The Warriors' third championship in four years was about alleviation as much as triumph

The Warriors' third championship in four years was about alleviation as much as triumph

OAKLAND -- The champagne has flowed and the confetti has fallen and now the back-to-back NBA champion Warriors go into summer soaring on the gilded wings of fulfillment.

The lingering memories from the championship parade through the streets of downtown Oakland on Tuesday will be many.

Of Stephen Curry separating from his personal security aide, retired Oakland police officer Ralph Walker, to go sprinting toward the throng, high-fiving fans young and old, male and female, in all the colors of the human rainbow.

Of Nick Young and JaVale McGee, brothers from separate mothers, maligned as teammates early in their careers, wandering shirtless through the masses waving bottles of adult beverages.

And, of course, there was rookie Jordan Bell shedding his shirt and dashing through the crowd, at points scaling barricades to courageously go over and join fans offering him a swig of cognac.

This season-ending celebration, unlike the first two, was about alleviation as much as triumph. The Warriors won because they wanted to, needed to and believed all along that they were able. After failing to meet expectations in the regular season, they embraced them in the postseason and most squarely in the NBA Finals.

“It was very gratifying,” coach Steve Kerr said this week. “But it took a long time to get here.”

This season was, by all accounts, the most trying of four under Kerr, who generally handled it deftly despite still coping with daily physical discomfort.

“He does a great job every year,” general manager Bob Myers said. “But you couldn’t locate or find a better individual on the planet to navigate a team trying to get to The Finals for the (consecutive) fourth year.

“One, because of who he is and his entire makeup. It makes him unique. With all his talents, he checks so many boxes. But also, he played.”

There is no doubt Kerr’s experience as a player, specifically during his time with the Chicago Bulls, who won three successive titles (1996-98), served him well in Year 4. When times got tense, he was easing up and always communicating. When Kerr got irritable, there was Myers, ambling in with the lighter touch. And, always, there was Curry and his measured, moderating personality to bring things back to center.

“For sure, this was the toughest of the four (seasons), mainly because of the cumulative effect of doing this four years in a row, getting to The Finals four years in a row,” Kerr said. “It felt to me like the whole year, we were just trying to get to the playoffs. And that’s not a very healthy way to do it, but we didn’t have much choice. It’s human nature, and a lot of injuries, a lot of wear and tear.”

This was the first season under Kerr in which the Warriors failed to win at least 67 games, ending with a 58-24 record. This was the first time they entered the postseason without homecourt advantage throughout, forcing them to play a Game 7 -- in the Western Conference Finals -- on the road.

Moreover, this also is the first season in which no one on the roster will earn a major individual award. No Coach of the Year, as won by Kerr in 2015. No MVPs, as won by Curry in 2015 and 2016. No Defensive Player of the Year, as won by Draymond Green in 2017.

That no member of the Warriors finished among the top three in the voting for any of those awards is reflective of their collective effort and achievement.

Curry missed 31 games, the most since 2011-12; the Warriors were 17-14 in those games. Andre Iguodala missed 18 and played a career-low 1,623 minutes. Kevin Durant missed 14 games, Green missed 12, the most in his six-year career, and Klay Thompson missed nine, also a career-high. The four All-Stars -- Curry, Durant, Green and Thompson -- were together for 41 games, exactly half of the season.

“All the injuries we went through while going through that grind of trying to get back to this position was extremely tough,” Green conceded.

The Warriors enjoyed their third parade in four seasons. They wear their physical and mental challenges of the season as badges of valor. A season in which doubts cropped up from the outside ended as they all intended when arriving for training camp last September.

“We finished it off with a championship,” Durant said. “We've got a bunch of guys in the locker room that don't care about anything but just being better basketball players every day and winning.” -30-

Report: Steph Curry's mouthpiece to hit auction, could be worth $25,000


Report: Steph Curry's mouthpiece to hit auction, could be worth $25,000

One of Steph Curry's mouthpiece's is reportedly going to hit the auction block.

And no, it's not the one he threw during Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

The mouthpiece that Curry wore during Game 4 of the 2018 Finals will be up for sale, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell.

Curry scored 37 points that night, and also registered six rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.

An excerpt from Rovell's story:

"This is a great, unique piece of memorabilia," said David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions. "It's something that people so identify with Steph, it's something that he closely guards and it's from a significant game."

Kohler said the mouthguard, which has the Under Armour logo and Curry's interlocking SC logo, could be worth at least $25,000.

"It would be perfect for a Warriors fan who is a dentist," Kohler said.

How much would you be willing to pay for the mouthpiece?

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

Draymond Green tries his hand at scouting during latest Warriors Draft workout


Draymond Green tries his hand at scouting during latest Warriors Draft workout

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Tuesday brought in six more draft hopefuls, who went through drills under the watchful eyes of the five most significant layers of the team.

CEO Joe Lacob was there, as was general manager Bob Myers, assistant GM/chief scout Larry Harris, assistant coach Ron Adams and...forward Draymond Green.

This is a glimpse into the inner workings of the Warriors, a hoops democracy in which every voice is given a chance to be heard.

It’s conceivable, though, that no one’s words carried more weight than those of Green, who continues to prove his value to the franchise goes beyond defending, rebounding, playmaking and scoring.

“Who am I to say I know more than Draymond Green about basketball?” Myers asked. “It probably is the other way around. If you want somebody whose opinion holds some weight ... he watches college. He comes to the workouts. So maybe he should make the pick.”

Myers wasn’t entirely serious about that, but he’s also not dismissing the possibility.

“When he speaks,” Myers said, “we give him the gravity that his comments deserve.”

Few if any players in the NBA can dissect and analyze the game as effectively as Green, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and a noted video student. It’s also conceivable that no one knows better than Green what the Warriors need to become a better team next season.

“Draymond’s been here the last three days,” Harris said. “He was in a meeting with us in our draft room for a couple hours yesterday. He would tell you he was bored. But that’s OK. We’re glad he’s here and he really does care and wants to know.”

None of the players at the team facility Tuesday is a lock to be drafted. Guard Svi Mykhailluk (Kansas), and forwards Gary Clark (Cincinnati) and Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame) project as possible second-round picks.

The Warriors own the 28th overall pick but are considering buying a second-rounder for the third consecutive season. They took Pat McCaw (No. 38 overall) in 2016 and Jordan Bell (38th) last season. Green was chosen in the second round (35th) in 2012 and has become a core member of a three-time championship team.

“To have a guy like him, who is a three-time champion, care about who we’re taking at 28 shows great leadership,” Myers said. “I’m sure the players look over there and say, ‘That’s Draymond Green.’ He was a 35th pick. It’s motivation for those guys.”