By Justin Taylor
Before this year I predicted that Stephen Curry would be healthy, the Warriors would be on pace for 56 wins without Anrew Bogut, Brandon Rush or a jump in production from Klay Thompson. I knew that David Lee would be having a career year, that Andris Biedrins was going to have a resurgence and the #LOLakers offseason moves were going to backfire on biblical level. There was no doubt that this team was going to be in a battle with the #FlopCityClippers for Pacific Division supremacy. You know what else you should know that I know? That I’m completely full of shit and anyone who makes a single one of those statements is too!
I actually did call for 48 wins (followed by a capital IF HEALTHY) marking up the schedule and trying my absolute best not to be a homer or influenced by our catastrophic track record. Got to the bottom, tallied up win/loss results and was shocked at the number but had to publish it before I had to start over. I knew I overshot the mark because there were more questions surrounding the roster then answers. There were 300 or 400 reasons why they’d fall short but to exceed it that meant Bogut and Curry were All Stars, Thompson was the Most Improved Player, Harrison Barnes was Rookie of the Year and Rush was 6th Man of the Year.
Everyone wanted to be optimistic but they had an inexperienced coach, too much youth and brittle ankles. Mark Jackson may be squarely in the conversation for Coach of the Year at the moment and the crowd at Oracle might be chanting MVLee but if we’re handing out accolades for this team we need to start with the guy that made them all look good.
Bob Myers: 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year
With the Warriors flexing between the fourth and fifth spots in the Western Conference the flood of articles about Mark Jackson as a COY candidate is no surprise. I’m not disputing he’s a deserving pick (right now) I’m just saying that if that’s the case Myers has to be the top candidate for the league’s best general manager. Great talent makes a great NBA coach, not the other way around. If Bob Myers name was actually Gary St. Jean I’ve got a feeling the only thing Jackson would be a candidate for would be a seat next to Reggie Miller or Jeff Van Gundy. Here are ten reasons why Myers should be the frontrunner for the Executive of the Year award.
1. Traded Dorrell Wright for Jarret Jack: When the trade happened the thinking was just, “Now we’ve got a point guard when Steph Curry gets hurt and can take him off the ball when he’s healthy.” Turns out Jarrett Jack has been a godsend off the bench and nobody around this team will be surprised when his name gets mentioned for 6th Man of the Year. His skills, poise and toughness has spread throughout the whole team and his crunch time prowess has allowed Curry to run off screens in the Baby-Faced Assassin role instead of wondering whether or not he should be getting someone else a look.
2. Signed Carl Landry: Am I the only one who remembers the conversations in July about needing the likes of Jordan Hill, JJ Hickson or Kenyon Martin to back up David Lee? I think I just saw all three of those guys on an episode of VH1’s Where Are They Now series. Landry meanwhile is getting his minutes alongside Lee instead of behind him and he’s also in the mix with Jack for the 6th man award. Factor in that Myers got both of these guys for next to nothing and it gives a couple of moves that were already great the potential to be legendary among Warriors fans like me. These guys are bringing the type of toughness and swagger that Baron Davis brought and used to kick off the We Believe movement.
3. The Tank Express: The foundation for this draft class was poured in the aftermath of the Monta Ellis trade. Many fans griped about trading the one guy who showed up and played with pride every night for one who was always injured. I always liked the deal for the number of assets it provided. Obviously Myers felt the same. He knew where the tank train was headed and plowed full steam ahead.
4. Harrison Barnes: Dorrell Wright was an afterthought as soon as this kid hit the floor in a Warriors uniform. I saw a potential 10 year starter in this league which is a lot in and of itself. He’s already shown that he’s got the potential to mix in a couple of All Star appearances along the way too. He was seen mostly as a spot up shooter coming out of college yet he’s already the teams biggest penetration threat and most athletic finisher at the rim. His stats won’t blow anyone away, yet, but many have felt his contributions.
5. Festus Ezeli: First, a question: Who would you rather have, Stephen Jackson or Richard Jefferson and Ezeli? He has some serious Adonal Foyle potential right down to the butterfingers and the number 31. I wonder if he knew he was going to bring this comparison upon himself when he chose his number. Most of Foyle’s critics (myself included) aren’t really Adonal haters at all. We hated Saint Jean for taking him ahead of Tracy McGrady; refresh your memory of how bad that draft was after TMac; and we wanted to hate Chris Mullin for signing him to a ridiculous contract. Had Foyle been taken with the 10th pick (where the immortal Danny Fortson was taken), let alone the 30th, had he been signed for backup center money to be a backup center we would have loved him the same way we’re going to love Festus; hard fouls, dropped passes and all.
6. Draymond Green: When your second round pick gets called the steal of the draft many times over you’ve done your job well. Green will never make an All Star team but he is a glue guy that happily does the dirty work that wins games. Mark my words: It may not be for the Warriors but Draymond Green will win a championship somewhere, someday. When his second round pick status grants him free agency a year early I guarantee that almost every contender will come sniffing around.
7. Brandon Rush Signing: There is one Myers coup that was quickly forgotten after Rush’s knee exploded. He held out and signed him to a bargain of a deal. Before the season began Rush was a 6th Man of the Year candidate. You could literally see the former agent playing chess during the free agency period when every team Rush visited had limited cap space and Warriors fans worried he’d be gone.
8. Stephen Curry Long Term Deal: The hometown discount deal doesn’t exist in sports anymore if it ever did. This was a “We’re-All-Scared-As-Hell-Of-That-Ankle” deal. Even Curry was so afraid he’d get hurt again he signed at a discount. See where Curry’s deal ranks among the other guards in the league:
1)Chris Paul: $17.8 million 2)Deron Williams: $17.2 million 3)Derrick Rose: $16.4 million 4)Manu Ginobili $14.1 million 5)Russell Westbrook $13.7 million 6)Tony Parker $12.5 million 7)Ben Gordon $12.4 million 8)Rajon Rondo $11 million 9)Jose Calderon $10.5 million 10)Steve Nash $8.9 million
Curry’s deal will start at $9.9 million next season and will climb to $12.1 by the 2016-17 season. For comparison’s sake: Deron Williams will make $18.5 million next season and his salary will climb to $22.3 million in the 2016-17 season. Ben Gordon will make $13.2 million next season. Curry’s deal is manageable on a bad day and an absolute steal on a good day to the point where it makes him even ore of an asset unlike someone like Calderon who can only be traded because his contract is expiring.
9. Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Tyler: Dominic McGuire’s position was filled with Brandon Rush, Barnes and Green but the guy could guard four positions, which is a rare feat in the NBA. When he wasn’t resigned and Bazemore was signed for similar money after a great Summer League I didn’t know what to think. We still don’t know what Bazemore is as an NBA player but there is little doubt that he keeps the bench entertained, enthusiastic and engaged so who am I to question Myers at this point?
I hope Tyler gets to experience great success as the star of a championship caliber squad in Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, my tune may change next season when Carl Landry signs for more money elsewhere and we need a back up power forward. That is the reason that the approach Myers is taking with him is the right one. Make him feel like a part of the big team while making sure his reps are coming in the D League.
10. Who the hell else is a candidate for EOY?:
Mitch Kupchak, #LOLakers: As far as I’m concerned Kupchak deserves some kind of award for the unintentional comedy he’s blessed us with this year. He was the only one that could make this NBA season even more fun for everyone and he came through in a major way.
Gary Sacks, Los Angeles Clippers: It would be a shame if this guy won the award because he went out and got Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill to occupy the minutes behind Caron Butler. If he does win I think the trophy should be immediately confiscated and given to its rightful owner, Chris Paul.
Billy King, Brooklyn Nets: I had to include him in this conversation because anytime your coach wins the coach of the month award for the first two months of the season and you have an opportunity to fire him in month three you have to do it.
Pat Riley, Miami Heat: I have to say that it actually bothers me to see this guy get recognition for putting together a team whose players conspired years in advance to assemble it for him. If I actually cared about this award and he won it I’d want somebody to shoot me.
Sam Presti, Oklahoma City Thunder: I think he forfeited his chance at the award when he traded Harden even if the team didn’t skip a beat. Still, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Kevin Durant wasn’t proudly hoisting this trophy in April.