Four days prior to Steph Curry's 33rd birthday, Warriors general manager and president of basketball operations Bob Myers admitted he feels the pressure to maximize the two-time NBA MVP's remaining prime years.
Myers told 95.7 The Game's "Steiny, Guru & Dibs" on Wednesday that feeling hasn't changed since he joined the organization nearly a decade ago, realizing soon after the Warriors had a "generationally good" player to build the franchise around.
"We feel that responsibility until that guy's retired or not on our team," Myers explained. "You have to honor that. You have to do what you can, but that doesn't mean those opportunities are out there every day and they're easy to find. You're always looking, but that's the job. That's what we do, and we get it.
"I don't feel that way because social media feels that way, or there's pressure to feel that way. I feel that pressure because I'm competitive, and I want to win and I grew up a Warriors fan. I want to give the fans a great team, just like everybody else. So we hear that [chatter], but we're always trying to [improve]."
Amid Curry's best season since he became the first unanimous NBA MVP in the history of the league, the Warriors (19-18) emerge from the All-Star break in ninth place in the Western Conference. That would give Golden State a spot in a play-in game (or two) for the chance to make the playoffs as the eighth seed, and a seven-game series against the best team in the Western Conference.
That's a far cry from the Warriors' 73-9 campaign in 2015-16, when Curry last reached these heights. Curry's averages of 29.7 points, 6.3 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game this season haven't been enough for the Warriors to solidify hold of one of the top six seeds in the conference halfway through the season, leading to consternation and criticism within -- and outside of -- the fan base.
The Warriors envisioned the season going much differently, expecting Klay Thompson to return from a torn ACL and join Curry, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and Draymond Green on a rejuvenated squad. Instead, Thompson tore his Achilles hours before Golden State selected center James Wiseman, forcing Golden State to change plans on the fly.
Although the Warriors have developed into one of the league's best defensive teams, consistency has eluded them on a nightly basis. They've not won -- or lost -- more than three games in a row all season, making them an enigma just over two weeks prior to the trade deadline.
Curry outplaying his second contract, coupled with an unprecedented spike in the NBA's salary cap, enabled CEO Joe Lacob to say Golden State was "light years" ahead of the league and afforded the Warriors the space to sign Kevin Durant. Although Curry remains worth every penny (and more) to the Warriors, building around his supermax contract has provided Myers and Co. a different challenge.
Even as the goal remains the same.
"What's your responsibility? It's to help him win a championship, to put the best players around him that you can," Myers said. "So we try to do that, and I think for a stretch, we did. ... And now we say, 'How do we keep doing that?' And it never was easy then, and it's not easy now, but -- we don't ever have it all figured out.
"Even when you win a championship, you're not sitting there going, 'Oh, we're great. We're better than everybody else. We pushed all the right buttons.' You still make mistakes, you still learn from 'em along the way."
Time will tell if Myers and the Warriors have learned enough to ensure Curry's third NBA championship won't be his last.