know, everything's going to be all right.
Q. How good does that Warriors jersey look on Chris Paul?
GARY PAYTON II: I thought you was about to say on me. We both look good in these threads, you know. It's a little different. Took a little second to get used to. I'm sure on Saturday, it will sink in.
Q. You see a lot of guys on Instagram with their summer workouts, they are shooting, they are doing drills. It's easy to see offensive progression but what do you do to work on defense over the summer?
GARY PAYTON II: Guard a lot of guys one-on-one. Go find pickups anywhere, outside, inside. Get a different feel for different types of players. So pretty much just got to go outside and play basketball, basically.
Q. What kind of work do you have to put in during the season to maintain the high level that you have?
GARY PAYTON II: It's really maintaining your body. You know, taking care of your body, after practice, after games, before practice, before games. Making sure you're taking everything that you need to do to get your body back to that full strength and health that you need the next day. Get your sleep, nutrition. A lot things go behind it. Every day, you know task. So just got to be disciplined. But continue to take care of your body and it will come back for you.
Q. You talk about the importance of pickup. How important do you think it was for Klay to get a lot of pickup in this off-season after the last off-season he talked about he wasn't able to do that as much. Where do you see him at right now mentally?
GARY PAYTON II: Mentally, great. Klay is in a great spot. Captain Klay. You know he's on the water a lot and he's on the court so I think that's the two things he loves the most. And it's great to see him a hundred percent. He looks a hundred percent to me. Mental, looks like he's in a great place. Just happy and ready to go, excited about this year, and like you said, he's been playing all summer.
So I'm glad that he got back to that and doing what he loves every day, and you know, not having to worry about this or that. But just have a clear mind.
Q. Physically, how would you compare how you felt like right when you got back last year, maybe like Lakers series, end of last season to now?
GARY PAYTON II: Ready to play 82 right now. I only played, like, what, 15. So that's kind of night and day.
Q. There was some video recently of Steph training on some sand dunes in Dubai, like last week. Curious maybe what your craziest workout you've ever done is, and maybe how Steph sets the tone, we all know his greatness, but he's doing anything he can to get back to the mountain top.
GARY PAYTON II: It's kind of hard to beat that sand dunes in Dubai. But yeah, you know, anything that can get you a little edge or get you a competitive advantage. Everything he comes up with, I know he has his team and they come up with all these things to get your body right, certain things to work on, what he needs to work on. But I've definitely done some sand dunes in my time, maybe in California or something. Anything that can get a little bit more speed, a little bit more strength, a little more agility. I know he's going to go to the wall and be ready. It just gives everybody else motivation to be able to have his back.
Q. What is the significance behind that number, 0, for you?
GARY PAYTON II: It's just me. I came here with it. Did some cool things with it. So might as well go back to it and it can hopefully rewind itself.
You guys are great. Have a great day.
Q. What led to your road to the Warriors? Being a free agent, you could have looked at other teams and probably had some other feelers out there but how did you end up here and what was the reason why you wanted to be here at this time?
RUDY GAY: Just culture, man. Me knowing a lot of the players. Played on two World Championships with Steph and one with Klay. Chris has been a friend of mine for years. Draymond, we've been friendly for a while. And you know, just the culture here, coming here and playing; the fans, the city. You know, it's just time. It's time to -- you know I've had a lot of ups and downs in my career at this time for me to -- you know, for that one goal and this is a culture that you have that.
Q. What's it like for you as you mentioned to Monty, your veteran experience and what you can bring to the table and what's it going to be like playing with this roster because it's a pretty different roster in a lot of ways than what the Warriors had last season.
RUDY GAY: This is my experience, knowing what this team needs, this team is already set with what they have. I'm not a young player trying to prove myself. I'm just trying to win.
We know what we have. For the most part, the team knows what I can bring. So hopefully it will be a good transition.
Q. For most of your career, you're a bucket-getter, like 20 points a game. How do you make that transition to where you slowly realize that's not your role and you have to do other things to contribute to the team?
RUDY GAY: Well, I mean, injuries did it for me. But it's just life, man. Life. Longevity. I was always a firm believer of trying to learn different traits all the time and you know, when life hits you, you have to learn how to pivot. No pun intended, you know what I mean. Just learn how to pivot. I've been doing it all my life. Being able to do whatever it takes to win is just something that comes naturally to me.
Q. They have a couple roster spots open and they are bringing a lot of guys to camp. What is your understanding of the situation for you entering camp?
RUDY GAY: What to expect, I don't expect anything. I just go out there and prove that I can still go. This is year 18, so I pretty much seen everything. Been a part of a lot. But this is a good opportunity for me. I'm excited. So you know, I'm motivated and I'm ready to go. I'm trying to win.
Q. Oftentimes with this team, guys will come in and maybe they have been threes or fours and can downshift into five. They play a lot of small lineups, something you've done the last several years. How do view your potential role on this team in the front court?
RUDY GAY: Whatever. To win, you have to change, just like that, whatever. So I'm prepared to be whatever the team needs, whatever Steve need me to do. Obviously there are a lot of guys on here that have experience on different lineups and stuff. I'll have conversations with them about what they need for me. I'll just do whatever.
I'm not boxed into one way of playing anymore. That was me ten years ago, you know, when I was just trying to make it, trying to do -- trying to carve myself into whatever my career was going to be. But right now, it's just time to win.
GARUBA, BPODZ, TJD, COJO
Aside: I went on Lakers Fastbreak podcast the other day to give them a preview of the Warriors’ season:
Does “BPodz” get to be the backup pg to CP3 in Cory Joseph’s absence for this Saturday’s preseason game against the Lakers? Because we are diehard and love the minutiae, I’ve invited Sean Grice of Lakers Fastbreak to talk about the granular things to look out for in preseason from his team — to make the matchup a little more spicy.
We will also will go live again before that, on Wednesday or Thursday as a preview to Saturday, and I might record an interview with Chris Head, who is trainer with GSW Academy and did a video with Steph Curry today at Media Day. Head will be heading (pun intended) to Tbilisi, Georgia, today to “head” up Zaza’s basketball academy there.
• Usman Garuba’s two-way contract is an absolute steal. We’re talking about a guy who had a rookie scale deal as the 23rd pick in the 2021 Draft. Afaik about the CBA, the OKC Thunder still have to pay him his last year of this 2023-24 season. That afforded the opportunity for him to choose the best fit while settling for the GSW two-way; recall from our previous experiences with two-way contracts that the Warriors will retain full control — Garuba cannot simply sign with another team during this tenure and becomes a restricted free agent next summer. As loyal follower Dean Agan said on our livestream last night, let’s not forget, Garuba is 6’8” but has a 7’2” wingspan. His body type is similar to Draymond’s. And that’s why my hot take of the night was that Usman is actually ahead of Trayce Jackson-Davis on the depth chart. I also wrote about TJD’s performance thus far in the Dwight article behind the paywall.
• I’m glad Slater has a bent towards NBA transactions, too. He’s the only one probing Garuba for such details; granted, he has that freedom as a writer for The Athletic, which is a different role than being a traditional beatwriter. Slater loves talking shop with the front office guys, too.
• I like the dawg in Podziemski saying he will do whatever he can to find minutes. Unfortunately, I am going to guess that, barring an injury, I don’t foresee that happening with the “Big Squad” as there are 12 guards out of the 21 training camp players. Still, with Joseph (lumbar strain) out for at least two weeks — as announced by GSW PR prior to Media Day starting — you might see him move up that very thick depth chart if he goes bonkers in preseason. And then him not disclosing the tips Steph gave to him. This kid cannot be more competitive.
• I don’t know what the connection with TJD or Indiana is, but it seems like Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area has gravitated towards him. And while there haven’t been rave reviews yet (see Dwight article, again), I keep thinking that playing four years under ex-NBA head coach Mike Woodson is going to yield dividends, albeit probably more so for SCW in G League — again, barring injury but, like I said, with Garuba I just think TJD is buried too far in the depth chart even with Draymond out.
• Good to see “CoJo”, like GP2 but maybe not as exuberant, always positive. His interview was only 3+ minutes long and yet he closed by showing a lot of gratitude for being on the podium.
Q. Take me through your whole summer, getting traded a couple the times. How did it come together to land with the Warriors?
USMAN GARUBA: Yeah, I got traded, first I went to ATL, never went there and then I got traded to OKC, never been there and then I got waived after. It was really long summer for me honestly but I'm here and I'm very happy to be here.
Q. How much communication was there? Did you think you were going to be on the Hawks or then did you think you were going to be on the Thunder or did you know --
USMAN GARUBA: I knew I wasn't going to be on the Hawks but I thought I was going to be with OKC. But at the end of the day, this is a business, you've got to understand it, and yeah.
Q. Why did you decide on the Warriors?
USMAN GARUBA: I've been in a lot of communication with them through the whole summer and also they were really interested in me, not only now, especially during the 2021 draft, in Vegas, I made the staff, front office, I had dinner with them, I think. It was really cool. And you know, I think it was the best option for me, being part of this organization, and I'm very happy for that.
Q. It's been pointed out they might lack size, at least depth. Have they talked about what your role could be? Do they want a rolling four? What do you see your strengths with this roster?
USMAN GARUBA: I think I can help the team with putting energy, giving energy, effort. Trying to do my best every day. And I don't know, I just want to help the team win and I will do whatever it takes.
Q. In the draft you drew some comparisons to Draymond defensively in terms of what your potential could be. Have you had a chance to pick his brain at all, and how excited are you to be able to work with a guy like that on defense?
USMAN GARUBA: I'm excited to work with everyone pretty much here, a championship team, and a team that won the ring, basically last year, and yeah, of course, there are some similarities. But I want to learn from him a lot. Obviously watching him every day is going to be very good for me. I'm excited for that.
Q. I notice you've been shooting the three pretty well, not a lot of them but you've been shooting them. What do you think your three is right now? Is that something you're comfortable taking in the rhythm of an offense?
USMAN GARUBA: Yeah, I was shooting the ones -- I was taking the right shots. That was the key for me last year, taking the right shots. If I was very open and someone was really leaving me very open, I was taking it. I was just taking the right shots. Trying to make the best play possible.
Q. What have the last couple months been post-Summer League for you? I know you guys have been working out plenty here and doing team workouts? What have those been like for you?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: It's been really good. Just being in the area, being able to get on a routine, being with some of the guys, some of the Summer League guys, Brandon, and just getting work in honestly, coming in every day Monday through Friday, getting lifts, conditioning and stuff like that, trying to prepare for the season.
We've got the rest of the guys, the vets came in the last three weeks, so getting to play with them, as well, has been really, really good. We've had a few mini camps, so just trying to bond with the guys and get ready for the season.
Q. Trayce, there are a ton of veteran centers it's been noted on this team. I know it's early and you haven't even had an official practice, but do you have a sense you can get some playing time? Do you feel like you can step on the court Game 1 and play a little in this league?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Absolutely. You have to have high confidence in yourself. We've got a lot of good players on our team. We've got two really, really good bigs in Dario and Kevon, so just getting to learn from them, them teaching me what I need to do, and doing whatever I have to do to help the team win, that's what I'm going to do, and that's what I'm going to prepare for.
Q. Coming into the league, there's kind of an emphasis on guys really knowing their role and specialization. Do you have an idea of what your role is going to be for this team?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: Yeah, I'm going to screen for some of the best shooters in the world and I'm going to get rebounds. I'm going to try to be a lob threat and I'm going to try to bring energy. Those are things that are very valuable on the basketball court, and I'm going to try to do that role to the best of my position.
When I was at Indiana, I kind of did similar things. Obviously I had a little bit more of a burden on myself being the best player, but now I get to take a step back and try a different role.
I've always been a very big team guy, and that's what I'm going to continue to do.
Q. Sounds like you've scrimmaged plenty with some of the veterans. What are your early impressions playing against them but also I assume mixed into their team?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: It's different. Definitely a faster pace, just the way that they can get to their shots, shoot the ball, how fast it is up and down.
But being able to be here for two months, three months and learn that, learn that speed, learn that pace and getting in and out of your screens, things of that nature, I think it's been huge. It's been very valuable and key to some of my -- not really success but some of my training and helping me. So I think it's been a huge piece playing against them.
Q. How important was it having that final season at Indiana, especially under a former NBA coach like Mike Woodson?
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS: It was great. Coach Woodson, especially my senior year, me and him had a lot of talks about the pros and cons of me going after my junior year and staying my senior year. The biggest thing he told me is there's not a lot of difference between going at 22 and 23, and getting that last year under my belt, tuning up some things in my game, passing, reading double-teams and stuff of that nature, reading and getting a feel for the game, and then on the defensive end of the floor, being able to switch out, blocking shots and doing stuff of that nature, I thought it really elevated my game, and not only my game but my confidence.
I think it really helped, and then getting drafted to a team like this and being in this position and playing with these guys I think is going to really help, as well.
Q. How has your off-season looked post-Summer League and how did you spend that time?
BRANDIN PODZIEMSKI: I spent a couple weeks reflecting on my Summer League performances. Obviously not the best in terms of my standards. But I've gotten way better since Summer League, and I think a lot of people can attest to that. But just learning from the vets that have been around, just little things that I can add to my game.
Q. You mentioned the shooting percentage wasn't fantastic. Many people have struggled shooting in their first Summer League or any action. Have you figured out or deduced what was going on with the shot?
BRANDIN PODZIEMSKI: Yeah, I figured it out. I talked to Steph about it, and he kind of shot poorly his first year of Summer League, too. It's just kind of how you bounce back from it. I know I'm a good shooter. I shot 44 percent from three last year over the course of more games than just Summer League. I know I'll be better and I'll bounce back from it.
Q. What did he say about it?
BRANDIN PODZIEMSKI: Just some tips. I don't want to share those, but just some tips.
Q. How have the practices, scrimmages, whatever you want to call them with the vets been, and what have you taken from them?
BRANDIN PODZIEMSKI: Yeah, they're really well. I think every time I step on the floor, I feel like I belong more and more now. Just getting accustomed to playing with them. The way I play is similar to how they've always played, so me adjusting to terminology and play style hasn't been an issue at all.
Q. Positionally how do you view yourself early in your career on this roster, like 1, 2, 3?
BRANDIN PODZIEMSKI: I don't really care honestly. I'll play 1 through 5 if I have to. It's just how do I get on the floor as a rookie, so I'm just open to anything, however I can impact the team.
Q. Were you here the day Chris Paul booked out with the team?
BRANDIN PODZIEMSKI: Yeah.
Q. What's that like? You've got Steph and CP3 and other guys on the floor; what's it like to be playing ball against those guys?
BRANDIN PODZIEMSKI: Yeah, just shows you how blessed of a situation I've been put into. Just being 20 years old and them guys have 13 to 15 years under their belt already, just learning from them every day is something that is truly a blessing for me.
Q. What's the balance between wanting to go out there and showing everybody what you can do but also being in an established culture and leadership?
BRANDIN PODZIEMSKI: Yeah, just understanding your role as a rookie. You haven't done anything here. Everything that's led up to this point kind of wipes itself out and you start over anew. Just being able to respect what's ahead of you but also have confidence in your own abilities and yourself when you go out there. I think having that even balance is something that good rookies do well.
Q. As a rookie come into Steve Kerr's system, what are the elements to get under control and feel comfortable with?
BRANDIN PODZIEMSKI: Just knowing my spots and knowing my role. Look at Santa Clara last year, my role last year compared to now is completely opposite. But I think as a basketball player, that's your job to be able to adapt, and I think Coach Kerr does a great job of letting you know what your role is from the start, so there's no really confusion.
So I'm just ready for any challenge that he brings my way.
Q. We heard you had a back injury. That was in a scrimmage?
CORY JOSEPH: Yeah, yeah, just kind of hurt it a little bit in the scrimmage, yeah.
Q. Have you ever dealt with anything similar?
CORY JOSEPH: Yeah, I've dealt with something similar before. It's nothing, not like a long-term thing or anything super serious.
Q. When people come into this organization, they usually talk about the culture, the championships and everything, but you've been in this league a long time. How do you think you can bring leadership, culture, etc., to this team?
CORY JOSEPH: Yeah, I feel like I've experienced both sides of it. When I started my career in San Antonio, we had a similar culture that people talked about and whatnot, and then I've been more so on the rebuilding or side of things, too.
This group has been together for a while, and I can bring different aspects in terms of what other organizations are kind of doing or how things are being viewed on the opposite side. When you're with someone for a long period of time and doing things right at the top of your game, you still get curious to how things are on the other side. And just with me, I feel like I'm a winner, ultimately and try to do anything it takes to win and contribute to that.
Q. What do you think it's going to be like being in a point guard room with you, Chris Paul and Steph Curry?
CORY JOSEPH: It's going to be fun, just to have those conversations. Obviously two of the best point guards to ever do it.
So I'm looking forward to it. I'm very excited about it. I'm going to be a sponge every day just listening to them and trying to gain any knowledge I can. I think this is CP's 19th season and Steph's up there as well. So I'm really looking forward to it.
STEVE KERR (from Fri 9/29 on 95.7)
Editorial: Dunleavy and Kerr talked about how the Warriors play “two bigs”, i.e., two non-shooters in Dray and Loon, which is ironic to me in terms of all the fans that are clamoring for “a big man”.
Bonta Hill 0:00
We got the head coach on at a Golden State Warriors, nine-time champ, just coming over from the Philippines for the FIBA World Championship. And he celebrated a birthday two days ago. And I guess we'll start this conversation off, Coach. Good morning to you. Welcome to the Morning Roast, Joe Shasky, the Butcher Bonta Hill. Happy belated birthday! Now, we're just asking, what does a man of your stature the [inaudible] birthday, for example, me and Joe in our early 40s -- and I hate admitting that -- but I just want my crab legs and some seafood. What do you want for your birthday, Steve Kerr? What is something that you need?
Steve Kerr 0:31
I'm gonna be honest guys when you're 58, you don't even realize it's your birthday until somebody tells you. It's not like you're 12 anymore.
Bonta Hill 0:46
My girl sets up all these dinners and plans and I'm like, I just want to watch basketball or football or play video games. I'm good here. But how was the Philippines? How was Dubai? As worldwide travelers, I always teach Shasky about going out of the country and seeing the world and going to Europe and stuff. How was Dubai and the Philippines for you, coach?
Steve Kerr 1:03
It was awesome. We had such a great trip. You know, just being in the Philippines for the first time. Incredibly passionate about basketball there and to experience that, to represent our country and coach Team USA in that atmosphere was so much fun. Obviously, we we didn't pull it off and you know that part was disappointing, but couldn't have asked for a better group of guys, better coaching staff. And the whole experience was incredible.
Joe Shasky 1:37
You know, Coach, I was at home folding laundry and all of a sudden my phone started going crazy. Chris Paul to the Warriors and I was like, I will never forget this moment. Like Chris Paul to the Warriors? Where were you -- not, like, what were you thinking -- where were you when you found out Chris Paul was coming to the Warriors?
Steve Kerr 1:56
Well we kind of had an inkling that it was a possibility, so it wasn't like out of the blue. And so I had a few conversations in the days leading up to the trade with with Mike Dunleavy and and so when it went through, it wasn't a shock but it's just so interesting that this guy who we've been battling with forever is all of a sudden going to be wearing a Warriors jersey and I'm so excited. I mean, he's just been a guy who I've admired and feared, to be honest with you, for so many years, just because of his complete control of the game at the point guard spot and he's really something. Just watching him play pick up ball the last few days with our guys. I mean, he's still one of the best players in the league. So, thrilled to be coaching him and to have him on our side, finally,
Bonta Hill 2:55
You know, Coach, that was a day I don't think we both put our phones down. I had a swim class with my daughter and Shashky called me four different times. I'm like, what, did something go wrong with the show? Did we get fired? And it's like, Chris Paul to the Warriors. It's like wait oh man, we gotta do all these hits here. So you know, there's this fascination, because every time we go out, it's 'Is Chris Paul gonna start?' And this and that and that's not even a question. But what is the fascination with starting, because personally, I always think, alright, what's the finishing line-up look like? What's the last 12 minutes? Who's going to be on the floor? Who's gonna get stops here? Why do you think there's such a fascination with who starts and who doesn't?
Steve Kerr 3:34
I don't know from a fan standpoint, I know from a player's standpoint, it's more about comfort zones. So for Chris, for example, he literally has never come off the bench his entire career. So when it depends on who you're talking about, but every player is a little different. I think in 15 years, I might have started 20 games in my career. But I finished a lot of them and so, for me, it was not really a big deal but for a guy like Chris, who's started every single game, coming off the bench would be a huge adjustment and that has to be something that we take into account. I said this the other day, I really feel like we have six starters with the group. Sometimes things will just take care of themselves with an injury, whatever, where you don't even have to plan. But when we do have all six guys we have a lot to think about, a lot to consider. Not only who starts but who finishes and the only way it's gonna work is if all six guys and the whole team, obviously, are all in and completely aware that every night can be different.
Joe Shasky 4:57
Yeah. And that's the beauty of the offense that you guys have been running all these years, the motion. It can look different possession to possession and and you're trying to play to your players strengths. What do you think it looks like trying to incorporate a very deliberately paced Chris Paul and playing into his strengths. How do you guys blend those?
Steve Kerr 5:16
Well, I really look at our season a year ago, and even before we got in Chris, my goal was to find a balance between the pace and the execution. I mean, last year we were number one in pace and 30th in turnovers. And that's not a combination that's gonna win a championship. So, even before we got Chris, I had this goal of cutting back turnovers but finding a pace that suits us fast. Chris will help us do that automatically. And I think it's gonna be a case where we're gonna sort of meet halfway. He's gonna -- when he's playing with Steph especially -- he's gonna throw the ball ahead or run ahead and generate more pace than he's used to. And then at the same time, we're gonna pull back and execute more often when we need to, and not get caught in this game where we're throwing the ball around like we did last year and giving them too many possessions. So what I've found in my career, though, is smart players figure it out quickly, and when you put a bunch of smart, talented guys on the floor together, it really isn't that big of an adjustment.
Bonta Hill 6:33
We're talking to head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors. Helped lead them to four championships in the last nine seasons entering year number 10 as head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Now, with this fascination of everybody talking about the six starters and whether or not Paul starts or whatnot. I think one of the biggest X factors for your team and tell me if I'm wrong, Coach, is Andrew Wiggins. I think he's flying under the radar. And before he suffered that right adductor strain last season, I think you could make the argument that he was playing maybe the best basketball of his career coming off of that Finals run. Where's Andrew Wiggins at physically and mentally? How's his offseason been?
Steve Kerr 7:06
Yeah, I saw Wiggs this week in the gym and talk to him a little bit. He looks great. He's feeling really well. So, he's a guy who was right in the prime of his career. He's been here now several years and has a great feel for how we play and playing with his teammates and obviously guards the best player night in and night out. So Wiggs is in a great place and really excited to coach him. He's just one of the best guys you'll ever be around. I mean, he's there for you every night and gives everything to his teammates. Last year was just a tough situation and tough, tough year for him. But the way he handled it, the way he came back, competed in the playoffs, I thought he was just incredible. So I'm thrilled to have Wiggs back.
Joe Shasky 7:58
You know, Draymond's done a lot of podcasts over the last year, but on one of them he said this is the most important season in his career. Do you agree with him on that and how can he deliver on such an important season for you guys and for himself?
Steve Kerr 8:12
Well, I like hearing that because Draymond, he's accomplished so much and he's heading for the Hall of Fame. But he's just signed a four-year extension. So he's got a lot ahead of him, and I'm thrilled that he's excited and motivated for the season. Every season is the most important one of your career. That's how I look at it. So when you're motivated like Draymond is you can't wait to get to camp and get to work.
Bonta Hill 8:45
You know, Coach, Draymond Green in that half court offense, a lot of players sag off of him. Is there an encouragement from the coaching staff, maybe, 'Hey, shoot a couple more times,' because the spacing sometimes gets compromised which is, I guess, why you want the one big at certain points in the playoffs last season.
Steve Kerr 9:01
Yeah, Draymond's played the four for us forever. We occasionally have started him at the five but more often than not, he's playing with another big and then during the game at some point, we'll get to that small lineup where he's at the five. So the reason it works is because he's such a good playmaker. He's one of the leading assists men in the league is a four-man. So we feel very comfortable playing Draymond at the 4. He has worked hard on his perimeter shot and we want him to take it. He can he can make the three and we want him to keep defenses honest and take that shot when it's available.
Joe Shasky 9:45
You've had a firsthand seat and so have all the fans, that's why we love them so much. Curry, Klay, Draymond, and we've seen them go from like boys to men and raising their own families. How has this locker room, the culture, the atmosphere, maybe the music as you're walking into the locker room, how's it evolved from Day One when you first stepped in to where it's at now and these guys are obviously you know, grown men of their own raising their own families?
Steve Kerr 10:11
Yeah, that's one of the best parts of coaching really is to develop relationships with guys and then to see them grow, see their families grow and spend time together and really grow as a team, as a group, and experience all of this together. It's pretty unique. It's a wonderful profession. It really is. So for me and this situation has been so unique. Very few NBA coaches get to coach a group of guys like Steph, Klay and Draymond for a decade and that's this year. This year is my 10th year and been with these guys the whole way through and seeing them raise families and evolve and grow, just been an amazing run.
Bonta Hill 10:58
Yeah, no doubt about that. Steve Kerr here on the Morning Roast on 95.7 The Game. Klay Thompson, we know last year he didn't work out in the offseason. Now I understand why, coming off two years of straight rehab, maybe you want to take the summer off coming off of the championship. Where's Klay Thompson at, because he got a lot -- I know on these airwaves -- a lot of people were pointing the fingers at him about his shot selection and whether or not he's the same defender. What have you seen from Klay Thompson? How does he look? What type of shape is he in and what did you -- You know what? I guess, screw that Kerr, I gotta ask you this. What was the message of Klay going into the offseason to get them into this shape? And what was that sacrifice you talked about in your exit meeting with Klay Thompson?
Steve Kerr 11:36
You know, Klay knew that he needed to have a better summer and he told us that, we didn't have to tell him, he's self-aware. I think this summer he was really committed. I just saw him the last few days playing pickup ball. He looks fantastic. He's in great shape and shooting the lights out, motivated. It's a contract year. He wants to come back and be the best version of himself and he's put himself in a position to do that. He's in great shape and he's ready to roll.
Joe Shasky 12:11
Do you think this is the most difficult year of all the years, like heading into it? As a coach for you, given all the new rosters and you feel like the sand is coming out of the hourglass on a lot of these guys and just a lot of new and a lot of things riding on the success of this year? Is this the most difficult heading in?
Steve Kerr 12:30
I don't think so because I think Mike Dunleavy and his staff did a phenomanal job of balancing out this roster and giving us a group that really has a chance to succeed. And we've added the veteran presence of Cory Joseph and Chris Paul and Dario Saric. We have Gary Payton back from the very beginning. And then we still have the young talent with JK and Moses and the two rookies, but it just feels like a really well-balanced roster where the veterans are going to be able to lead, the young guys are going to be able to develop in a good pace. And with the addition of Chris, I think we've gotten the balance that we need to our game where we've got to get better possessions and there's nobody better in the league in getting a good possession every play than Chris Paul. So I feel great about this roster. I think, like I said, Mike did an incredible job. The team's in a good place. We're motivated because we lost last year. I think we're feeling really good about where we are right now.
Bonta Hill 13:47
You know, Coach, a lot was made about the culture last season being broken and the culture being out of sync and you're gonna get a test right away. Seven of the first nine games are on the road. Are you excited for that? And can you gauge where the culture's at after just one road trip so early in the season?
Steve Kerr 14:00
Well, we haven't even had a practice yet. So you have to feel the vibe and everything leading into to training camp next week. We've had a lot of guys in the gym. There's a good feeling, a good vibe, a lot of high expectations. And you know, our culture here over the years has been great because we have players who make it that way. Steph and Klay, Draymond. We've had veteran guys who understand what this is all about. It got away from us a little bit last year for reasons that have been well-documented. But I feel great about this team and this organization and our ability to succeed at a high level.
Joe Shasky 14:49
You've talked a lot about Jonathan Kuminga's role and how it's going to evolve and certain things that he might need to do. How does he build that trust with you early on, how are you going to know that he's earning that trust to get more playing time and more opportunities, depending on the night?
Steve Kerr 15:07
Well, I think for any young player, it's really just more about learning what wins and so that's where trust comes from. Trust just comes from, 'Are you making the right play more often than not? Are you putting yourself and your team in a position to win?' And that's the name of the game for every young player. And it takes a long time to figure that stuff out. I know everybody wants it to happen right away. But especially today in the NBA where players are coming in at 19 with very little experience to win at the highest levels. It just takes time and it takes growth and JK's had a great summer. He's committed. He's such a good guy and such willing worker and wants to impact the game at the highest level. So I love what I've seen all summer and have a great relationship with JK and the trust just comes as the experience comes, that's how it works.
Bonta Hill 16:09
Steve Kerr here on the Morning Roast on 95.7 The Game. Glad you could join us here. Real quick, Steve, because a lot of these players in today's game, spend a lot of time on social media and they hear things, whether it's our fans, whether it's us talking about trades and trading this player and that player and Jonathan Kuminga and Chris Paul's name has come up over and over and over. Is that something that you have to address the players, whether it's this year, last year, as a player how do you navigate through that, knowing that social media has a big influence on today's game?
Steve Kerr 16:36
Yeah, it's such a difficult thing for these guys to deal with. I don't know how they do it, honestly. When I play, it was so easy just to avoid the noise because there just wasn't that much of it. Now it's everywhere. And so we talk to our players about it every year. We've got people in place to try to help guide on a lot of different fronts and it's just part of it. But I try to get ahead of it if I can. I just feel like the more open and honest that we can be as a coaching staff, as an organization, the more the players will trust us. But inevitably there's just stuff out there that you can't control and that's not an easy thing for our players to deal with.
Joe Shasky 17:27
I've seen different video clips of you telling guys on the team, like, we don't just get paid to play, we get paid to deal with all the other stuff, right? Whether it's the media scrutiny, the pressure you put on yourself to win, which we all love because that's what you guys want to do, you want to win it at the highest level. But what do you do, Coach? Like, how do you kind of tap out from all of this pressure, all of this criticism? Is there something that you do to unplug like Netflix or whatever? Or is there a hobby that you do? Because I find it very difficult and we're on the lowest rung of this when it comes to criticism. I find it difficult to tap out of those things. So how do you kind of navigate that?
Steve Kerr 18:05
Well, I got off of social media several years ago and it was the best decision I've ever made. So one way to tap out is to not even see any of it. But for me it's always, whether it was as a player or now as a coach, it's just about balance and doing the things that you enjoy. For me it's cooking or cooking a meal or watching a game on TV or playing golf or doing yoga or reading a book. I mean, just living life without paying too much attention to all that stuff.
Bonta Hill 18:43
So are you a paperback book guy, or you audio?
Joe Shasky 18:47
Bonta Hill 18:50
I need to spell the pages, Coach.
Steve Kerr 18:52
Me too. I can't do the Kindle thing. I need an actual book in my hand.
Bonta Hill 18:58
Cooking? What's the deal? What are you cooking up?
Steve Kerr 19:02
Oh man, stir fry and pasta. I'm not like an innovative cook. I just need a good recipe. But I enjoy the process of cooking and having a beer and having a game on in the background. It's very relaxed.
Bonta Hill 19:18
Yeah, I can only cook eggs. You're already a better cook than me. Go ahead, Shasky.
Joe Shasky 19:22
We have like a running joke here, like Bonta's book club. So can you recommend a book to Bonta and to the rest of the listeners that either you're reading currently or that you've read that -- maybe enlighten us because we need to we need to read a little more as a society.
Steve Kerr 19:36
Oh, there you go. I just read a great novel called Demon Copperhead and I think it won the Pulitzer. A woman named Barbara Kingsolver who wrote this book. It's a novel about a boy growing up in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia and very sad book but really powerful story. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time. So that would be my recommendation.
Bonta Hill 20:07
See I'm stuck on, like, Lakers vs Celtics, Bill Walsh documentaries. I can't help myself, Coach. I'm locked in. I'm the history of the game.
Joe Shasky 20:14
There's gonna be a Winning Time on Steve Kerr this era, twenty years from now. You know it, right Coach.
Bonta Hill 20:19
No, hopefully not. I hope not.
I hope they portray me better than they portrayed Paul Westhead.
Joe Shasky 20:26
Bonta Hill 20:27
It was bad. Real quickly, before we get you out of here, we gotta the question. You know, it's the contract year for you. You mentioned for Klay Thompson. I guess, how do you deflect the questions moving forward? Would it just be better to get it done because I know you said you want to be here long term.
Steve Kerr 20:42
Yeah, like I said, I'm not worried about it at all. This the last year of my contract. But Mike and Joe have been great. And they've told me they want me back and they know I want to be back and I'm really excited about these next few years. Steph is still playing at a high level, so is Draymond and Klay. We've got these really interesting, good, talented young guys. And so I want to be a part of it and I have no doubt it'll happen and these things take time, so not too worried about it.
Bonta Hill 21:18
The summer of Steph. He wins a golf classic in Tahoe. He's running the sand dunes in Dubai right now, a place you were just at. He just doesn't slow down. Do you ever have to call him, say, 'Hey Steph, I'm a little worried, man, you're golfing. You got the Gentleman's Cut drink,' like, he's just non-stop moving on. How close is that Michael Jordan when you played with Jordan and he was doing all the things that he was doing in Chicago?
Steve Kerr 21:38
Yeah, watching Steph make that eagle to win the golf tournament was one of the most incredible moments I've ever experienced because I knew how badly he wanted to win it and to eagle the final hole? And when you're actually a basketball player and not a golfer? I mean, unreal. But just typical Steph. He loves life, he embraces everything, he attacks everything he does, loves his family, loves his life. And he just knows how to live. And he's still at the top of his game, working so hard basketball-wise, conditioning-wise. The guy's incredible. So, lucky to coach him. We're lucky to watch him.
Joe Shasky 22:27
Coach, on the way out, I know you're a big Dodger fan. I hate the Dodgers, so --
Bonta Hill 22:31
Yeah, we both do, Coach.
Joe Shasky 22:32
Uh, Dodgers suck. But no, like, do you ever talk to Dave Roberts or any other guys in other sports where you maybe get wisdom or inspiration from, that you think are excellent managers in their field?
Steve Kerr 22:45
Yeah, I do know Dave. We both live in town in San Diego. And I've seen him occasionally over the years, just run into him. We've played golf. I've actually become friendly with a lot of NFL coaches, interestingly enough.
Bonta Hill 23:04
Steve Kerr 23:05
It's just been it's just been fun to compare notes. To listen to what these guys go through, obviously a different sport, but similar challenge in terms of trying to motivate teams and get everybody on the same page and all of that. So, I've really loved getting to know guys like Pete Carroll, who was a mentor of mine when I first started coaching the Warriors and of course, Kyle (Shanahan) who's just incredible with the Niners, Sean McVay, Brandon Staley. I've had conversations with all these guys and comparing notes. And it's really one of the best parts of my job is having access to people and coaches like these guys who are just so good at what they do.
Bonta Hill 23:56
We're excited to see what you do this season, you're 10th season with the Golden State Warriors, and it's been a dream for everybody here in the Bay Area, four championships and I know you guys want more. Media Day on Monday, training camp starts on Tuesday. We can't wait. We're happy to have Warriors basketball back and this should be an exciting one. Coach, we appreciate the time along with you. Thanks for being patient with us.
Steve Kerr 24:15
You got it. Thanks, guys.
STEVE KERR (from last Mon 9/25)
Steve Kerr 0:03
I'll just start out just before we get to questions, just saying how excited I am about this season. I'm coming off of a really productive summer for the team here at Chase. So many that guys have been around, working with our players. Our staff's been fantastic. Players have really bonded and connected and they've been working hard and I think everybody's really excited for the season, so a lot to look forward to and obviously getting started a week from now. So here we go.
Anthony Slater 0:41
Your contract is obviously going to be kind of an early season topic. Where is that at from your perspective, your contract and would you be comfortable coaching season on an expiring deal?
Steve Kerr 0:56
Yeah, I feel great about my position here and I want to be here. I know Mike and Joe want me here and so I'm very confident something will get done but I'm not stressed about it at all. And I'm perfectly capable of coaching, whether I have one year left or an extension, makes no difference. But I fully expect to be here.
CJ Holmes 1:24
Mike was talking about the connectivity that he's already seen this summer, especially with somebody like Chris Paul, brought up him leaving for a 6am flight to come to a workout. What's been your perspective of Chris this offseason as far as really trying to ingrain himself with everybody?
Steve Kerr 1:37
I really like Chris because he likes phone calls and not texts. So Chris is old school. He wants to talk and we've had four or five great conversations this summer. I remember a few years ago pulling him aside after Phoenix beat us in Phoenix and I told him how much I admired him and his competitiveness and just his basketball intelligence. Obviously we've had a lot of battles over the years. We did have one game together, the 2015 All-Star game and I remember him taking over the game in the last five minutes and our team won and, like, yeah that guy would be fun to coach And so I'm thrilled to coach him. He's one of the great competitors I've ever seen. His command of the game, the way he controls the action, his teams tend to get a great shot, possession after possession after possession and he understands what wins. So I'm really excited to coach Chris and I know he's really excited to be here.
Dalton Johnson 2:56
The NBA just recently passed new rules regarding resting star players. How do you think that's going to impact managing the workloads of your star players this season?
Steve Kerr 3:04
Yeah I don't think it'll impact anything. I think we have a great relationship with the league and a great respect for the rules that are in place. We understand, like, we are trying to entertain basketball fans everywhere. That's the business. Putting on a good product, putting on a good show for our fans and giving fans the opportunity to come out and see our guys play and injuries are a part of the game. And there are going to be games where guys are going to miss, but we plan on complying with the league's rules and giving NBA fans everywhere as much opportunity to see our guys as possible.
Ann Killion 3:50
Steve, Mike use the word connectivity, which is exactly the same word you used about the lack of it the last time you were sitting there. I'm just wondering, how much of the emphasis this summer came from you guys saying, 'Please, please get connectivity with each other,' or how much of it was organic and coming from the players?
Steve Kerr 4:11
Well, I think it's a combination. And my job as a coach is to help them connect. And I think last time I talked to you I think I probably said that I didn't think I did the job well last year. I think a big part of my job this year is to get the team connected, but that's a season-long process. I think Mike Dunleavy and his staff did a great job this summer of putting together a roster that should connect well on and off the floor. I think sometimes losing gives you some clarity. I think I probably said that at the end of the year too. And I really believe that a year ago we came in off a championship and let our guard down a little bit, frankly, and it's human nature. But it's sort of the way things work. And so when you lose in the second round and you feel like you've had a disappointing year, it's a lot easier to come in and be focused. It's a lot easier for me to come in as the coach and be more demanding and I think the players will expect that, too.
Deiter Kurtenbach 5:24
Steve, you and Bob had this, from the outside, very enviable relationship between front office and coach. How is your connectivity with Mike Dunleavy so far this summer?
Steve Kerr 5:34
Yeah, I mean, Bob and I remain very close. We talk all the time. I could not ask for a better new partner than Mike, given that Mike and Bob are best friends and Bob is one of the best GMs in the business as we know, and has been for a decade. And he was able to groom Mike over the last few years. So there couldn't be a better situation for me. Mike and I have gotten close. We've spent a lot of time together. We have a lot of shared values in terms of what we think wins. What kind of player, what kind of team, and so we're on the same page and we really enjoy being around one another and I anticipate this being a great relationship and partnership.
Connor Letourneau 6:31
Steve, how are you feeling about the center rotation entering training camp right now and I know you don't necessarily place a huge emphasis on size, but can you kind of reiterate your feelings about that?
Steve Kerr 6:45
Well, first of all, I'm very comfortable -- I think signing Dario was huge for our team. He is really the kind of player that fits us well, a little bit like Bjelica a couple years ago. He's a different player than Beli, but there's a similar style in terms of his ability to connect the game with shooting and passing and awareness, court awareness. Dario is bigger than Beli. He's a very physical player, but he's going to fit us well either as a five or playing in a two-big lineup as well. So I think his addition really made all of us feel very comfortable going into camp, that spot. And then I think the addition of Usman to the two-way spot was a really nice pickup as well. He's a young player who's got some of the qualities that Draymond and Loon have. He's not gonna wow you with athleticism, but strength, awareness, length, ability to guard multiple positions. Usman is a good player and I think we're we're excited to be able to add him to that rotation as well.
Anthony Slater 8:08
You obviously have your established starting lineup and you have Chris coming in. Have you thought any more, made any decisions based on starting lineup?
Steve Kerr 8:16
Yeah, I mean, we basically have six starters, I mean, the way I look at it. And only five can go each night. So I haven't decided yet. What we're going to do, I want to see training camp, we're going to try different combinations and take a look. Obviously all six guys are gonna play a lot of minutes for us. But if this is going to work then everybody has to to embrace it, regardless of who's starting and who's not. It only works if if the whole team buys in and I know these guys well. I know five of them really well. And I'm getting to know Chris and one thing I know about all of them is they want to win more than anything. They're an incredibly competitive group. And I'm very confident that we'll figure it out and the guys will buy in and find a way
Anthony Slater 9:07
There's obviously various combinations you could go to, but how comfortable are you with like, I guess you would consider kind of like the hyper-small lineup that would be Chris, Steph, Klay, Andrew and Draymond?
Steve Kerr 9:18
Yeah, we'll look at that for sure in camp and exhibition games and see what that looks like. It's hard to imagine that that wouldn't click pretty well given that you've got a lot of talent and versatility and scoring on the floor. I think that lineup putting Loon on the floor at the five, you could do as well with four smaller guys and Loon at center. But as you know, we've we've started Loon and Draymond together for years. They're great combination, probably one of the few, four-five combinations in the league that is unique like that, in terms of more screening than shooting. Most people are throwing four shooters out there. We're still throwing two bigs out there and it's worked well, but we've always had the changeup of going small so we're going to look at all that.
Ann Killion 10:22
Steve, can you comment on your experience this summer with USA Basketball and just being the head coach of a team that's not the Warriors, for the first time? Is there anything you take away from that experience that you learned about yourself or that you're going to bring into this season, that's going to make you any different?
Steve Kerr 10:39
Yeah, that's one of the best aspects of being part of USA Basketball is there's so much to learn so much that's different with the game, with the FIBA game, with the experience itself, coaching a team that's only together for six weeks, coaching with an entirely different staff. It was an amazing experience and no regrets. Obviously, we're disappointed that we didn't win, but the guys were fantastic. Nobody ever complained about playing time. Everybody was all in, they committed to the goal, they worked like crazy, staff was amazing. The support from Grant Hill, Sean Ford, Jim Tooley. USA Basketball is a special organization, so a great honor to be the coach and very proud of the effort that the guys put in and I absolutely learned a ton from Spo, from Mark Few, from Ty Lue. Those guys are incredible coaches and it's one of the best parts of the experience is just collaborating and gathering each day to discuss the team and you definitely get ideas from each other and some of those, I'll for sure bring back.
Madeline Kenney 11:59
Last year you guys got off to a slow start and we're struggling on the road. Just looking at the schedule, how much of an opportunity do you see the first few months you have where you're a lot at home, a lot on the Pacific Time zone, how much of an opportunity do you think that will be and how much urgency do you have at the beginning of the year?
Steve Kerr 12:16
Yeah, I never paid too close attention to the schedule because it is what it is. There's just, you're gonna play 41 at home, 41 on the road, and you just go take it a week at a time. I do think we need to have a good training camp. I think it's imperative that we get off to a better start this year, not just in terms of our record, but in terms of our preparation. I think it'll be frankly very helpful that we're not going overseas, that we'll be here, we'll have a really good extended time to practice and work and prepare and, ultimately, last year we weren't good enough defensively at the start of the season, and that's why we went 0-and-5 on that early road trip. So we've got to make sure we're defending at a high level by the time the season starts, so that we can win at home and on the road.
Dalton Johnson 13:12
Steve, defensively, theoretically, you should have Gary Payton II for a full season, the start of the season. Same thing with having Andrew Wiggins for a full season. What's that confidence-wise, the boost to have those guys for a full season again?
Steve Kerr 13:24
Yeah, it's a big deal. I mean, we know what we're capable of defensively, given the guys who have done it already. Two years ago, we were I think a top-five defensive team, if I'm not mistaken, second to Boston, I believe. So getting Gary back, being able to start the season with him is a big boost and knock on wood, hopefully we stay healthy. But I think the defensive end is where it has to start. I mean, on the road last year I think we were close to dead last, if not dead last and right there and on the road. It was a bizarre season in terms of the numbers. A lot of people talked about it being fluke-ish, but I believe that when a team is not well connected, then the road is where that lack of connection will show and I think that's what happened last year, and that's why I'm gonna really keep talking about this connection and the fact that we've got to bond and come together right away to get off to a good start.
Dalton Johnson 13:50
And then with Trayce, can you just kind of talk about the importance of four years of college, 124 games I believe it was, to come into a system like that as a rookie. And what part of his game do you think that can maybe be expanded coming into the NBA as a double-double guy like he was at Indiana?
Steve Kerr 14:52
Yeah, Trayce is an impressive young prospect. You don't see that kind of college experience very often anymore. But you immediately recognize the experience level and the advantage that gives him. What I like about Trayce, he plays the way we like to play. Good passer, dribble-handoff guy the top of the key, good screener, give us a lob threat that we don't otherwise have, which is a really nice addition. And I think he's the kind of guy who feels the game well, he's got a good feel for passing, cutting, movement. And a lot of the stuff that we already run, he runs really well. So Trayce is a really intriguing prospect and it'll be fun to watch him play.
John Dickinson 15:40
Steve, with Kuminga you last year spoke of him as almost exclusively as a four in your rotation where you play him. Do you still view it that way, given the way this roster is composed and has there been maybe a little bit of a pull between the things you and the coaching staff want him to do to get on the floor and get minutes, and maybe the things that he wants to do, just in growing his own game as a young player, young dynamic player?
Steve Kerr 16:08
I'm excited about JK, he's had a really good summer. I was getting reports routinely when I was overseas. And the coaches were all raving about him, saying that he's really worked hard and understood what's needed from him. I think it'll be very helpful for him to play with Chris Paul. Chris has a way of making the game easier for people and I anticipate them spending some time on the court together and Chris helping to unlock some of that potential. Otherwise, JK's in his third year and getting better and working hard and he's right on track to get where he needs to go. So I'm excited. [Inaudible follow-up question from Dickinson] Well, I look at combinations and I think one thing that happened last year, we didn't have a shooting big last year. So, the year before we had Otto Porter and Beli. You could definitely play JK with a shooting big, but it's tougher to play him last year with Draymond and Loon. You just don't get the spacing that you would optimally like to have. So I think we have more possibilities this year with Dario because of Dario's ability to pass and space the floor is a big. I think that can open things up for everybody.
Jason Dumas 17:47
Steve, probably not on the top of your mind, but first night of the season, Kevin Durant comes back here. It'll be the first time he gets to play in front of fans. What kind of reception do you think he'll get?
Steve Kerr 17:58
Oh, I think the fans will give Kevin the reception he deserves, someone who was Finals MVP and has played a huge role in hanging two banners in this building. It's been so strange that, here we are four years later and he still hasn't had the chance to play in front of our fans. We've obviously gone against him several times, but the gyms have been either empty or cheering for his side. So it'll be great to get him back at Chase and in front of our home fans and he deserves that ovation that our fans will give him that night.
MIKE DUNLEAVY (from last Mon 9/25)
Mike Dunleavy 0:03
We good to go? Okay. Yeah, I just want to kick things off here and say I think we're excited for the start of the season with training camp right around the corner. I feel like we've had a good productive offseason, made it to the job here for a few months since I was last up here and still here and have the job, so I haven't messed it up too much. But, no, we feel good with where our team's at with where our rosters at. We'll add a few more players over the next few days to invite to camp and then from there, we'll see what we have. I think it'll be a good, competitive training camp with some positions and some playing time up for grabs. And we really want to focus on getting off to a good start this season. So I think our players have been in the gym throughout the summer. Good young development program we have going and our veterans are starting to trickle back in now. So I just think we're in a good place mentally, physically. We're healthy going into camp and looking forward to a great season. Any questions to open it up?
Kendra Andrews 1:05
Yeah. Hi. Good to see you. When it comes to that open roster spot and the guys that you're going to be bringing in, having a training camp, what are some characteristics that you think is important to fill that 15th spot with?
Mike Dunleavy 1:17
Yeah, I think we got two spots, 14 and 15. We don't have to use them both, but we're open to it. And I think from that standpoint, if there was a positional need or something that we absolutely needed, I think maybe we've already pursued and committed to that. The nice thing is I think we have good versatility and optionality throughout the roster. So nothing that we absolutely have to do right now. We're bringing in a mix of different players that we think can do some different things and we'll evaluate in camp. But I don't think we have our sights set on any one thing right now in terms of a guard, a big, a wing, a young player, an old player. We're kind of open and I think that's a great position to be in, where we have flexibility and can kind of evaluate to see what's the best for our team.
Tim Kawakami 2:03
Mike, can you characterize the discussions with Dwight Howard and what led to a yes/no decision on him there?
Mike Dunleavy 2:10
Yeah, I mean, I would just say in general, like, we brought maybe 40 or 50 guys in this summer to get a further look at, knowing agents and people around the league knowing we've got two roster spots open. So there's a desire to come in and meet with us and play with our guys. And we've looked at a lot of different players, and some of them will bring into camp. But the player you mentioned is just one of many that we brought in and evaluated and I think right now you'll know more about who we're inviting to camp in a couple days, but overall we feel good about what we've done this summer and we'll keep our options open in terms of who we need to add.
Dalton Johnson 2:49
Mike, what are your thoughts on Kuminga and Moody entering their third season and how do you feel adding a veteran like Chris Paul can aid their development?
Mike Dunleavy 2:58
Yeah, I feel great about those guys. They both had really good summers, and they've been around here some and they've been elsewhere where they're getting good work in so we're excited for them to see what they can do in Year Three. I think there'll be some more opportunity and playing time available. And as you mentioned with Chris adding him into the mix, as well as Cory Joseph, even Dario Saric, I think all those guys can really complement and help our younger players with the way they play, their experience, their maturity. So we're excited and optimistic about what JK and Moses can do in Year Three here.
Kendra Andrews 3:31
Obviously, the season hasn't even fully started yet, but both Klay and Steve are entering the final years of their contracts. Have those discussions begun? Is it important to get it going earlier or just table that (at a) later time?
Mike Dunleavy 3:48
Yeah, no. So I mean with those guys, I mean, the main thing is, it's good on both sides. I think there's a desire to extend or be back or maybe make sure those guys are in the fold with the Golden State Warriors moving forward. So I think both sides feel that way. And when you're working off of that idea, I think you can come to come to a deal and so hopefully we can do that. In those scenarios, there's no real specific timeline in the immediate future that we have to abide by. So we'll continue to have conversations, but the main goal is to secure those guys moving forward and I think they feel a little bit of the same. But we're optimistic and I think we're in a good place there.
Deiter Kurtenbach 4:27
Mike, obviously Steve and your predecessor had a very tight relationship. Now that you've stepped into the role, how's your relationship with Steve changed? You had one before, but I imagine it's a lot more time together now.
Mike Dunleavy 4:39
Yeah, I think it helps for myself being around here the last few years, getting to know Steve, Steve getting to know me a little bit and obviously our communication touch points have ramped up now with this promotion. But overall, I have a great relationship with Steve, a ton of success that he's brought this way and I'll probably lean on him in a lot of ways. He's had this position before as a general manager, so he definitely can provide some great insight and he already has, and I'll continue to help and support him anyway I can.
Connor Letourneau 5:12
Mike, to your earlier point, why specifically, are you comfortable with the potential center rotation and why do you feel like maybe size is a little bit overblown, the need for size is a little bit overblown?
Mike Dunleavy 5:25
Yeah. I mean, I want to get into camp and see a little bit about our needs. I'm not fully committed to say we're good at that position. But I know for camp we are, we've got five guys that can play center in training camp. To me, it's a position that you can't play multiple of them of, so I want to make sure everybody gets enough reps. And I think that's been our discussion with the coaching staff as well. And I think that's the path we'll head down from there. Again, we;ve got to evaluate it. And I think with us, we have to be very careful about the types of players we bring in. Just because a guy is tall, or just because a guy can shoot, or just because a guy is athletic, doesn't necessarily mean they they can fit in the way we play. And so we've got to be very mindful of that and we'll continue to do so but I like the five guys we can play center right now. I think they all fit well with how Steve wants to play and looking forward to evaluating them in the next few weeks.
Madeline Kenney 6:19
Mike, you mentioned a couple times and Steve mentioned that Chris Paul's role, starter or bench, will be determined in training camp, but what are some of the determining factors that you're looking for in training camp that will decide that?
Mike Dunleavy 6:30
Yeah, I think a lot of people's roles will be determined in camp, not just Chris. But a little bit of your question, I'll probably defer to Steve on. I'll chat with him on it. He'll bounce things off our way as a front office, but ultimately you get into camp and you get lineups together and you start thinking into the season, that's a coaching thing. And so totally defer to him on that. And I just know we've got a pretty good roster and when you talk about Chris and the five starters that we had last year, who when they played were great, I think we've got good optionality.
Dalton Johnson 7:02
Hey Mike, as we look at the open roster spots, what's the confidence level knowing that you should have a full season now of Gary Payton II back in the fold and Andrew Wiggins, as well just kind of that automatic boosts early on?
Mike Dunleavy 7:13
Yeah, I mean, we're confident. I mean, those guys have put in good time this summer. Their bodies are healthy, in good shape, but injuries happen. And so you want to have the right amount of depth and backup and all that stuff. But yeah, knock on wood right now. We feel great about where those guys are at, the rest of the guys on our roster, both physically, mentally, so we're in a good place here at the end of September.
Anthony Slater 7:35
How much have your veterans been around or been meeting, I guess, elsewhere together? How much has Chris been involved in that and what are you seeing right now as far as how ready and hungry your veterans seem to be?
Mike Dunleavy 7:50
Yeah, I've seen a great amount of connectivity this offseason, whether they're meeting up in areas in Southern California or Las Vegas, what have you. Not only that, there's some times in August where we had our young guys in and Steph was in, CP -- I mean, Chris Paul took a Southwest flight at 6am to be up here to for a workout one day. So these guys are all in on making it work and us having a great season. So really, like I said, I really feel good with where we're at in September and got a ton of work to do but I think the foundation is in a good place right now.
Tim Kawakami 8:23
You mentioned connection or connectivity a lot the last few months when you got the job, other times. How much has that been an emphasis from you guys to them? Or has that been you and Steph and everybody? How much has that word come up and -- you mentioned a few examples of it -- how much have you seen that happen leading up to camp?
Mike Dunleavy 8:40
Yeah, it's been huge. I mean, I think not only with the players, but the coaching staff, the front office, we're all sort of talking about and preaching it and kind of lost a little bit of that last year. And I think the players, you almost haven't really had to say much to them about it, they got it. And they know we were a little discombobulated, especially as the season went on last year and everybody knows that we need to correct it and I think we've made the right steps this summer and we'll continue to need to build through camp. But we're in a good place in that area. But it doesn't just -- you gotta keep it going.
Tim Kawakami 9:11
When CP3 flew out here, who was the workout with, was it with Steph and Draymond, all those guys?
Mike Dunleavy 9:16
Yeah, we just had we had -- our guys are in the gym a lot this summer playing pickup and we had a pickup game. Steph was in a decent amount. But he's got a busy schedule in the offseason. So it was a day where Steph knew he was coming in. Chris, being at his offseason home in LA, made the effort to get up here and that's the one thing about Chris, he loves to play. And so it means getting on a flight early in the morning to get up here and get a game in. Gotta respect the guy.
John Dickinson 9:16
Mike, where do things stand right now with Klay Thompson and just your desire to get an extension for him and get him more aligned with Steph Curry's remaining years and now Draymond Green's remaining years?
Mike Dunleavy 9:54
Yeah, that's really important to us, to keep Klay in the fold. He provides an element that's so unique to this team and he knows the ins and outs. He's been here as long as anybody so continuing Klay's career here as a Warrior is really important to us. I think last year he showed, for the most part, he can really still play at a high level and in some ways, I think missing two full seasons maybe back make up a little bit on the back end. And I think he's primed to have a really good kind of mid 30s career and I know he's put a ton of time in this offseason. So, excited for the year he's got ahead of him.
Dalton Johnson 10:31
Klay last offseason kind of talked about the mental hurdle that he was facing, where he wasn't playing pickup, etc. Now we know that this offseason, we've seen him in some of these workout videos doing pickup. From your perspective, player-wise and now in your role now, how important is that to see him get those reps and be back in pickup, mentally as well?
Mike Dunleavy 10:50
Yeah, it's huge. I mean, having been there myself, as you get older, the offseasons become even more important. You got to find a way to keep yourself in shape, in the mix, so when training camp comes around, you're ready to go and I think for Klay it's been tough the last few years with his injuries. He's doing a lot of rehab. And you get to the point where it's like, alright, I'm sure he got through our championship season and it was in some ways just like a reset and a letdown and I think last summer was tough for him. But I think this summer he's been a totally different animal and really engaged on it. And, like I said, in a great place right now to kick off the season.
Deiter Kurtenbach 11:28
Mike, you mentioned training camp and the competition that you want to see in that. Is that something that's just a circumstance of having two roster spots open? So let's just see who we got, or is it something that you and Steve and the rest of the guys want to establish kind of a tone for the season get a little more sweat in at the beginning of the year to kind of get the tires a little bit of tread?
Mike Dunleavy 11:47
Yeah, I think it's both. I mean, certainly with the roster spots, so you got some stuff to figure out in terms of who you want on the team. But also, I think with last year you're coming off a championship. The summer was shorter, we started camp early because we had to go to Japan. It was just such a whirlwind, such a quick turn around. Now we've had some time to sort of get a good summer underneath us, reenergize and we'll kick off camp at kind of the normal time of year, actually a little bit later this year, starting in early October. It just feels like the summer has gone on long enough. It's time to get going again. And that's what we're looking forward to.
Anthony Slater 12:24
How do you think you guys will handle this new rest policy that the league is trying to implement?
Mike Dunleavy 12:32
Yeah, I mean, certainly the parameters are based around a lot of our stuff in terms of back-to-backs, national TV games and having four players who sort of qualify under the load management rest policy. And look, the league makes the rules, we'll play by it. That's the best I can say. I do know that we have a tremendous amount of data and science and input from our players in terms of how much they should be playing, how much they shouldn't be playing. And we've always leaned on that in the past. We'll continue to lean on it, but we've got to play by the rules, too.
John Dickinson 13:07
Just going back to Kuminga and Moody and just how do you feel about the overall depth that you have? And I think you referenced opportunities for them to play. Is it at a point now where you just in your mind, 'Hey, they have to they have to be a part of it on a night in, night out basis,' which hasn't always been the case?
Mike Dunleavy 13:26
Yeah, I mean, I don't know about "have to" or any mandates as far as those guys go. But I also think they're probably more ready. And you always want to get these guys minutes early in their career and Year One, Year Two, and we've talked about a lot of that the last few years but, like, Year Three these guys are older now. They know our system. They're more mature. I think our veterans, our coaches trust them more. So I think there realistically will be much more of an opportunity for them to play. But that being said, we've got a good team, we've got good depth, there's no guarantees. But as far as those guys go, I think they're in a good place.
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