The Golden State Warriors made the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years last season. Much of that has to do with the work of general manager Bob Myers who, after just one offseason of work, turned the Warriors from a sub .500 team to a squad that won 47 games and took the San Antonio Spurs to six games in the Western Conference Semifinals.
It's been a brief tenure, but Myers certainly has made a few moves that have steered the Warriors in the right direction, have the organization fighting for the Western Conference and have the fans dreaming of the team's first NBA Championship since 1975.
Let's take a look at the top five transactions of the Myers era.
One of Myers' first moves as general manager was to trade his former client Dorell Wright as part of a three-team deal that netted the Warriors guard Jarrett Jack in July of 2012.
Jack spent one season in Golden State but was a major part of the rotation and was a potential Sixth Man of the Year winner, eventually finishing third in the voting.
Jack contributed 12.9 points and 5.6 assists per game off the bench while shooting better than 40 percent from three. He was an even bigger part of the Warriors' post season success, averaging 17.2 points (second on the team behind Stephen Curry) and 4.4 assists per game.
Need more? Jack scored at least 20 points in six of the Dubs' 12 playoff games.
The Warriors may have been able to bring him back for another season, but instead they opted to target Andre Iguodala (who we will talk about later). This summer, Jack signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he will back up Kyrie Irving.
From 2010 to 2012, 90 players were picked in the second round of the NBA draft. Of those players, only a handful made any real impact, even fewer became starters and maybe two or three will become long-term staples to an organization.
For general managers like Myers, finding a player who can crack your 15-man roster in the second round is a tough job.
The best second round picks since 2010 are easily Chandler Parsons of the Houston Rockets and Isaiah Thomas of the Sacramento Kings, but Warriors forward Draymond Green is not far behind. If he can come up with some sort of offensive game this season, he could lock himself into the long-term plans for the Warriors.
(Other second round picks with some kind of impact include: Kyle Singler, E’Twaun Moore, Landry Fields, Lance Stephenson and Devin Ebanks.)
After being drafted No. 35 overall in June of 2012, Green’s rookie numbers won’t blow you away: 2.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.3 blocks in 13.4 minutes per game.
But San Jose Mercury News beat writer Marcus Thompson wrote that when Green is in the game, he believes he is the best guy on the court but is willing to play his role because he values winning over all else.
“He didn't work on his jumper all summer, get in the best shape of his life just to play 13 minutes per game. He did it so he can take the NBA by storm. If that means playing defense, rebounding and destroying the starters in practice so they can be ready, so be it.”
The Toronto Raptors took guard Terrence Ross with the next pick. Just saying.
Harrison Barnes at No. 7 was a safe pick and a good one. Able to play either forward position, he gives the Warriors the flexibility to play big or small and match up with its opponents. Mark Jackson may not know his starting lineup yet, but his problem is a good one, and Barnes is willing and able to come off the bench.
Barnes, out of North Carolina, is crazy talented and has the potential to be a star in the NBA. As a rookie, he averaged 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 25.4 minutes per game. After starting every game he played in his rookie year, his numbers got better in the playoffs, averaging 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
After Barnes scored 25 points on 10 of 18 shooting in Game 5 against the San Antonio Spurs in last season’s conference semifinals, CBS Sports NBA writer Matt Moore wrote:
“He's going to be the player you can give the ball to and watch create, even when the defense is primed against him. That trajectory is clear. But he's not there yet.”
First round picks can make or break an NBA general manager, and it seems like Myers nailed this one.
Think about that. Sure, Curry only played in 26 games in 2011-12 but what a steal.
While Lawson was ranked No. 42 in Sports Illustrated's Top 100 players, Curry was ranked No. 15. After a strong regular season in which he played 78 games and set the country on fire after getting hot in the playoffs, Curry's deal looks like a bargain.
Paul George, who also had a great postseason, signed a five-year, $90 million deal this summer. That’s an average of $18 million per season. Working under the assumption that Curry could have signed a similar deal if he were a free agent, Myers may have saved the Warriors about $7 million a season—a number that could cost ownership even more in today’s luxury-tax burdened NBA—by locking up Curry early.
In July, Myers brought his first big-name free agent to Golden State when the team maneuvered to sign Andre Iguodala.
It is worth noting here that while the Bay Area is a great place to live, it can be a tough sell to NBA free agents. San Francisco's highest earners are taxed 12 percent, as compared to some states like Florida with no income tax, and does not offer the same extracurricular financial opportunities as big market Los Angeles.
Couple that with the fact that the Dubs entered the summer of 2013 with virtually no wiggle room in the cramped NBA salary cap elevator, and many expected the Warriors to stay on the same floor.
To get Iguodala, the Warriors had to first convince Iggy that he should play in San Francisco. His recently exposed “nerdiness” surely helped.
Then they had to find the room to sign him. Cue a three-way sign-and-trade.
According to ESPN.com, "Golden State cleared more than $24 million by sending Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush to the Jazz along with four draft picks and cash." They were able to sign Iguodala to a four-year $48 million deal.
"The Warriors will be able to roll part of the salaries of Jefferson ($11 million), Biedrins ($9 million) and Rush ($4 million) into trade exceptions, which allow teams to exceed the salary cap under the NBA's complicated system."
Since I don’t have any idea what that means, I assume that means Myers did a good job.
In an interview with Sporting News, Myers said that the deal was hard to make mainly because it was hard to find the cap room needed with which to sign Iguodala.
“Andre was still a longshot, too,” Myers told Sporting News. “And it looked like more of a longshot as we were going through the process. I remember walking into my house late at night, just about every night that week, and telling my wife, ‘This is disappointing because no one cares about the work you put in, they just care about the result.’ We were ready to not get the result. You can say you tried really hard, but no one wants to hear that. Many times it looked futile. I killed it, five, 10, 20 different times. I said, ‘We’re not getting him, we can’t do it.’”
With Myers, the Warriors have NBA Finals aspirations and the fans have hope. With a top six of Curry, Klay Thompson, Barnes, Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut, Myers has put a deep and balanced squad on the floor that can hang with anyone in the NBA.
Signing power forward Carl Landry to a two-year, $8 million deal (with a player option in the second year). After a strong season, Landry went North and signed with the Sacramento Kings four-year $26 million deal, earning him $2.5 million more per season than his Dubs contract.
Signing Toney Douglas this summer may prove to be a very important move for the Warriors this season. After losing Jack to Cleveland, the Warriors needed more depth at the guard position.
While he isn't the all-around scorer or facilitator that Jack is, Douglas is a strong on-ball defender and, if you discount a strange 2011-12 season with the Knicks when Douglas shot just 23.1 percent from three, has shot 38.2 percent from beyond the arc for his career.
Myers signing and keeping Kent Bazemore around could one day end up in the top five of this slideshow. The high-flying Bazemore figures to have more of a role this season for the Warriors and even received some minutes at point guard during the preseason. If Bazemore can resemble any bit of the player that he was during the Las Vegas Summer League, he could be an important spark off the bench for the Warriors.