As Steve Kerr explained, Stephen Curry is a lot like Tim Duncan as a leader, not least because there is no need to manage him, the leader is never a problem for the club.
Of course, it’s different with Draymond Green. In a podcast with Kevin Durant, the strong winger had thus explained during the last offseason that Bob Myers and Steve Kerr had managed their confusion in the worst way during the last season of KD in the Bay. It could have created big tensions internally, except that the GM and the coach know their player, and they believe that he has the right to express everything he thinks.
“It’s quite funny”explains Bob Myers to The Athletic. “We talked about it on the plane. (during a long discussion during the six hour flight to reach Boston, before Game 6). I knew it was something we gon’ have to talk about (When it has arrived). But I wasn’t going to judge until I had a chance to talk to him. Many of the things he said (in this podcast), he had already told me them anyway. He just told them to everyone. So it was no different. We haven’t talked about it much (earlier in the season), but we haven’t avoided it either. Draymond doesn’t hold back his punches, whether in public or in private. But that didn’t break things. If the conversation following this episode didn’t go well, then maybe (that there would have been consequences). But I was never afraid that the relationship would break up. And I wasn’t going to let something like that, despite the public reaction, ruin our friendship, our relationship of the last ten years. »
The leader has always supported his (sometimes) turbulent strong winger. We remember in particular that he had accompanied him to see an Oakland Athletics match while the Warriors were playing the decisive Game 5 of the 2016 Finals at the same time against the Cavaliers, right next door. Draymond Green was then suspended for this meeting.
So on the plane to Boston, Bob Myers and his player didn’t talk about basketball.
“We talked about everything except basketball. I don’t pretend to understand what it’s like to be in their shoes (to players) because I am not a celebrity, nor famous, nor as rich as them. But we all have a wife, relatives, children. We all work in the NBA. So we talked a lot about how to overcome this ordeal, the difficulty of the task, the effort required and the fact that people from the outside cannot imagine it. It was a great time to talk about how we live. I guess they’ve had enough of talking (with the press) 3-point shots from Steph and Draymond who had been on the bench or from their “legacy”. They are so immersed in this world, in this area, that I think it is good to talk about the education of their children. I just thought we were so focused on Game 5 and Game 6 that we didn’t talk about life enough. Once all of this is over, we will return to our lives. Everyone has challenges, so I’m just talking about that. »
“It’s a mistake we make sometimes in the NBA. In a rather transactional and highly results-oriented environment, we are not investing enough in what may not happen for a long time”
Obviously, for Draymond Green, these links that go beyond the simple framework of basketball are important.
“We went in depth on these subjects. And it was more about life in general. We talked about marriage, marriage counseling, children and how to raise them. The real life. What do you do if this happens? What do you do if this happens? How to deal with your kids growing up with money and all that conversation. It was a special conversation on the road to victory. It’s the thing we remember the most. ‘Do you remember that conversation we had?’ It’s not ‘Do you remember the title?’ That is cool. But that’s the journey. ‘Do you remember the conversation we had on the way to the championship?’ These are things that bring you together for a lifetime. We’ve seen several people win trophies together, but they hate each other. These are the things that bring you together and connect you forever. »
Essential conversations to avoid the breaks that could occur, especially with a player like Draymond Green “who does not hold back”, whether in public or in private.
“Everything is so fragile in the NBA – for us, for every team” continues Bob Myers. “So you have to really work hard to hang on to the relationships and your team. People don’t play as long for the same team anymore. There is a lot of pressure and impatience in organizations to win immediately. We need trust, patience and time. But what was interesting about this conversation is that I started with (to share) all the things I’m not doing well. My wife’s brother who passed away (aged 33 in a hiking accident on Mount Kilimanjaro in 2015) said, ‘When you are authentically yourself, it gives people a chance to be authentically themselves. So I started (to tell the players) : ‘Do you have trouble with certain things? Because I am. »
Working on his relationship with Draymond Green is what Bob Myers has been doing for a long time. And this is perhaps what finally allowed the group to never explode, to achieve so much success.
“A long time ago, someone smart told me to put fairness into relationships, because at some point, someone is going to upset the other – intentionally or not. And if fairness is not established, it can break the relationship. It’s a mistake we sometimes make in the NBA. In a transactional and highly results-oriented environment, we don’t invest enough in what may not happen for a long time. Maybe between Draymond and me, going to the A’s game in Game 5, in 2016, it was a moment where we connected on a level that really matters.” concludes the GM.