The Golden State Warriors open training camp on Tuesday morning to prepare for the 2015-16 season. For the first time in 40 years, they will be doing so as the defending NBA champions.
Having been a hunter for the longest time, the Warriors are now the hunted as they attempt to become the fifth team in the past 17 years to repeat as champions. The 2012-13 Miami Heat was the last to accomplish the feat. The players know a big bullseye are on their backs and are more than ready for the challenge.
“We’re going to get everybody’s best shot every single night and we know that, so we have to be at our best every time we step foot on the floor,” MVP Stephen Curry said during the Warriors’ media day Monday afternoon.
“We love having the bullet on our back,” Klay Thompson said. “Now when you go to these arenas, it is the best show in town, the Warriors. We don’t take that for granted. We want to have those eyes on us. We want that pressure. We know winning back-to-back will be much harder than winning the first one. You’ve just got to take it week by week.”
“It was starting to happen last year towards the end of the season based on how we started out,” Finals MVP Andre Iguodala said. “But definitely after kind of solidifying our stance in the league as far as winning the championship, we’ll be the targets.”
The theme of the day was that the Warriors won’t be complacent. The players want to end next season by once again hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy and having a parade through downtown Oakland.
“At any time when you win a championship, you just have to make sure that everybody stays hungry,” Draymond Green said. “I don’t think that’ll ever be a problem on this team, especially with this group of guys being as young as we are. We’re still hungry because we have a lot more — we know we have a lot more that we can accomplish and a lot more that we want to accomplish. I don’t see it being a problem for this team to stay hungry.”
“I know it was a great off-season for a lot of us and coming off a great season, almost perfect,” Thompson said. “We won’t be complacent, I’ll tell you that. Our guys on this team are too competitive.
“We’ve chased that feeling of winning, and we want to kind — we’re kind of addicted to it, and we want to get back to that high level of play. It can be sustainable, we’ve just got to do the right things as far as stay healthy mentally and physically, and just stay hungry.”
Thompson will forever remember this past June 19. That was the day when a million people lined the streets of Oakland to celebrate the long-awaited championship.
“That was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my life,” Thompson said. “It’s motivating because I want to have it again. It was such a beautiful day on the lake. That’s something we’ll never forget and a moment we shared with our teammates and family.”