As the Golden State Warriors get set to find out where they will be selecting in October's NBA draft after watching Thursday's draft lottery unfold, president of basketball operations Bob Myers says the organization is not feeling pressure to make a selection based on the fact the team's core players -- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green -- are at a stage in their careers where they need to win immediately.
"Those guys are great," Myers said during a Monday conference call with reporters. "They want to win, we want to win. I don't feel any pressure from any of them to a certain thing. I know it's been written that we need to win now and they need to get a proven player. They've not said that to me. Maybe they would at some point, I have no idea. But I think they know, and if they obviously want to talk about it, they can call me or I'll call them and get their thoughts. I've already kind of joked with them and asked them what they like [about] certain players."
That open line of organizational communication, which has helped define the Warriors' three championships and five straight NBA Finals runs prior to this season, will be as important as ever heading into the next two months of draft preparation. That's because the Warriors finished the season with a league-worst 15-50 record prior to the NBA's stoppage of play on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- and are guaranteed a top-five pick, with a 14% chance at landing the first pick heading in Thursday's lottery. Myers admits that while he or at least one member of his staff has seen the top 15-20 prospects in the draft play at least once live, there is a chance that the Warriors might draft a player he has never seen in person because of the limitations on all teams due to the worldwide pandemic.
"It absolutely is, which is nuts," Myers said. "Which makes you a little uncomfortable, to be honest. It's a rare thing -- even if you missed a game, you would at least get to see that player most likely in your facility ... it may not be me, it may be someone else in the group saw him, I think we've got everybody covered in that capacity where at least somebody's seen [them]. I would have liked to have seen some guys more than I did, but as far as if you're talking about me, that's a possibility. If you're talking about our group, I think between us all somebody will have seen the person at least play. Now, whether we get to see him in our facility or not, or in another place, that's to be determined. But as far as seeing a game, somebody, or more than one [staff] member will be able to raise their hand and say 'I saw him,' or 'I saw him a few times.'"
There's been a lot of speculation around the league regarding whether or not the Warriors would hold on to their top pick or trade it as part of a package to acquire a veteran player who would likely be able to have a more immediate impact with their veteran core. While Myers shied away from making any kind of proclamations because of all the "variable" involved, he acknowledged that the lead-up to the draft has been understandably different than it has ever been.
"So far, it's been a long runway," Myers said. "Much longer than we've ever [had]. I could say easier because we have more time, but harder because we have less access. But everybody does; all you can ask for is an even playing field. We'll see how the process unfolds; whether we'll get to view guys virtually or how that will come together. Whether interviews will just be on the Zoom or what will happen in that capacity ... right now it's just hard to say what it will be and what it will look like. I don't know that there will be a combine, we're used to even having that, so all you can say is that everybody's getting the same information, but it is very different and any time it's different, you have to adapt to it."
As far as adaptations go, Myers and the Warriors still believe that they control their own destiny and don't have to change their approach much after an injury-riddled season. Assuming next season is some kind of normal length, Myers knows his team will face a loaded Western Conference most nights.
"Maybe it was good luck, but we never felt like we had to design a team to compete with another team," Myers said. "We just tried to make the best version of ourselves. I still think that's the right way to go ... it's a daunting thing, the West. If you look at the next year, I think all 15 teams expect to be in the playoffs and maybe have a case for it. So we got to do the best we can with the vehicles we have to get better, the draft being one of them, and some of the other tools we have, but I don't look at it like we got to sign a guy to stop this guy or that guy. We just got to get better with our own situation."
The big question for the Warriors in the short term is what they will do with that pick in a couple of months. It's an issue that will have a lot more clarity on Thursday night.
"Hopefully you can do both," Myers said of trying to balance drafting for need and drafting the best player available. "I don't know where we're going to pick yet but you don't pick 1-5 that often because you'd like not to, so the goal would be to get somebody who can help you now and help you later. And if a player's really good and you get it right, I don't know that that's too much to ask -- even some of our really good players, although they don't help you right away, they still help you, on some of the guys we've had on our team for a while. So it's the goal and you try to meet it -- I don't think you necessarily think too short term and sacrifice a big upside if you think a guy has a lower ceiling but can help you for the next two years, but not as much after that. So you kind of want to avoid that, but the goal would be to kind of check both those boxes."
Myers is hoping that Curry can create some good luck while serving as the organization's virtual representative for Thursday's lottery.
"Steph's big responsibility right now is to hopefully do his job and get us a high pick here," Myers said. "He's on the dais up there so we're really counting on him right now. And then after that we'll move forward."
GM Bob Myers says Warriors not feeling pressure to make a win-now pick