Boos poured down at the Barclays Center on Thursday when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver brought up the Warriors in his opening remarks at the 2022 NBA Draft.
Of course, there was no love lost for the team that just won its fourth championship in eight years.
But then Silver pivoted to how the Warriors built their dynasty: through the draft.
“A lot has changed in our country and world in the three years since the Warriors were last in the Finals,” Silver said. “But what has remained the same is the core of that Warriors team. That core was built through the draft. Steph picked No. 7, Klay No. 11, Draymond selected No. 35 – which undermines the importance of tonight for teams as they look to assemble their own championship rosters.”
Wise words for teams looking to build their own version of a Curry-Thompson-Green core. The trio has been with the Warriors for a decade, leading the franchise to five straight NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019 and then again in 2022 after a two-year hiatus.
This season’s championship run only was made possible through the stability of having those three on the roster.
As for keeping a championship roster together, Silver addressed the issue of teams like the Warriors paying a sky-high luxury tax in order to keep the players they drafted around.
Golden State paid a record $170 million in luxury tax this season. With key role players like Gary Payton II and Kevon Looney hitting free agency and potential contract extensions looking for Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, that number is likely to go even higher.
Silver said on NBATV ahead of the draft on Thursday that the luxury tax system is set up for a reason, and that he doesn’t view it as “penalizing” teams that are successful.
“The system is designed to help teams keep their own drafted players, and they have a big advantage in doing that,” Silver said. “And in this case, Golden State was able to keep them but pays a high luxury tax in order to do that. But it’s about finding the appropriate balance.”
Silver pointed to making sure that all NBA teams have a chance to be competitive. That means sharing talent, whether it’s through free agency or the draft.
“Even the very notion of a draft, you’re taking one of the poorest performing teams, and the partners are coming together and saying let’s give them one of the best incoming players in the league,” Silver said. “So that’s what makes the league. It’s not as if it’s 30 independent teams all separately competing with each other. The goal is to create the best competition and sometimes creating the best competition means sharing top talent around the league.”
In other words, perhaps a little bit of tough luck for the Warriors. But they’ll gladly take luxury tax issues in exchange for a championship. And clearly, as the commissioner stated in front of the basketball world on Thursday, Golden State’s front office has done nearly everything right in the last decade – starting with making smart draft picks.