Dunleavy-Warriors Era Begins With the 2023 Draft


Last Friday, it was reported that the Golden State Warriors hired Mike Dunleavy Jr. as its new general manager.

The announcement was made on Friday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, on a day where other important NBA reports were released. Adam Silver released information on Ja Morant‘s suspension being 25 games, and Michael Jordan is reportedly selling his majority stake of the Hornets.

Mike Dunleavy’s Long NBA Career

Mike Dunleavy Jr. started his NBA journey as the No. 3 pick in the 2002. That year’s top prospect was Yao Ming, and the Warriors lost their chance to get him during the lottery. The Rockets secured the No. 1 pick despite having seven more wins.

Dunleavy had a very rough time as a top draft pick for the Warriors. He did not live up to the expectations a franchise or fanbase has for a player drafted that high. His best season came during the 2004-05 season, where he averaged 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game on 45.1% shooting from the field and 38.8% from three.

During his fifth season, he was traded to the Pacers in an eight-team deal that landed the Warriors Stephen Jackson. Jackson was a key contributor during the “We Believe” run in 2007, where the Warriors knocked off the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks as the No. 8 seed.

Dunleavy joined the organization again in 2018 when he was hired as a pro scout under Bob Myers. Myers started his NBA career as an agent, and Dunleavy was one of his clients. They established a great relationship together, and Dunleavy moved up the front-office ladder.

In 2019, he became Assistant General Manager alongside Joe Lacob’s son, Kirk, who is now the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. Joe Lacob and Dunleavy emphasized that the Warriors’ front office’s processes are always collaborative with Lacob saying, “The cultural fit was spectacular.”

The Pressure of the Role

Dunleavy likely landed this opportunity because of his relationship with Myers. It makes sense that he understands the importance of relationships and the power of personal connection as a general manager. The Athletic’s Anthony Slater mentioned in his latest story about Dunleavy that he was working alongside Bob Myers when they had to execute a sign-and-trade to acquire D’Angelo Russell for Kevin Durant back in 2019.

That trade led to the deal that brought Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga (as a draft pick) to the Warriors. It’s clear that the organization believes Dunleavy can be a solid successor to Myers, given his experience and cultural fit. The question that will be answered is how different Dunleavy sees the direction of the roster. Furthermore, the organization has important decisions to be made this offseason.

Myers made three moves that brought championships to Golden State: trading for Andre Iguodala in 2013, signing Durant in 2016, and trading for Wiggins in 2020. Even though Myers did not make a ton of moves like a Sam Presti, he made the calculated ones. Each of them fit into what the organization was trying to accomplish.

How does Dunleavy differentiate himself from Myers? In addition, if the front office’s collaborative efforts stay the same without Myers, how different will the outcomes be with a new person as the general manager?

Mike Dunleavy’s Offseason Priorities

At this point, the entire NBA landscape knows that the Warriors need to retool to compete for a championship. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Draymond Green has declined his player option for the 2023-24 season. Green is the most important player behind Stephen Curry for the Warriors. Green’s skillset compliments Curry’s superstardom on and off the court. The number one priority for Dunleavy and the front office should be to re-sign Green.

The 2023 NBA Draft commences Thursday. What the Warriors do during or immediately after will impact the future of the team. They have to make sure they prioritize bolstering the roster to compete. With the Suns acquiring Bradley Beal in a trade, the Western Conference is even more stacked with talent across the board. Whichever team is going to represent the West in next season’s Finals has to go through Denver and Phoenix.

There have been rumblings about the future of Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga. Their names are consistently being thrown out in rumors and speculations about putting them in trades. Will Dunleavy and the front office actually consider trading them to acquire a more established player? It’s interesting that Dunleavy mentioned that those two have value across the league when he was asked about them by The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami.

Executing a Plan

Overall, the perspective that was portrayed during the press conference is that Dunleavy is ready to go.

Almost all of his answers showed a confidence in his ability and what he learned under Myers. He had an answer to one of the questions about last season and how to improve upon it with saying, “I think we learned a lot, and I think we know what we need to do to improve. Now it’s our job to go out and do it.”

The Warriors made the announcement public with less than a week before the draft. Warriors fans should feel very confident that they knew Dunleavy was going to be the guy even way before Myers announced he was going to leave.

Part of the angst and speculation of what direction the team will go was backed by not knowing officially who the general manager was going to be. Now that the team as solidified that and made it known to the public, the real work begins.

Aside from losing Myers, the Warriors also lost assistant coach Jama Mahalela, who was the Director of Player Development. He is now an assistant for the Raptors. NBC Bay Area’s Dalton Johnson learned that Shaun Livingston is stepping away from his role as the Director of Players Affairs and Engagement as well.

While it may feel different with all the internal changes, the external goal of winning titles is still the main priority. With Curry still playing at an extremely high level, the Warriors cannot change their approach now. It is up to Mike Dunleavy to keep this thing going until the wheels fall off.

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About Christian Oblena

Born in San Francisco, raised in the East Bay, lifelong Bay Area sports fan. Here to give my own opinions on everything Dubs.

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