Current Warriors vs. 2015-16 Warriors? GM Bob Myers picks his winner


Current Warriors vs. 2015-16 Warriors? GM Bob Myers picks his winner

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders tonight at 6 p.m. PT streaming live on the MyTeams app.

The 2015-16 Warriors won an NBA single-season record 73 games. They overcame a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals and then blew a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals.

Steph Curry became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. It was an incredibly special nine months.

The 2018-19 Warriors are 30-14 right now. It's been an up-and-down campaign and there's been some legit turmoil (see: Draymond Green-Kevin Durant feud). But on Tuesday night in Denver, the Dubs showed how dominant they can be in a 142-111 shellacking of the Nuggets.

Golden State general manager Bob Myers was a guest on KNBR 680 on Wednesday morning and was asked if it's fair to say that the gap between the Warriors and the rest of the league has closed since that historic 2015-16 season.

"I think the league has evolved from where it was then. They've shifted more towards the style that we were playing then," Myers answered. "We've changed too but the league has certainly become more athletic in many ways, you've got more positionless guys, it's a better shooting league, everybody's playing faster.

"The league has changed but here's the question to ask when that kind of thought is raised -- which is a very fair thought -- and this is not me being defensive at all, but I think this team beats that team in a series.

"I think this is a better team. And people will say, 'It's crazy. You were 24-0 and you won 73 games.' I still believe in a seven-game series, this roster beats that roster."

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast -- Dubs in first place after dominating in Denver]

It's hard to disagree with that. The main reason is due to the addition a certain someone you may have heard of: Kevin Wayne Durant. You know, the reigning two-time Finals MVP, who was playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder back in 2016.

Also, take a look at Curry's statistics through the Warriors' first 44 games in both seasons.

-2018-19 = 29.5 points, 5.5 assists, 49.1 percent overall, 45.6 percent from 3-point range (5.3 makes per game)
-2015-16 = 30.1 points, 6.6 assists, 51 percent overall, 45.1 percent from 3-point range (4.9 makes per game)

Plain and simple, these Warriors are not approaching every regular season game with the focus and intensity that the 2015-16 squad brought on a nightly basis. That team was trying to break the Bulls' record of 72 wins.

Fast forward a few years, the motivations and goals understandably are not the same. 

"When you look at us, and this is asking a lot because fans can view the game any way they want and that's their prerogative and that's completely fine -- but there's times where you gotta pull back a little bit and go, 'OK, these guys are trying to do this for the fifth time in a row -- to go to the Finals.' And that hasn't been done in 50 years," Myers said. "And that's not a throwaway line.

"That just gives people perspective in that it's hard. Doesn't mean we're not gonna try, doesn't mean our guys don't give effort. But there's a lot more to do it ... that's how you kind of gotta view it."

Listen to your GM boys and girls. He's a smart dude.

And how could we forget -- DeMarcus Cousins will be making his debut on Friday night against the Clippers.

The best is likely still to come.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

How Kobe Bryant, Brian Shaw built enduring three-decade relationship

How Kobe Bryant, Brian Shaw built enduring three-decade relationship

To know their back story is to understand why even now, a full day after receiving the awful news and for the foreseeable future, Brian Shaw grapples with the loss of Kobe Bryant.

“I might have known him longer than anybody else still involved in the NBA,” Shaw told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday, 27 hours after Kobe, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others perished in a helicopter crash in Southern California.

“He was a special, special player,” Shaw added. “And not many people got to have the access to him that I had over such a long period of time, from a young boy to a young man, to a mature man.”

The Shaw-Bryant relationship began after Shaw’s rookie year with the Celtics. Though he was Boston’s first-round draft pick in 1988 and started 54 games, salary-cap restrictions limited his salary to the league minimum $75,000. So, he signed a contract with Messaggero Roma of the Italian League, where Joe Bryant, Kobe’s father, played for Reggio Emilia.

Kobe was 10 years old and Shaw remembers him as a “little gym rat,” always dribbling and shooting as teams were warming up. Shaw spent one year in Italy, returned to the Celtics, with whom he played one more year and part of another before being dealt to Miami.

Upon becoming an unrestricted free agent in 1994, Shaw signed with Orlando. A few months later, when the Magic were playing the 76ers – the Bryants had moved back Philadelphia – Kobe, then a junior at suburban Lower Merion High School, made a prediction.

“He said to me, ‘I’m going to be playing with you after my senior year of high school,’” Shaw recalled. “He said, ‘I was thinking about maybe forgoing my senior year of high school and coming to play after this year.’ I just kind of laughed. I hadn’t seen him since he was a little kid, and now he was about the same height as I was.

“But I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. OK. Sure. Whatever.’ I just laughed it off.”

Kobe remained at Lower Merion for his senior season, during which he and Shaw crossed paths again. It was during the NBA playoffs and Joe Bryant took his son to Orlando to meet Penny Hardaway, one of Kobe’s favorite players. By then, with Kobe collecting numerous national awards, Shaw was becoming a believer.

Not long after, Kobe was standing before dozens of cameras and microphones announcing his decision to skip college and declare for the NBA draft. He was the sixth prep – and first guard – to completely bypass college for the pros.

“I instantly remembered what he had said,” Shaw said.

Selected by the Charlotte Hornets and immediately traded to the Lakers in a prearranged deal, Bryant didn’t play much as a rookie but cracked the rotation in his second season. Shaw, who had moved on to the Warriors, began to see the development of a legend.

“We were playing at The Forum,” he recalled. “Looking down the court, a bunch of guys were playing. They had one of the Cotton brothers, I think it was Schea, on the team. Mario Bennett, who went to Arizona State, was there. There were maybe five guys playing o

ne-on-one, King of the Court, where you beat somebody, keep the ball, and the next person would try and beat you. And Kobe was just going through the line killing guys. All of them.

“I was at the other end, warming up and watching but I was thinking, ‘Damn, he can really play.’ But he wasn’t playing much because they had Eddie Jones, who was damn good at that time.”

Two years later, in October 1999, Shaw signed a free-agent contract with the Lakers, for which he can thank Kobe.

Though Shaw had impressed during a couple summer workouts for the Lakers, he was informed by new coach Phil Jackson that the team had no guaranteed contracts available. Shaw returned home to Oakland, stayed in shape and waited for a call from any team that might be interested.

The Lakers opened camp and shortly afterward and in the preseason opener in Jacksonville, Kobe sustained a hand injury that would sideline him for the remainder of the preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season. Within hours, Jackson phoned Shaw and invited him to join the Lakers.

“He said, ‘We fly back tomorrow. Meet us at the facility at LA Southwest College to take a physical and get the paperwork done,” Shaw recalled. “He also said, ‘You have eight weeks to make me cut somebody with a guaranteed contract.’”

[RELATED: Bob Myers reflects on 'warrior' Kobe Bryant]

Shaw played well. When Kobe was ready to return in November, Jackson kept his word, waiving Sam Jacobson, the team’s 1998 first-round draft pick.

Ten years after meeting, Shaw and Bryant were teammates. The bond was strengthened over the years, as Shaw transitioned from player to assistant coach on Jackson’s staff.

“I met him when he was a little boy,” Shaw said. "I knew him in high school. I played against him. I played with him. I coached him. And we continued the relationship all the way up until now.”

Bob Myers tells hilarious story of playing H-O-R-S-E with Kobe Bryant

Bob Myers tells hilarious story of playing H-O-R-S-E with Kobe Bryant

Before he joined the Warriors as assistant general manager in April 2011, Bob Myers served as an NBA player agent.

He worked for the legendary Arn Tellem, who was Kobe Bryant's first agent. So naturally, Myers crossed paths with Kobe quite often in the late 1990s and early 2000s. And during a radio appearance Monday morning on 95.7 The Game, Myers shared the following story about the NBA legend who tragically died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash.

"This guy embodied the antithesis of load management. He would play when he shouldn't have played. He would play against doctor's orders. We were doing a commercial -- I didn't have any money then -- he was with Adidas then. He was doing an Adidas commercial and he said, 'Do you want to be an extra on a commercial?'

"I said, 'All right, fine.' So I went there and we were playing H-O-R-S-E. And on these commercial shoots, it's thousands of dollars every time a second (is wasted) because they're paying the crew. I was winning -- I had him H-O-R-S. They had this crane set up where he was gonna be in the air dunking, and they were waiting for him.

"So the director said, 'Kobe, we're ready.' And he said, 'No, no. I got to finish this game.' And I looked at him and I said, 'You got to go do your commercial, man. It's fine, I won. I won this game.' He goes, 'No, no, no. We're finishing the H-O-R-S-E game.' 

"Then the director and hundreds of people are looking at me going, 'You got to stop him.' I said, 'What do you guys want me to do?' I said, 'Fine, I won't play.' Kobe said, 'No, you got to finish.' Of course he comes back and beats me.

"That's who he was. He competed."

[RELATEDDraymond issues emotional message regarding Kobe's death]

What a great story. But we aren't supposed to be hearing about these types of memories right now. Kobe is supposed to be with us still.

Life just isn't fair.

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