SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — As Golden State Warriors rolled through their five NBA Finals seasons, it seemed that the regular season took on less and less of a meaning.
The effort was at times lacking. But no more.
“It will be different,” Warriors GM Bob Myers said of the 2019-2020 season. “Not that the regular season didn’t matter before, it did. But it takes on a new meaning. For our fans and even myself, when we walk into the arena, every game is going to take on a heightened meaning. Which is fun. It’s going to be exciting. We are going to watch the development of the young guys. How does it fit. How do Draymond (Green), Steph (Curry) and Kevon (Looney) initially help the young guys fit it.”
It’s a new era for the Warriors. Kevin Durant has departed for the Brooklyn Nets, Klay Thompson will miss much of the season recovering from a torn ACL, Andre Iguodala will be wearing a Memphis Grizzlies uniform and DeMarcus Cousins is on the Lakers roster.
The super team is no more. So Myers and others will now have to wait and see how new additions Willie Cauley-Stein, All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, Omari Spellman and Glenn Robinson III blend in.
Or if one of their draft choices — Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole or Alen Smailagic — step up.
“For me to speculate on what we will be or won’t be, I know that is exciting, but I just want us to show up, work hard, get acclimated to the new arena,” Myers told reporters. “Get everybody together the best we can. Training camp will be big for us…Hopefully if we are healthy and we compete, we can make some noises.”
When it comes to acquiring Russell, many NBA pundits have speculated that was for trade bait future seasons, Myers tried to squelch those rumors.
“We didn’t sign him with just the intention of trading him,” Myers said. “We haven’t even seen him play in our uniform yet and a lot of people have us already trading him. That’s not how we are viewing it. Let’s just see what we have. See what he is, see how he fits….Maybe this is fan driven, but so much of our sport is what are you doing next. We got to figure out what we are doing now.”
The Warriors own roster is not the team’s only challenge. The rebuilt rosters of the other teams in the West will make it difficult for Golden State to even make the playoffs.
LeBron James has teamed up with Anthony Davis and others with the Los Angeles Lakers. Playoff nemesis Kwahi Leonard has joined forces with Paul George on the Los Angeles Clippers. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are teammates on the Houston Rockets. Those are only the new marquee additions. Nearly every team in the West made moves that have strengthened their squads.
With such intense competition, the weight on the shoulders of Curry, Russell, Green and Looney will be great all season, but particularly until Thompson returns.
“There hasn’t any internal dialogue as far as we are not going to play those guys (or) are they only going to play X amount of games,” Myers said. “Steph was pretty vocal about it — ‘I want to play basketball’ — Both those guys (Curry and Green) love playing basketball. Even when they have sat at times, it’s not them begging not to play.”
And with Thompson being out and Durant no longer with Golden State, the challenge each and every game will be scoring.
“We need to score, especially with Klay being out,” Myers said. “You always need to score in this league.”