Warriors

Warriors GM Bob Myers: 'We didn't set out to create a Super Team'

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AP

Warriors GM Bob Myers: 'We didn't set out to create a Super Team'

The phrase "Super Team" is rolled out left and right in the NBA and the current lead example is the defending champion Golden State Warriors. 

"We didn't set out to create a Super Team," Warriors GM Bob Myers said Tuesday night on NBA TV. "Five years ago, we were looking up at Miami, the Lakers, Spurs or whoever. You don't quit. What can you do? You try to do it the best you can and compete and build and hopefully every decision you make makes you incrementally better, whether it's five perent, 10." 

After defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven games in the Western Conference Finals in the 2015-16 season, and then losing in seven games of the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors signed Thunder star Kevin Durant. Many deemed the Warriors to be unfair as the NBA's next Super Team adding Durant to the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, etc. 

But the Warriors drafted Curry, Thompson and Green, and Myers knows that's where the process to greatness truly starts. 

"For us, it was I inherited Steph Curry from when I showed up," Myers continued. "You draft Klay Thompson, you say, 'Well that makes us a little better.' You make a trade that makes us a little better. We got fortunate that Iguodala wanted to come on board. Now we're a little better. You grab a couple vets. You put yourself in position in the draft and get lucky and get a Draymond Green. And then Durant was completely unexpected."

Myers won't comment on if Super Teams are good or bad for the NBA, but he knows firsthand that they don't happen overnight and every front office is out looking to do the same thing eventually. 

"Whether it's good or bad, I don't know," Myers said. "I think all of us understand the moves we make four years ago, five years ago, three years ago, lead to now. When LeBron and Bosh came (to Miami), it's because they drafted Wade and he was so good and won a championship. He loved that culture so much that he went out to LeBron and Bosh and said, 'C'mon man, this is the place to come.' 

"So the decision to draft Dwyane Wade was the pivotal decision. ...The decisions we make years prior, lead us to where we are today. Somebody's making decisions right now that are going to be impactful three, four years from now and that person's gonna be sitting here." 

Young fan weeps after KD signs his shoes

Young fan weeps after KD signs his shoes

Fans can sometimes get caught up in sports for the wrong reasons -- but what happened Monday night at Oracle Arena after the Warriors win over Portland was nothing short of fantastic. 

A young boy, amed with two huge basketball shoes, found himself face-to-face with Warriors superstar Kevin Durant. Durant obliged, grabbing his pen, and signing both shoes. 

Overcome with emotion, the boy circled back to find his family -- mission accomplished.

One moment in win over Trail Blazers epitomizes Jordan Bell

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USATSI

One moment in win over Trail Blazers epitomizes Jordan Bell

OAKLAND -- Jordan Bell won’t be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, but he’s probably matching Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons highlight for highlight.

Bell won’t be named to the league’s All-Defensive team, either, but you won’t find another rookie defending at his level. He’s a second-round pick, 38th overall, making a case for the All-Rookie team.

He won’t win a spot in the Warriors starting lineup this season. But over the last five weeks, Bell has evolved from occasionally being relegated to the inactive list to earning semi-regular minutes to becoming a very valuable member of the bench.

And his coach, Steve Kerr, also has evolved from benching Bell for learning purposes to saying he deserves more minutes to, this week, announcing that the forward/center is been “outstanding” in his rookie season.

The latest examples came Monday night, in a 111-104 win over Portland. With Draymond Green sitting out due to sore right shoulder, Kerr inserted Bell into the lineup for his third start. His numbers were excellent: 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, six rebounds, two assists and one block over 26 minutes. He was plus-14, best of anyone on the team.

But, as often is the case, Bell’s performance includes moments that astound the observer. In this instance it’s a third-quarter chase-down block of a layup by Blazers star Damian Lillard, the trailer on a two-on-one fast break.

Bell, who concedes that his bad-pass turnover triggered the Portland break, immediately remembers a sequence last week in New Orleans, where a Warriors turnover gave the Pelicans a three-on-one break.

“They missed, got the rebound again and missed again,” he recalled. “I was just standing there and coach was like, ‘Get down there. You’re a rookie. That’s how you have to be successful on this team. You have to play hard.’

“I was about to walk down. And then I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to get taken out.’ So I just ran down and happened to be in the right place.”

It’s one of several highlight plays for the Warriors. No, it was more than that.

“That chase-down block after the turnover was spectacular,” said Kevin Durant, who drained a jumper seven seconds after the block. “That play kind of got us going.”

If Lillard makes the layup, it trims the Warriors lead to nine, 66-57, with 9:32 left in the quarter.

Instead, with Oracle Arena roaring and the team energized, the Warriors turn up the energy and, less than three minutes later, have a 21-point lead, 80-59.

That moment represents Bell perfectly. The 6-foot-8 Oregon product commited a rookie mistake, and then neutralized it with a play very few players can make.

“That’s the tradeoff,” Kerr said. “We’re trying to bring Jordan along slowly, but he makes it hard to keep him off the floor. We’re pointing out his mistakes and trying to teach him about the NBA game and his opponents, who he’s guarding and what to expect. It comes at you fast as a rookie. From one night to the next you’ve got all these star players and tendencies you have to learn, and coverages and terminology.

“He’s coming along really well. He’s been outstanding for us.”

Bell’s 21.56 player-efficiency rating is fourth among the Warriors but first among all rookies. It’s ahead of such power forwards as Boston’s Al Horford and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon. Bell’s 1.65 plus-minus mark is third among rookies, behind Simmons and Boston’s Jayson Tatum, both of whom start.

Bell’s ratings are somewhat skewed because he’s a reserve playing shorter minutes -- he’s averaging 11.3 minutes per game, but 14.7 minutes over the last 10 -- but he’s making more of an impact, on a better team, than some lottery picks.

Bell’s defensive rating (98.6) is 30th among all players averaging at least 10 minutes per game but leads all rookies at that level. He’s comfortable switching onto star guards, such as CJ McCollum and Lillard, and is able to shut them down.

“That’s kind of his forte,” Kerr said. “That’s what we liked about him coming out of Oregon, was the ability to switch out onto guards and (also) protect the rim. It’s a very unique skill, kind of a Draymond Green-like skill. It’s a required one in the modern NBA with all these little guards shooting 28-footers and then penetrating and the floor (being) spaced. You have to have that speed and athleticism and versatility. Jordan’s got that.”

For someone who didn’t play much basketball until high school at Long Beach Poly High, Bell has a remarkable feel for the game, impeccable timing and a stunning ability to react as a play is developing.

And now he’s picking the brains of such veterans as Andre Iguodala, David West, Zaza Pachulia and, of course, Green, who is Bell’s personal Yoda.

Whatever they’re telling Bell, it seems he’s able to apply. He’s a quick learner, as Lillard discovered Monday night.

“I knew we drafted a guy that was ready to play,” Klay Thompson said. “He spent three years in college and has an NBA body and is great athlete. He just keeps it simple and that’s why he’s so good.”