Over the offseason, there have been many report rumors regarding numerous Golden State Warrior players, especially prior to Dwight Howard’s decision to head to Houston. The starting lineup was constantly in flux due to the multiple rumors floating out in the cybersphere. But one has to wonder if the Warriors’ constant flirtation with landing the big fish could have some barring on the overall chemistry which was touted as one of their major boons during the playoff run.
First of all, this day in age, most players understand that life in the NBA is winning first with business a close second. Most of these players promote their own brands already and have publicists. So, the understanding coming into the league is that there is a high emphasis on business. If players hold animosity for a team being run as business in order to the best, then they need to check themselves.
Each of these guys sign the large shoe deals with the best companies in order to better their brands. If Puma and Nike were offering the same contracts, most players would choose Nike because that’s the most popular, flagship basketball shoe company around. These players are not simpletons anymore as they may have been in the 1980s and perhaps some of the 90s. These players live in a world where Jay-Z and Diddy are almost billionaires who are constantly promoting business first.
In addition, with all the access available to players these days, from the training camp exposes to the Instagrams of their hotel exploits (see J.R. Smith), the NBA has become 24-hour speculation central, as have sports in general.
Moreover, the Warriors have a pretty intelligent group of players (just listen to them talk to the media). There are not many missteps in terms of interpreting an ambiguous response from these guys. That is a credit to the organization for bringing in Class A personalities.
The closest incident was a tweet by Andrew Bogut regarding playing poker even though your cards are showing. Many people read into that as backlash to the gamesmanship during the Howard pursuit. Who knows. Bogut has been in the league a while and rumors are nothing new as a result of his past injuries.
But, if anyone is wondering how Bogut feels about this team, they should follow this Twitter exchange with fellow Warrior, and his primary competition at the center position, Festus Ezeli. It is pretty obvious that there is a clear fondness between the players that flows to everyone, as Harrison Barnes got sucked into the exchange as well. Barnes was even spotted sitting on the bench giving encouragement and guidance to his summer league teammates. That really does not strike me as a team with a lot of controversy.
In the end, this group of high-character guys understand one thing, they need each other to win. The addition of another quality personality, Andre Iguodala, should only enhance that cohesion among the Warriors. Remember, it was Iguodala who was allegedly the player on the Nuggets who did not find the physical play of Stephen Curry acceptable. He obviously saw the family atmosphere assembled by general manager Bob Myers and promoted by head coach Mark Jackson.
Iguodala’s locker room presence, along with Bogut and Curry, should be plenty to keep this locker room together. Even the role players such as Draymond Green and Kent Bazemore understand that winning at all costs is the only objective. Green exudes this through his play, doing everything from rebounding, diving on the floor or taking changes. This play and attitude is contagious if it is successful, which it obviously has been.
The fact that Harrison Barnes, prized high school recruit and lottery pick, has already accepted a role off the bench is further indication of a team that sacrifices in order to win, which they all know is the goal in the end.