It’s also a given that the Warriors will overhaul their bench after it fell so short of expectations. In addition to holding the 28th overall pick in the first round of the N.B.A. draft later this month, Lacob admitted that he was already fantasizing about the second-round pick he could well choose to buy in a repeat of last June’s $3.5 million purchase of the Chicago pick that became the prized rookie Jordan Bell.
Even a team that starts Durant, Curry, Green and Thompson needs a reliable bench, as Golden State so quickly learned when all four of its main men suffered through regular-season injury woes.
“It wasn’t perfect this year,” Myers said. “And the N.B.A. doesn’t stop coming for you. It won’t stop now.”
The Warriors understand that they will never engender sympathy because of their extravagant roster, but they are likewise not gullible enough to listen to those who paint them as invulnerable. The daily mental toll of being constantly chased is their kryptonite. Fickle focus, complacency, boredom — take your pick: All of it applied at various points over the past 10 months.
This group looked tired as far back as October, when the Warriors returned from a grueling preseason trip to China and — in a foreshadowing of the grind ahead — squandered a 17-point lead at home to Houston on the night they received their 2017 championship rings. Multiple Warriors staff members insisted to me, before and after closing out the Cavaliers in Game 4 on Friday night, that nothing had galvanized Golden State’s players in terms of effort more than the opportunity to put Cleveland away and leave this season behind on the earlier-than-usual date of June 8.
Calling Year 1 with Durant “our honeymoon,” Myers added: “This is marriage now. Last year was a blissful kind of thing — everybody just kind of coming together and kind of riding a wave of Kevin coming aboard and trying to redeem the loss of the championship before. This was a different challenge. This was more about, ‘How do we come together to do this again without the newness?’”
I’m not so sure it was ever as rocky as the veteran forward David West tried to suggest in Friday night’s aftermath, when he told reporters that “y’all got no clue” about the internal strife that the Warriors faced earlier in the season. One theory suggested to me Saturday — for what it’s worth — is that West and other Warriors who made similar comments were toying with their audience for sport to see what kind of frenzy they could whip up.