Juan Toscano-Anderson took a major step forward in his NBA career last season, rising from a two-way player to one of the Warriors' most important reserves due to his defensive versatility and hustle.
While speaking to reporters during Warriors Media Day on Monday, Toscano-Anderson revealed a pair of lofty goals for himself and the organization this season.
"As far as my approach to my craft and my job, no I have not changed. I still want more, I want to win a championship, I want to try and be on the All-Defensive Team, those things," Toscano-Anderson said. "I'm still going as hard as I can, not comfortable at all, still feel like my back is against the wall, still Juan from 95th. Still happy to be here, but it's a different approach now. Last year I was just like wow, now it's like 'I deserve to be here because I earned this' but I still am happy nonetheless."
Toscano-Anderson's humility is refreshing in a league like the NBA, but a season like the one he had last season for the Warriors certainly instilled a baseline of confidence that the Oakland native belongs in the NBA.
For a player who had to grind in Mexico and in the G League to earn his way up the ladder, the validation of a guaranteed contract like the one the Warriors gave him this summer was pivotal.
Both of Toscano-Anderson's goals are lofty, but far from unattainable. Since joining the Warriors, JTA has gotten to work day in and day out with one of the NBA's best defensive players of the past decade in Draymond Green, who is a six-time All-Defensive Team selection, and has worked with Toscano-Anderson extensively on refining the aspects of being an elite NBA defender.
If Green and Andrew Wiggins continue their excellent defensive play and Toscano-Anderson can be enough of a force to earn votes for the All-Defensive Team, the Warriors likely would be among the league's best groups on that end of the court.
Defense will be instrumental in separating the Warriors in the Western Conference. If Klay Thompson returns and brings back his brand of above-average on-ball defense, NBA title contention certainly wouldn't be a stretch.
JTA simply wants to win, and there might not be another player on the roster who bringing another championship to the Bay would mean more to than Toscano-Anderson.
He has put in the work, and the pride of 95th street in Oakland hopes it will pay off in 2021-22.