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Report: Warriors coaches initially doubted ‘two-timeline' approach

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The Warriors, for a few years now, have been trying to buck a trend that has consumed pretty much every NBA dynasty since the dawn of time, and their initial approach was shaky from the start.

Two years removed from their fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance, a loss to the Toronto Raptors in 2019, the Warriors selected center James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. One year later, Golden State selected forward Jonathan Kuminga with the No. 7 pick and guard Moses Moody with the No. 14 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

This became known as the Warriors' "two-timeline" approach, an attempt to blend the three first-round picks with Golden State's dynastic core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green with a goal of competing for championships while simultaneously building for the future.

The lofty goal was met with plenty of outside criticism, but ESPN's Baxter Holmes reported in a recent feature story on the Warriors that some within the organization even had doubts about the team's balancing act.

It was known throughout the Warriors' organization that all three of Wiseman, Kuminga and Moody needed significant playing time to properly develop at the NBA level, and when the improbable 2022 championship run disrupted that, it created a conflict within the organization, team sources told Holmes.

"We could have drafted more ready players that maybe had a lower ceiling," Warriors owner Joe Lacob told Holmes. "We thought we had more time with our Big Three. How much more? We didn't know. And at what level? We weren't quite sure.

"Now, melding them in with the Big Three, that's where I think it got complicated."

The Warriors' "bridge the gap" approach, which Lacob outlined in an interview with The Athletic shortly after the selections of Kuminga and Moody in 2021, initially was met with apprehension and skepticism among the Warriors' coaching staff, who believed competing for championships while properly developing young talent was "virtually unprecedented," Holmes reported, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.

Holmes also spoke to rival NBA executives, who told ESPN that Lacob's approach was a sign of the organization's arrogance after the Warriors owner claimed in 2021 that the team was "light years" ahead of the rest of the NBA with its approach.

"These rich dudes all think they have the magic touch," one rival executive told Holmes. "Most get humbled by losing early in their ownership tenure. Joe Lacob came in with the same attitude and then won everything for 10 years. So it's understandable he thinks he can do no wrong."

The Warriors eventually sent Wiseman to the Detroit Pistons in a four-team deal prior to the 2022-23 NBA trade deadline, and although Kuminga and Moody's roles have fluctuated since their rookie seasons, both since have established themselves as impactful players, with Kuminga breaking out as a star in coach Steve Kerr's rotations this season.

After a rocky start, the Warriors now are getting contributions from two of the three "two-timeline" players while appearing to hit big on 2023 first- and second-rounders Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis, forming a young core that can succeed now and in the future.

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