Steve Kerr has called you the “heartbeat” of this team. Coming into this league, being a second round pick, now being called the heartbeat of a 15-2 team, how does that make you feel?
It makes you feel really good. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. It definitely makes you feel really good. I say this in a modest way because I’m not saying I’m everything to this team, so don’t take it that way, but nothing goes without a heartbeat [Laughs]. There’s no life without a heartbeat. So to be called that is amazing because when you just sit and think about it like the first time he called me, I’m like, ‘Oh, let’s go’ and I run into the game and he’s like, ‘Let’s go heartbeat.’ He says it before every game. I’m like, ‘alright, let’s go’ and then I think more and more about it.
Nothing goes without a heartbeat. It’s amazing. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. I think it’s amazing. But what that means is that you got to bring it every single game because the day you don’t, “is the life there?” I just take it upon myself to try to bring some energy and that’s my role, one of my roles, on this team and I have to make sure I’m living up to my role. Especially being one of the vocal leaders of this team, I can’t not bring that energy and then when I say something expect guys to say, ‘Draymond said this, let me do it’ when that’s what I’m suppose to do and I don’t do it so that s pretty cool.
How does it make you feel being a commodity now in the league, where you continue to prove yourself? You’ve got Kenny Smith clowning you on Inside the NBA for that fashion stuff. You’re getting into it with Blake Griffin sticking your tongue out. You’re now known to the common NBA fan. How does that make you feel just knowing that?
I mean it makes you feel good. I know that the amount of work that I put in to get to this point, when you start to see that work paying off it makes you want to work more. Just to know that you’ve arrived, but at the same time I know I got so much more I could get better at. I know there is so much more that I can still do and it kind of excites me. It’s like okay, people see this or they see that or they are saying this or they are saying that but I know how much better I can get so if someone is already saying this about me, I get the feeling like, well, imagine what they are going to be saying because I know how much better I can get, so it’s good.
It comes with more pressure once you put yourself into a certain category and you have to look up to that and that’s fine with me. I’ve always been the type of guy who loves a challenge so that’s the challenge and I have to live up to that each and everyday. I’ve always loved a challenge, whether it’s needed to get something done to help in the offensive end or whether it’s needed to get a stop. I love a challenge and that’s just another challenge, each and everyday, you got to live up to it.
It seems like so far throughout your career the challenges that have been presented to you, you’ve improved on, like your three point shot for example. That wasn’t necessarily seen as a strength of yours coming into the league, but you worked on it and you’re now at 35 percent. So you just touched on it, what is the challenge now? What is your biggest challenge now in terms of your own game?
Just to continue to get better. I don’t normally assess throughout the course of the season, like I need to get better at this or that. I just need to continue to get better at everything. Help this team win, so whatever it is, whatever that may be. That changes throughout the course of the game, sometimes I may be needed to knock a shot down, sometimes I may be needed to get a stop, sometimes I may be needed to get in between the defense and kick out to open shooters, sometimes I may needed to go set a screen to get somebody open.
It changes throughout the course of the game, so I don’t really look throughout the season and say oh, I need to better this, or better that. One thing is hard to do, it’s hard to get better at a certain skill throughout the season. So many games, not enough time, not enough practice time. So I usually just try to focus on the season and what is the task at hand and just try to do that, and then throughout the course of the summer I can figure out what I need to get better at and really really work. Right now I just need to continue to try and play better each and every day and that is in general. That is everything. I feel like I can do everything better. Just try to be better at everything.
I went into last off-season and said I needed to develop a floater, gotta get the back in the middle of the paint and gotta be able to do something form there. I need to work on my ball handling and I need to work on my jump shot. Those were the things I said last summer I really needed to improve. I feel like I have gotten better at those. I can continue to get better, but I feel like I did make improvements. That is how I go into the off-season, but throughout the season I just say you know what ‘focus on the task at hand’ and the rest will be taken care of.