After staying near .500 until the middle of March a season ago, the Warriors season went into the tank the rest of the way, traded away one of the most popular players in the Bay Area and went just 1-10 in the final 11 games. Golden State is trying to retool their roster on the fly and on paper it looks pretty good with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, newly drafted Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut as a possible starting five. The problem is NBA games are not won on paper and the Warriors have some concerns heading into Training Camp.
The biggest concern is the health of both Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry. Curry has all the makings of a breakout star in the NBA but the sweet shooting point guard has dealt with nagging ankle injuries recently that have hurt his development and have led to him missing a number of games for Golden State. The Warriors want to make Curry their franchise player and he wants to be in the Bay Area but that can only happen if Curry’s ankle problems are a thing of the past.
Stephen Curry joined 95.7 the Game in San Francisco with the Drive to talk about how he feels coming off another surgery, how tough it has been for him to progress when he has been forced to rehab so much, what he thinks about Harrison Barnes, what he thinks of the team trading for Andrew Bogut and how the talks are between the team and his agent for a new contract extension.
How he feels coming off another surgery:
“Doing great. Just had my last check-up with my doctor out in L.A. and he gave me the all clear to go out and resume activities with no restrictions and good news for me. I had a long summer of rehab and ready to keep plugging away before Training Camp starts in a couple of weeks. Feeling great.”
How tough it has been for him to develop when he has been forced to rehab so much:
“I think after my first year I didn’t have any injuries so I think you saw the progression I had from my rookie year to my second year and obviously I’ve had a few straight summers of pretty severe surgeries so it kind of puts you behind a little bit with your schedule during the offseason and last year we had a lockout so I had a little bit of extra time to work on my game after I got back to 100 percent, but I haven’t been fully able to take advantage of the time we have had off and work on my game and get better but I’ve done alright with what I’ve had and hopefully all this injury stuff is behind me and I can continue that mission. You can work on other aspects like watching film and your mind but skill-wise it puts a little damper to it.”
What he thinks of Harrison Barnes:
“I’ve seen all five summer league games and I’ve seen him work out here in Oakland since I’ve been back and he’s been putting the time in, he had a great showing in summer league and showed he can really shoot the ball. He’s a long, athletic body who can attack the rim. We’re looking for big things out of him and know he will have an opportunity to come in and compete with Brandon Rush at that spot and see who is going to get the bulk of those minutes but both of those guys are going to have huge roles on our team for us to be good and I think it will be a healthy competition and Harrison is ready for it.”
On the pick-up of Andrew Bogut last season:
“It’s a big pick-up. Size wise just having that body down low to anchor us on defense and obviously we don’t want to put too much pressure on him from a perimeter standpoint but knowing that you have that line of defense with him and David Lee down low, clogging the paint up and meeting guys at the rim and making it tough for guys to finish, that makes our defense that much better. He could be one of the best passing big men in the league too so our ball movement will be something to watch this year. Obviously he has a back to the basket game as well so he’s just very versatile for us and with the pieces we have around him I think that’s him making us look good and we’ll do the same for him. Just the threats he has on the wing can give him space to do his damage down low.”
Who the leaders are for the Warriors:
“I would say myself, being that vocal point guard leader on the floor is going to be huge for us. We do have a lot of new guys on the floor and on our roster that are going to be contributing so just me being Coach Jackson’s extension on the court and being as vocal as I can to make sure everyone is on the same page and really execute or offensive and defensive schemes as best we can and I think that will start with me. We have a lot of guys who are going to lead by example this year with just how hard they work and how much effort they put in every single night. I think that’s starting right now. We’re seeing a big change in how guys are preparing for Training Camp. We have pretty much the whole squad in town, working out together, building our camaraderie and some of the veterans like Bogut, D Lee and Jarrett Jack are taking that leadership by making sure everyone is in the gym every opportunity we have even before Training Camp starts so culture is changing a lot and I think everyone has a part in it too.”
How the talks are going between him and the Warriors on a contract extension:
“Left most of that to my agent. I’m sure they have talked about it before but nothing happened yet. We’re just kind of letting Training Camp play out and any deal we can make before the deadline would be great. I would love to stay out here in Golden State and be a part of the future. That’s definitely high on my priority list right now but the only thing I can control is getting healthy and getting ready for Training Camp and letting those guys do their job.”