Media Day: The Optimists Delight
I’m still sorta new to this whole media thing.
I spent a few days in Las Vegas for Summer League covering the Warriors, which was a very humbling and important learning experience. But that’s Summer League, and now comes the real show.
As I walked through the hallways of Warriors headquarters for the first time, I was greeted by Warriors legends — both players and coaches — who have brought historic moments to an otherwise downtrodden franchise. Don Nelson, Purvis Short and Manute Bol are just a few of the legends displayed, and you can’t help but ask yourself, “Well, who’s next?”
No, I’m not implying that anyone on this current team will have make the Hall of Fame, win a championship or one day have their FatHead grace the walls of Warriors headquarters. Most Warriors fans are simply hoping for a playoff birth or an All-Star.
Now comes media day. The ultimate utopia for a franchise, fans and players. Most teams believe they have a chance to win a title, and all teams are even in the standings. For the Golden State Warriors, media days have been a hub for moped updates, trade rumors, troubling guarantees and obscure photo shoots.
The Warriors aren’t usually ones for a tame media day.
So, as I walk past Nellie on my way into the gym, it was a pleasant surprise to notice just how at ease the entire atmosphere was. While this was my first time attending a media day, the feelings inside the room between the media, Warriors employees and the players was a mutual sigh of relief.
It certainly helps that this is the best Warriors team in quite some time, but the fact there were little “other” items to discuss was refreshing.
As a member of the young conglomerate — I’ve yet to have my first legal drink yet — I wanted to absorb all the information I can while also having a good time. There’s only so many times you can ask a player “How does your elbow feel?” or “How do you feel you’ll fit in this system?”
Players hear those questions everyday, so while I did ask some serious questions, I kept the mood light and asked about a various number of subjects.
First up was Andrew Bogut, who answered the most questions out of any other Warriors player. When I asked him to compare the coaching styles of Scott Skiles and Mark Jackson, he mentioned Jackson as being a “players coach” numerous times. He answered all the injury questions without hesitation, and you can tell he just wanted to get on the floor and play. The key to the Warriors season, Bogut carries a heavy load, but he knows what has to be done.
Harrison Barnes carries a noticeable level of swag. Coming from North Carolina and being a former top high school prospect — he signed his first autograph when he was 12 — the 20 year old carries himself like a five-time All-Star. This isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s refreshing to see a Warriors player who doesn’t act like he’s lucky to be there. He knows he’s good, but he’s also humble. His association with NBA 2K13 and his love for Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky and Schoolboy Q brought about the kid in him, and I can’t disagree with those music choices either.
David Lee acted like the team captain that he is. Most noteworthy quote from Lee from his interview session: “Outside of Dwight Howard, he (Bogut) was the toughest guy guarding me.”
Brandon Rush says he would be happy regardless of how the small forward battle played out. On a lighter note, he mentioned being disappointed with Kanye West’s “Cruel Summer” album. Hard to disagree with him there.
Stephen Curry seemed noticeably tired of the injury questions. The Monta Ellis subject also made a comeback this media day, noting that he wasn’t sure who would take the ball down or control the offense on each possession. He couldn’t not mention the importance of Andrew Bogut either, but no surprise there.
This team carries a certain chemistry that hasn’t been seen in years. There are no hindering personalities on this team. There is no Curry-Ellis hostility going around. It really seems that this is a (gasp!) team.
While optimism is always high at these type of events, this time there is good reason for it. In Warriorland, optimism is usually followed by failure. If all goes right this season, expect an ascension to NBA relevance.