A few months removed from his team’s NBA Finals loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors executive board member Jerry West is still struggling with the emotions of having such highs from a record-setting season and then ending on such a low. West, joined The Jim Rome Show, and talked about the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors.
“Obviously it was a terrible disappointment,” West said of how the Warriors’ season ended. “We had a year that could not have gone any better, to win a record number of games, 73 wins, the way that we dominated teams by the differential in points. The way we played the game, so eye pleasing, so easy to play, and to go into the Finals and be up three games to one against a very good Cleveland team and not be able to win any of the remaining games, and two of them at our home court, was disappointing for all of us.”
West still feels like they had the better team, but says you have to give credit where it’s due.
“My hats off to Cleveland, they beat us. Honestly, I didn’t think the best team won,” West said. “Players do a lot of soul searching, and I think all of us in our organization did a lot of soul searching, and at the end of the day, you have to congratulate Cleveland and move onto another season.”
Golden State moved on this off-season by signing superstar Kevin Durant, and West believes that now team chemistry becomes their biggest challenge.
“I think the biggest concern probably would be for our coaches to find out which lineups work conservatively,” West said. “Last year, one of the things we were doing, we were playing Harrison Barnes, who signed a maximum contract with Dallas, we were playing him with our second unit. We have a great other backup point guard, Shaun Livingston, and sometimes Harrison wouldn’t give us the scoring that we needed.
“It will also make it safer for these other players out there, who are going to replace some of the people we lost during that period of time, it’s going to allow them the cushion of having this great player out there. [Durant’s] the best one-on-one player in basketball. He gets to the free throw line, which makes it easier to play defense, and I think our coaches will figure this out. We have a great coach in Steve Kerr, we’ve got a wonderful culture going up there, and our fans are the best.”
Of course, when Golden State added Durant, there was plenty of backlash fired at the Warriors for teaming up with the former NBA MVP, but West says they’re not the ones to blame.
“I think the blame should be on the owners themselves. They agreed to a deal with the Players Association. Every one of them agreed to it. Now a significant person leaves,” West said. “But to want to blame him, blame the rules more than anything. He was allowed a choice.”
There was a time during the 14-time All-Star West’s career where he said he would have left Los Angeles had there been the option of opting to become an unrestricted free agency.
“If I would have had a choice, and if the Knicks had been able to assimilate me on their team, I would have left, because I was so unhappy with the then owner Jack Cooke. I just wasn’t happy with him at all,” the former Lakers great said. “I loved the players I was playing with. Obviously, I loved Los Angeles, I loved our fans, and I guess good fortune kept me in Los Angeles, because we did not have a choice or the ability to move.”