As the 2020-21 NBA regular season draws to a close many can look back and see that it was a very up and down season for the Golden State Warriors. Even so, players such as Juan Toscano-Anderson stepped up to fill in the shoes of the production the team was lacking.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Toscano-Anderson. Aside from recently being upgraded from a two-way contract to a standard NBA contract by the Warriors he not only received the backing from one of his star teammates but also one of the NBA’s best players.
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Kevin Durant Reached Out To Toscano-Anderson
Toscano-Anderson’s Warriors career began during the 2019-20 NBA season. The team had just come off losing to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals, losing multiple All-Stars to free agency and, as the season started, losing their two-time MVP Steph Curry to injury.
For lack of better words, the season was about as rough as it could have been for any NBA rookie. Overall they only won 15 games and Toscano-Anderson saw minutes here and there in increments.
He didn’t have the star-powered teammates to play behind or to watch and thus had to make that situation work. That same mentality carried over into this season as he was plugged into the Warriors rotation once their big men started to succumb to constant injuries.
Thanks to several stand-out performances by him, former Golden State Warrior and now Brooklyn Net superstar Kevin Durant reached out to him after hearing about his story of playing professional basketball in Mexico and the G-League before finally making it to the NBA.
“I’m just playing basketball. That’s what I love to do. I’ve been on this team and nobody has ever made me feel like I was on two-way,” Toscano-Anderson said to NBC Sports Bay Area.
“The whole year I felt a part of the culture, a part of the locker room. All of the guys from the top to the bottom have made me feel a part of this team.”
“The first person who actually said something to me was KD, which was really dope. I’m a fan of his game.”
“I respect the game so to hear that from KD, for him to know who I was just a few games into the league, that was dope.”
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The Warriors All Believe in Him
Without his lunch pail mentality, it’s likely that Toscano-Anderson could be out of the league. With the rate of talent that enters the NBA yearly, it can become difficult to solidify a spot on a roster.
Nonetheless, he has stated over and over again that he’s willing to put his body on the line and sacrifice any statistics to make sure he does all he can to help the team win.
“Regardless of what shows up on the stat sheet, or regardless what my percentages are, it’s about (my) value on the team, (my) presence on the team,” Toscano-Anderson said recently, recalling his headfirst dive over the scorer’s table that resulted in a concussion. “I want my teammates to know that I’m going to die trying to win.”
This isn’t just talk coming from him either. Both of his star teammates in Curry and Draymond Green believe this as well and have stated so publicly.
“I would go to WAR with you ANY DAY! A DAWG!!!” Draymond Green stated via his Instagram.
“His mentality has always been that he belongs in this league. Opportunity is there and he’s taking full advantage of it,” Curry said to a group of reporters.
Now that Toscano-Anderson has played his way into a regular contract, hopefully, he can continue to improve and be a lasting piece for this Warriors franchise.