Warriors

JTA pinpoints exactly when he felt he belonged in NBA

Warriors
Juan Toscano-Anderson shooting against Boston

Juan Toscano-Anderson cemented his spot in the NBA on May 13 when he signed a guaranteed multi-year contract with the Warriors.

But there was a moment more than three months earlier that confirmed to Toscano-Anderson that he was an NBA-caliber player and this was where he was supposed to be.

"I knew during camp that I could play in this league, I could be on the team, but there were still some things, like what the team wanted, what the team needed," Toscano-Anderson told The Ringer's Logan Murdock and Raja Bell this week on "The Real Ones" podcast. "I wasn't really sure, couldn't really tell what direction they were going in. So they waived me and then they put me on two-way and then I had a stint in February, I want to say February 3rd or 2nd, we played the Boston Celtics and that was my first game really being incorporated in the actual team. And I played well and I played about 10 games that stint, and after that, I was like 'Man, I belong in this league, like, I can hoop with these dudes.'

"Because that was really the first time I was able to get busy and [Warriors coach] Steve [Kerr] allowed me to get busy. Also we were down some injuries, I think [Kevon Looney] was injured at the time, so the team needed me at that point and there was just a lot more opportunity for me at that point. And so I was kind of able to find myself at the same time and also find the space on this team in this rotation and see myself being a vital part of this team's success and with all those things, I was like 'Man, I'm in the best league in the world. I belong in the best league in the world.' "

 

Toscano-Anderson played just under 27 minutes against the Celtics on Feb. 2 at Chase Center and he finished with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range.

Prior to the Warriors' 111-107 loss to the Celtics, Toscano-Anderson had been inactive for the previous 13 games. Following the Boston game, he started the next 10 games for Kerr and averaged 7.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 26.3 minutes.

"So that was very uplifting for me and my spirit and I just felt like as the season progressed, I just found more confidence in who I was ... not only as a player, but as a person as well," Toscano-Anderson said. "I really started to solidify myself, as kinda, I don't necessarily say a leader because it's very clear who our leaders are on the team, but I felt I was able to be an extension between the young guys and the leaders. I have a really good relationship with the vets and the older guys, but I'm also always hanging out with the young guys. So I felt I established myself as being that extension between the two different age gaps."

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Despite being on a two-way contract for most of the season, Toscano-Anderson was a vital part of the Warriors' playoff push. He formed a potent second unit with Jordan Poole and Mychal Mulder over the final month of the season.

For the first time in his basketball career, Toscano-Anderson doesn't have to worry about proving himself this summer or in training camp in the fall. He showed he's an NBA player this past season and the Warriors rewarded him.

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