GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS MEDIA CONFERENCE
July 29, 2021
San Francisco, California, USA
BOB MYERS: I thought I might get out here earlier, but we were trying to -- get a late pick, didn't get it done. The draft was, obviously you saw it, so it was -- never goes like what you think. We were happy what we ended up doing. The part of the draft I'll remember is how they honored Terrence Clark. I thought that was very high-class by the NBA, a sad moment, so that was obviously after we picked between the lottery and the rest of the picks.
But happy to answer any questions about the guys we collected. We're happy and ready for free agency now in 72 hours or whatever it is.
Q. Hey, Bob, you picked a prospect that is talented but pretty raw and someone that you would have to develop and you picked him at a time when you have guys that like Steph and Draymond and Klay that want to win now, so how do you win while trying to develop somebody to be a contender?
BOB MYERS: Hopefully winning now is what they want to do, what we want to do. See if these guys can help us. Obviously we have to add through free agency. We have to hope the guys that are on the team that are in the rotation that are a little bit younger and some new, we have guys we think played well at the end of last year that hopefully can help us. But we're going to have to get some guys we hope in free agency and see if we can get minutes out of these guys.
Picking older players doesn't necessarily mean they can play right away. Talking to Draymond, he was pretty accomplished player in college, I think he was Big Ten Player of the Year, obviously a senior, and he didn't really even play his rookie year, not much at least.
So old is often good, but doesn't necessarily mean you're ready to go. So we went with the guys we thought were best and if they can play now, great, if they can play in the middle of the season, at the end, that's good, too, but we have to take the guys we think are the best players.
Q. Did you get any immediate feedback from those guys like Draymond or Steph or any of the core guys that you have right now?
BOB MYERS: Well, Draymond is in Tokyo but I don't think he went to sleep, so I talked to him many times. And Steph's not in this time zone either, he's in a very different one. Klay is in I think L.A. But I talked to Steph, I think last night his time or early morning his time. He's, again, a very different time zone.
And Draymond I talked to I think at four in the morning in Tokyo, five in the morning, six in the morning while we were picking. He texted me after the third or fourth pick and said, "Kuminga."
And I said, "We'll see if he's there." So he's happy.
And at about the ninth pick he said "Moody."
And I said, "I don't think he's going to be there," and I didn't even give him those names. So he gave me a big thumbs-up. But that's good. I'm glad he's supportive and appreciate that. But I still think, and we think we need to add some veterans. We're not done yet. That's what we're going to have to do in free agency.
Q. You've talked in the lead-up about how you expected a lot of trade offers potentially coming in. How much were the trade talks prevalent when you were on the clock and how close were to you making a move?
BOB MYERS: The only things that were coming our way were mostly trade backs for future picks, which I mean, I'd say -- well, we didn't have any trades for players that came about, really, rotation players or beyond starters.
So all the things we talked about were do you want it take your pick and trade it back and have a future for next year; do you want to move back a few picks and get a second round pick or multiple second round picks, so we've got a lot that have kind of stuff. So when we saw what we could get at 7, we liked it; we saw what we could get at 14, we wanted to do that. We didn't consider any major things, there really wasn't anything on the table as far as moving them for a table. Like I said we could have probably moved them back but we liked the guys we liked and decided to take them.
Q. When you're considering Kuminga, do you have to have a good sense of what you're going to get at 14? Do you need to know --
BOB MYERS: We weren't sure but the list we had lined up that we were -- we had a few guys at 14 that we thought were kind of like Moody; that were more kind of guys that can play off the ball, played in a system, shooters. We wanted to try to get some shooting. So there was a few guys we were looking at there and he happened to be the highest of those guys, and he was there so we took him.
We even considered him at 7 at one point in the process not thinking Kuminga would be there and we had him in twice. We had him in once where he did not work out against other players, and then in that workout that I think was publicized we brought him back and had him compete.
Also saw him, obviously we had some people see him in college, and we interviewed him in Chicago, so we actually got to see him three times and talk to him. And just his composure and his kind of readiness. A few of our development coaches, when he got done -- some of the coaches don't kind of know the players like we do and we said what do you think of Moody? And they said, is he a junior or a senior? He's pretty young. You'll think the same thing when you talk to him. He's got kind of an old soul about him.
But we liked him for a lot of reasons. He's great size, great length and has good skill and good feel for the game.
Q. What is it that you like about Kuminga?
BOB MYERS: Upside, talent, position. I mean, we looked at the free agent wings; there's none of them. It's impossible to get wings in the NBA now because multiple-position players, it's really tough. You watch the playoffs, it's one big guy and four guys that can pass, shoot, defend. Seems to be the way our league's going. Threes have become fours. You want guys that can slide down position, slide up.
So we like the optionality of these two guys but Kuminga certainly represents somebody that we thought on film he passed better than we might have initially thought. He's got a great store by him. Pretty mature kid for what he went through and kind of came over to the country at a young age, and his aggressiveness, his competitiveness, his work ethic. All these guys we drafted if they don't want to work or compete, they probably won't make it.
And so we think that if you can grab a guy like that and put him in our system, that we've got something really good, but we have to work and he has to work to make the whole thing good for all of us.
Q. What are the expectations for Kuminga early on and might he see any time in the G-League and what exactly does that process look like?
BOB MYERS: First we've got to get him out here and see -- a lot of these guys haven't played in so long. A lot of the agents wisely don't let them compete because they don't want to get hurt.
I talked to our trainer and said, "Do you think these guys can be ready? We've got a Summer League in Vegas and we don't want him to get hurt." So we have to see what kind of conditioning they have. They look in pretty good shape. We've worked them both out but I don't know the answer to that question. Trying to think of how you know if a player -- sometimes you're surprised. Sometimes you're surprised in a good way. Sometimes you realize, you know what this guy is just not ready.
I don't know what this guy's timeline is going to be. Could be all of the above. Could be the guy could play right now. If Klay is not ready to start the season and one of these guys shows they can play, fine. I don't know which one. So it's hard to say.
I think in training camp we might have a much better idea. We really need to have that time. We need to have a Summer League. We need to get feedback. We need to see what Steve wants to do, talk to him this morning, his morning in Tokyo. He's excited.
I don't really want to predict what they are going to look like yet. It's hard to say.
Q. How did your visit with Kuminga go in Miami? Was there anything about his workout or the interview that surprised you?
BOB MYERS: Let me think about that. You know, when we went, it was -- the idea was we'd better go do this just in case he's there. We were thinking he wouldn't be, but a lot of us went to Miami. Joe, we flew there with him and Kirk and may receive and Larry hairs and Mike Dunleavy, and it was -- we even brought Kenny Atkinson, one of our new coaches with us.
He got on the floor with him, and it was nice to have a guy like that because Steve couldn't be here to get on the floor with him a little bit, because Kenny has a great background as you should know and everybody knows in player development. We said, "What do you want to see out of him?"
He said, "I want to see how he reacts to pressure. I want to see how he protects the rim." So he put him in a couple drills that Kenny said, "I'd like to you do this." And he handled them well.
He was conversive. He worked hard. It was a long work out. He didn't really break. I'm always impressed post-work out when a player will come to dinner by himself. His representative, we had two tables, myself and Joe and Kirk and one of our scouts, Reggie was at one table, and you know, I'm how many years older than him -- he's 18, so I'm a lot older than him.
It's hard for an 18-year-old to sit there and answer questions from an NBA owner, GM, scouts. He handled himself really well. He was talking about his parents coming to town. He's excited. Hasn't seen his parents in five years. So we got to kind of talk to him about growing up in Africa and how many languages he speaks. He speaks four languages, which is always impressive for somebody like me that speaks one.
So just his nature. We asked him who he admired. We asked him what he wanted to be. Really a nice kid, and you guy also get to know him.
But the whole package, right. The whole thing was nice. His brother actually came and worked out for us on Sunday. His brother has kind of been his father figure while he's been in the U.S. and his brother was in that work out on Sunday with us.
And it's important now when you draft somebody that age, even any young player, you have to surround them with kind of support. So I saw that he had that, and you know, overall, you have to feel good about it, but he's a kid that really wants to be great and looks like he'll work hard.
Q. Obviously the roster is still coming together and you have to figure out what to do in free agency and things can change certainly during the season. But given the way the picks were made tonight, and the roster coming together at the moment, do you think championship contention is a reasonable expectation going into next season?
BOB MYERS: I think that's mostly on Klay, what he can be. Not on him but that question, with a healthy Klay Thompson, I think we're right there with everybody. But I don't know when, how. I expect him to come back healthy. I don't want to put any pressure on the date because it's not going to be at the start of the season. It's not going to be the first game.
But really we need one of our top two, three players to be one of our top, two three players, and that will determine, I think if you put a healthy Warriors team against our competition, looking at the league right now, obviously you see things change and maybe we'll see more change in the next three, four, five days.
But with our core of three guys and Wiggins and having Wiseman and Poole and Juan, Eric, all the guys, Damian, everybody that is in our rotation, yeah, if we're healthy, and maybe one of these young guys gives us more than we thought, yeah, I think in the playoffs, as you know, you look at this past playoffs, you look at any past playoffs, it's 40 minutes for Curry, 40 minutes for Green, 40 minutes for Thompson, and this wasn't even when we were in the Finals and Wiggins played huge minutes.
We're going to need some help. We're going to have to get to the playoffs, obviously; we obviously didn't get there the last two years. But with a healthy team, heading into the playoffs, yeah, I don't see a team where we look at it and say, we can't beat them. Doesn't mean we will. And we've got to add veterans.
To answer your question, today, no, we need to add a couple guys. We need some veterans. I don't know who that will be. We've got to find out if we can win a tie; if we offer somebody something, how do they feel about us. Like I said last year we were close on some guys, but Klay's injury, I don't blame the players, they said, look, we're going to go somewhere else.
I've asked Steph and our guys to give input on what they think we need, and you know, hopefully we'll get some guys and we've been successful with that in the past but we are going to have to get some guys to come that can actually step in and give us some minutes.
Q. Talking to people about Kuminga, they all liked him a lot but seemed to struggle in identifying an identifiable NBA skill hey that is right now, are you able to identify such a skill? And can you visualize opening the season with two rookies and Wiseman all on your active roster?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, we'll see if they will be active or not. I've got to look and see who else we sign. They may change the rules where we get 15 active guys. I don't know if that's actually happened but they are talking about that.
I think the question is, are they going to be in the rotation; can we expect anything from any of them. If you get something from all of them, it's great. If you get something from two of them, good, one of them. Wherever we need the minutes, where can they give us minutes. It's going to be answered; hopefully they are all healthy in training camp and we'll see what they can do.
But otherwise, we're going to need some veterans to come in here and play. And with that, I'm guessing a little bit like you guys, but there's still work to be done, and you know, Klay is a part, when is he back, how many games can he play, all those things, and how are we going to play. I know Steve's got ideas on playing -- we played small for a little bit at the end of last season; do we want to go that way.
I think we really need some time. These guys need some time. I thought last year we made some steps. I think we ended the last season with so much uncertainty. We have got a little bit more. But I think with a healthy group going into training camp, hopefully we can figure some of this out.
On Kuminga, I think the Kuminga part was guys do this in the draft, they do this. I think his skill would be that at his size, ball handling, getting to the rim, attacking the paint; a lot of the coaches described it as the ability to get downhill, meaning that you play, there's a force to what he does as far as his ability to get in the paint and score and put pressure on the defense. And you can put pressure on the defense a lot of different ways; shooting. He does it at the rim and with his size and skill, there's players in our league that have the ability to kind of use their size, use their athleticism and strength, and for somebody to have the frame that he does at his age, I think that will get more and more.
His shot needs work. I think so does Moody. So does a lot of players in the NBA. What we liked is his aggressiveness. If you go back and watch him play, it's a mindset. Somebody talked about he needs to get better shooting; we agree; he agrees. But he shoots. Meaning he'll take a lot of threes, and that's a skill, too.
If you look at some of the players in the NBA, the threat of a three is a value, as opposed to a player that won't shoot a three and you have to guard him. So we looked at that as a willingness to shoot, a confidence to shoot, as a work ethic thing. That's how we looked at it.
You could look at certain players and say, if he can do this one thing, we think he has the ability to do a lot of things but he has to work on it and get better.
Q. You mentioned Kenny Atkinson earlier. You overhauled your player development staff this summer. What do you want to see out of that staff? How much pressure is on them?
BOB MYERS: Last year was not -- I'm not going to criticize anybody. Working in -- last year was kind of nuts with COVID and everything, and the season, not knowing when we were going to start and not knowing practice times and not knowing a lot.
So I think we were all kind of on our heels, as opposed to this year where even in the draft, Kenny is up there, John is up there, right after we made the pick, they are huddling with some of our scouts; what do you see in this guy. Jama did some of the workouts. Kenny flew to see Kuminga. This is a whole different level of engagement. Not that we weren't before but we certainly ramped up that process. When these guys get out tomorrow, they are going to do their press conference and sit with those guys and go over the whole plan.
That's the NBA now. That's how it has to be. We have to be in the player development plan. If you're going to be picking where we're picking, you have to do it. Jama who we hired from Toronto has a great pedigree if you look at what Toronto has done with their young players, and he's done a big part that have and we interviewed him. He often mentioned guys on their team, I can't say their names because I'm not laud, and what he was able to do with them, and we really value that. It's a newness and freshness, and not that it was bad before, but it was a renewed focus and it's going to help us and our players.
Q. I know it's a little sensitive to talk about a future post-Curry, post-Draymond, whatever that is, but is it fair to start imagining a future with Wiseman, Kuminga, Poole, Moody? Do you have to start sort of thinking about that?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I mean -- yeah, you have to. We also know we want to win again. So it's not binary, right. It's not one or the other. I know it may look a way or however you want to portray it is fine. We have to look at what our options are and make a choice. Tonight, these are the best choices. This was the best option. Sometimes you weigh it against opportunity. Sometimes they are there and sometimes they are not.
So we have to view it as if this is what is here today, this is what we're doing. We think about the present. We think about the future. You're saying players play a lot longer in every sport. We hope our guys like Steph and Klay and Draymond can play a lot longer; it seems to be that certain players can.
And it also seems to be that 20, 21, you guys watch, there's 21-year-olds, 22-year-olds that are playing a lot of minutes in meaningful games. The league, by the time some of these guys are third year in the league, second year in the league, depends who it is. That's kind of how we view it and if it's not going that way we adjust. You deal with it. You deal with situations.
The hardest thing for me has been not knowing what our team is. Again it may look like an excuse. It's not. We need to see our team with Klay Thompson, there's no other way to say if and then I'll know what our team is. We know what our team was like when we had him before, before he was hurt. That's how important he is. There's a reason why he matters so much because he's so good.
Until we have him back on our team -- we did the Wiggins deal to play with Klay Thompson. Nobody's fault, certainly not Klay but we didn't get to see Klay last year. We have to see what our team looks like. We have to find out those answers to those questions you just asked, which is where is it going. The rookies and veterans, yeah, that's part of it but it's really about what does this Warriors team look like when we are healthy. That's what I would like to know and what everybody would like to know.
Q. Was there ever any traction on any big trade that you might have explored or someone called you about? And was Kuminga's name ever brought up by other teams saying if this is the player -- I know you're going to say you didn't draft him to trade him and I'm sure you didn't, but as a trade asset that still other teams might have in mind?
BOB MYERS: I don't know, because we didn't talk about take this guy or we like this. We didn't do any of that. And in truth we were mostly just focused on the draft. We didn't have any big discussions.
Obviously I talked to probably every team in the league about a lot of different things but to your question of traction, not really. Nothing kind of close. There was -- obviously much is discuss and you had glance at certain things but nothing got past -- into the red zone, past the 50-yard line so to speak. So focus on the draft, aware if opportunities came up we would look at them and that's what we'll do in free agency, that's what we'll do -- it's our job. We're always doing that. But over the last few weeks it's mostly just been focusing on the draft.
Q. You've been through free agency before with not much money to spend, how confident do you feel you can get some of the players you want with limited resources?
BOB MYERS: We're past the hard cap, kind of like way past it. So to sign and trade a player -- we can sign and trade and send a player out, which is not really what you're asking. We can't take one in but we can send one out if we want.
Q. That is what I was asking.
BOB MYERS: We can send a player out but we can't take a player out. How hard it's going to be to get players, I don't know. It's an interesting market. There's not a lot of teams with cap space. Some teams use their mid level, some teams don't. Some teams use their taxpayer. We'll be a little more selective. Our payroll is crazy. It's huge.
So we want to be smart about it, try to get players that matter. Now we have an idea of what we are -- even -- I'll bring this up. I think we hope Juan can give us some minutes. We didn't know what Poole is going to be, have some idea of what we are, certain guys we think we can plug in and kind of know we've got that but what do we need. Maybe we need a backup point guard. We didn't draft a point guard. It's Curry and we'll see, see what we do with Nico. We've got a veteran, we need a veteran big, a veteran wing. I hope players want to come play for us, and players also want to make money and we have to gauge that. We're always competitive but at the end of the day it has to break a certain way but I'm pretty confident we'll get some guys.
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