The Golden State Warriors answered questions at 2022 NBA Finals Media Day, which featured Steve Kerr, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, Otto Porter, Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II, Nemanja Bjelica, and Damion Lee all taking the stage on Wednesday.

Steve Kerr credits Boston’s defense:

“What I see in Boston is a great defensive team, super athletic. A team that has continuity. They have been in the playoffs year after year with the same core. So it’s a team that has worked its way to this point in a very natural, organic way. Traditionally, this is how it’s supposed to work in the NBA. If you look over the years, you grow a team through the draft, you take your lumps through the playoffs, you climb up and then you get to the Finals. Our team was built somewhat the same way. A couple trips to the playoffs and with some young guys, and gain more and more experience and break through. I think what I like is it’s two teams that are mostly built with patience and through the draft and development, player development and continuity. I think that’s good for the sport.”

Steph Curry talks about his early days with the Warriors:

“When I got drafted, I thought I was going to New York, and didn’t really have Golden State on the radar at all. And then there was a lot of drama my rookie year with the potential Phoenix trade at draft night and me and Monta as a small backcourt, can we play together? And obviously what his answer was at the time. So, there’s a lot going on in that sense. But to see the evolution from that year to now, and the fact that six out of the last eight years we’ve been in the Finals, it’s crazy to think about for sure and speaks to all the different people who have had a part in that. Myself, Draymond, Klay, Andre. All the vets that have played significant roles for us. Our front office, Joe and Peter. It’s been an amazing run. We obviously feel like we still have a lot left in the tank. That’s why we’re here. I don’t want to depress myself with the history of the organization right now (laughter). I’m going to think about the bright moments, so I appreciate it.”

Klay Thompson on what he knew about the Warriors before they drafted him:

“I knew they were a fun 2K team. A lot of step-backs, a lot of high scoring. I remember watching the We Believe team with Steph Jack and Matt and Baron. They were a gritty team of guys who might have been outcasts to other organizations, but created such a fun brand of basketball and did something only a few teams have ever done, upsetting a 1 seed. I remember how crazy the fans were during that run and how great Bay Area basketball fans were. I grew up in a Laker household, so we didn’t have many Warrior games on. But I always knew that basketball was just a beloved sport in the Bay. That’s obvious, just the amount of talent that has come out of this area. Antonio Davis, Bill Russell, J-Kidd, GP, Damian Lillard. They have had so many players out of Oakland that for such a small city, you knew they live and breathe basketball up here.”

Draymond Green discusses Marcus Smart as a player:

“I think he really thinks the game. You can see it the way he plays, the way he’s teaching guys, the way he’s commanding attention in huddles and going through the X’s and O’s in the huddles. You see it all. I think he does a great job of that. I’ve been speaking on this a lot. I think people tend to forget, Marcus Smart’s No. 1 attribute or positive on him coming out of the draft was his leadership and that he’s a winner and a true point guard. The qualities that he has, especially on that side of the ball, are those of a leader, are those — when you see him with the X’s and O’s teaching — of a point guard. I think he’s continued to grow into his leadership. I think there were times earlier in his career where most people wouldn’t know how to handle it, and so then you end up getting a bad rap and like, oh, this guy is doing too much of this, he’s doing too much of that. He’s continued to grow into the leader that he’s become, and it’s been really good to watch.”

Andrew Wiggins expects matchup with Celtics to be a battle: 

“We’re close. We’re four games away. But, it’s not going to be an easy task. We got to stay locked in, stay ready. Boston is going to be tough. They beat some really good teams to get here. So did we. It’s going to be a tough battle.”

Jordan Poole says Golden State still had a championship DNA even when they were losing:

“I think something that stood out from my first year was that even though we didn’t win that many games, there was still championship coaching and championship DNA every single day we came into work, came into practice. It was about just building for the future, continuing to better ourselves, put ourselves in the situation because we knew the opportunity would come where we’d be at the highest stage And to see it come full circle is pretty cool.”

Kevon Looney praises Jonathan Kuminga:

“First playing with him, I learned that he was a freakish athlete. Sometimes they tell you a guy is athletic, but in the NBA everybody is athletic. But he’s one of those different type of athletes where you talk about guys like the best athletes in the NBA. Andre at his peak, his athleticism, guys like LeBron. He’s had that type of athleticism. You could see that very fast. For him to be that young, to be that strong, I was actually kind of shocked about his feel for the game. I thought a young guy, he was going to come in, be wild, gunning, shooting shots. He actually had a great feel and great IQ for the game. That kind of surprised me. 

“This postseason, you know, it’s been up and down. Steve likes to give everybody an opportunity. He uses different guys for different series. For some guys that can be tough, I think he’s just learning the ways of the NBA, being ready when you’re called on. He’s going to have a bright future in this league. He’s going to be a cornerstone for this team. He’s just been learning how to wait his turn. When his number is called, come in and make an impact. He’s a guy we can rely on. Proud of his progress throughout the year. From Game 1 until now I think he’s made a tremendous jump.”

Otto Porter on being inspired by Klay Thompson’s successful recovery from injury:

“It’s been amazing. Inspirational for all of us, especially after what he’s been through and you know, the way he locked in and dedicated his time off and getting back to being acclimated with everybody. And while he’s playing, he’s found joy for it and a whole new perspective, and he’s shared that with us.”

Andre Iguodala on Andrew Wiggins’ journey:

“Wiggs has been one of those guys that has been the chosen one early on in his life. He’s had to go through a lot. He’s one of those guys I’m happiest for because people have always tried to paint the picture that he didn’t pan out how they thought he would. That’s the other side of the sports aspect where other people’s expectations can paint this interesting picture of a person. You know what I mean? We were just talking about it with the Black coaches. He’s done everything he’s supposed to do in terms of a basketball player. He’s reached the pinnacle. So anyone that’s trying to have a knock on him, he’s proved them all wrong. He’s playing at a really high level. He’s understanding the opportunity and he’s making the most of it. 

“Draymond has said it many times, we never hold certain organizations accountable. I’m not talking about Minnesota per se, but certain environments really are detrimental for really great young talent. They may never cultivate that talent because of the situation they’re in. It’s always the kid’s fault. Come out as a 19-, 20-year-old. I think he got traded on Draft Night, or got traded just before going through the madness of the NBA world before his career even started, it can weigh on you. For him to be able to be who he is, great individual, to get the opportunity to really showcase the skill sets. He’s always had the respect with the players. I think he’s starting to get the respect from others. The good part about him is the respect from others doesn’t matter for him and he just goes about his day.”

Gary Payton II remembers watching his dad win the 2006 NBA Finals with Miami: 

“Actually, I was in Miami. I was just running around the arena. I didn’t really quite watch too many of the games until the last close-out game. Just an environment that’s hectic, it’s crazy. You know everybody’s family, everybody’s here. You know it’s going to be good to see everybody, have this experience with everybody.”

Nemanja Bjelica calls Golden State one of the best organizations in sports:

“That’s why this team is special. They know what they’re doing. They’ve been doing this for like the last 10 years. How can I say? Being on maybe one of the best sports organizations in the world, and I’m not talking just about basketball. It’s pretty amazing the things they did past years. It was pretty much easy to adjust to the team. Like I said, I am really blessed to be part of this organization. Everybody’s excited.”

Damion Lee on experiencing the NBA Finals:

“I mean, this is what you dream for when you’re a little kid, the chance to play on the biggest stage, play in the best league in the world, play for a championship. Knowing that comes with a lot of hard work, a lot of trials and tribulations. Everyone has their own story that builds them up to this moment.”

Quotes: Via NBA on Youtube & ASAP Sports