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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Three-year wait: Bob Myers, Steve Kerr reflect on Warriors’ push to return to NBA Finals

Even though Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Drummond Green have never worn Warriors uniforms together this season, their collective greatness was never in doubt.

The trio, having won three titles together, would one day enter the Basketball Hall of Fame and eventually be immortalized with statues honoring their remarkable success outside the Chase Center. Yet in the mind of Warriors general manager Bob Myers, he gave Curry, Thompson and Green another honor: the chance to score at least one more run in a championship.

“I wanted to see Steph, Kel and Drummond… I wanted to beat them,” Myers told The Jim Rome Show on Monday. “I should have said, I wanted to say, ‘Let’s play them until they beat.’ We never really got that. Toronto beat us and that’s fine, but I wanted to see a team where they could try it again.

After winning his first championship in 2015 and reaching the top of the mountain in back-to-back seasons with Kevin Durant in 2017 and 2018, Thompson fell to the floor with a torn ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals. An empty Warriors team that was already without Durant due to a torn Achilles lost to the Raptors, but he had dreams of a grand comeback.

The following season, the Warriors won 15 games.

Thompson’s absence and hand injury, along with Durant’s departure, limited Curry to just five games, giving Golden State an opportunity to be competitive. The dynasty was not over, but it was clearly in trouble.

Maybe that’s why Golden State is having so much fun.

Warriors, with their championship blood, were never really weak. But as he entered Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Mavericks on Tuesday in Dallas, he was finally back in a familiar position.

The Golden State title is the favourite.

Curry, 34, has been putting teams to bed with lights-out shooting and world-class conditioning.

“Steph is such an incredible leader and the way he conducts himself, everyone is going to buy him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told KNBR on Monday.

After recovering from his ACL injury, Thompson, 32, tore his Achilles and returned to the floor in front of a raucous Chase Center crowd in January, ending a 941-day absence.

“It’s lonely and you forget,” Myers told Rome. “In this society, it’s out of sight, out of mind. But Kel has this insatiable appetite for basketball. It’s like water to Kel, he has to have it.”

Green, 32, was nothing more than a formal participant in the tip-off for Thompson’s first game with the Warriors. The defensive player was battling a back injury early in the year which kept him off the field for the next two months.

After a leg injury sidelined Curry for the final 12 games of the regular season, the dynastic trio had spent all 11 minutes on the floor together until the NBA playoffs began. As teams around the league deal with the physical toll of the marathon playoff schedule, a Warriors corps that rarely practices together during the regular season is gathering at the right time.

Kerr told KNBR that injured veteran Andre Iguodala, 38, reminded the Warriors just as much this week.

“They said, ‘Teams have to improve during the playoffs where they need to be and we knew we weren’t a finished product at the end of the regular season,'” Kerr said. “We knew we had high ceilings.’ Andre was very eloquent about his details of what he meant to our team and I think people took note.”

The trio of stars hasn’t reached peak form, but All-Star Andrew Wiggins is covering up the Warriors’ flaws. In the midst of a breakout postseason, a former No. 1 overall draft pick acquired in a February, 2020 trade is finally living up to his potential.

Surrounded by greatness, Wiggins fits in.

“For most of his career, right or wrong, he was carved on coal,” Myers told Rome. “High hopes on him. And we thought, This guy has tremendous talent, it’s out there, he’s young.”

Wiggins took the spotlight on Sunday night in Game 3 with a vicious dunk on Mavericks star Luka Donic, it was easy to see why the Warriors are well-positioned to win their fourth championship in eight years. Curry, Thompson, and Greene are battle-tested, and the supporting cast, led by Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Kevon Looney, has enough potential to provide the core a much-needed lift.

“It’s a new version of this team,” Kerr said. “It’s a continuation of the era, but with lots of new faces and new stories.”

Sure, many of these stories are new, but the reason warriors are in this position is because the old faces look like themselves again. A little gray and a lot more brown, they’re looking to tell the story of another championship.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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