You might expect Warriors point guard C.J. Watson to be upset about the Warriors adding three point guards this offseason. You might expect him, being a restricted free agent, to pray the Warriors let him sign with another team. But that's not Watson's way.
"I hope (I'm a Warrior)," Watson said. "I love the team, the coaching staff, the organization, the city and fans. So there isn't anywhere else I would want to play. But if I had to play anywhere else, it wouldn't be the end of the world."
Maybe it is because he has had to work to get this far. Maybe it's because he likes challenges. But the third-year guard who went undrafted out of Tennessee and played in the NBA Development League said he isn't at all put off by the Warriors' offseason moves to date. Though the Warriors drafted celebrated point guard Stephen Curry and acquired two point guards in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, Watson is not deterred.
Watson has earned the trust of the coaching staff, the respect of his teammates and the support of the fans. While the Warriors were beset with injuries last season, Watson proved to be a reliable backup, averaging 9.5 points and 2.7 assists in 24.5 minutes.
Yet, all offseason, all he's heard from the Golden State camp is that the Warriors need a point guard. Then came the additions of Curry and the Hawks' Acie Law and Speedy Claxton, although few expect Claxton to be a member of the team for long. While Watson provides scoring punch, Warriors general manager Larry Riley said Golden State needs better passing from the position and a true point guard.
"They obviously think we needed a point guard," Watson said. "I'm happy for (Curry) and glad he's with us. He's a good young player we need. It's only going to make both of us better by playing against each other in practice and competing. So there's no negativity there. There's always going to be a new crop of players coming in each year. It's a cycle. You just have to be prepared and up for the challenge each year."
Watson said he still thinks he fits in well with the team and is best in their up-tempo style. Because he is a natural scorer with a consistent outside shot (he shot 40 percent from 3-point range last season), he also can play shooting guard.
Most important, Watson said, he has shown the organization his propensity for growth. Riley has praised Watson, 25, for his progress in his two seasons with the Warriors . Riley even said during predraft interviews with local media that any point guard the Warriors drafted would have to beat out Watson for the right to back up starter Monta Ellis.
Based on the Warriors' reaction to landing him, Curry seems to have already superseded Watson on the depth chart, and perhaps even Ellis. But Watson said he's game for the competition.
If camp started right now, he'd be competing with Ellis, Curry, Law and maybe even Marco Belinelli, who is perhaps the Warriors' best at defending the point guard position.
"I mean, it wouldn't be any different anywhere else," Watson said. "Nothing is for certain, and I would just go in competing for playing time and to be a contributor to the team and being in the rotation."
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