Rival Superstar Raves About Golden State After Ex-Warrior’s Outburst

Devin Booker Chris Paul Suns

Getty Devin Booker and Chris Paul speak during a preseason game between the Phoenix Suns and the LA Lakers.

Stephen Curry wasn’t the only member of the Golden State Warriors family who led his club to victory on opening night. In Phoenix on Wednesday, former Warrior Damion Lee was the unlikely hero of the Suns’ comeback win over Luka Doncic and the Mavs in their season opener.

Over the final 12 minutes of the contest, Lee scored all 11 of his points, nailed a trio of three-point shots and sealed the victory with a game-winning jumper in the final 10 seconds. It was a wild night for the career role player, but Suns star Devin Booker wasn’t the least bit surprised by it — and that has everything to do with Lee’s Golden State roots.

“I knew it was coming. He knows how to play the game the right way,” Booker said post-game. “Big ups to Golden State. They have that culture, they have that environment and you can see it’s instilled in them and that’s how they’ve been as successful as they’ve been.”

However, Booker isn’t the only prominent NBA figure to rave over the Warriors’ organizational excellence recently.

A Track Record of Developmental Excellence

Suns EPIC Late Game Comeback 🔥🔥Never miss a moment with the latest news, trending stories and highlights to bring you closer to your favorite players and teams. Download now: app.link.nba.com/APP22 After trailing by as many as 22 points, the Phoenix Suns defeated the Dallas Mavericks, 107-105. Devin Booker led the way for the Suns with 28 points, 4 rebounds and…2022-10-20T05:20:01Z

Former Warrior Matt Barnes served up a similar take on the Warriors organization bringing out the best in its players and, essentially, teaching them how to be good pros. According to the “We Believe” legend, that’s exactly what happened when Andrew Wiggins joined the club.

“Organizations mean a lot,” Barnes told 95.7 The Game‘s Steiny & Guru when comparing Minnesota Timberwolves Wiggins to the Dubs version.

Wiggins had been considered one of the more disappointing players in the league during his Wolves tenure, despite the fact that he averaged nearly 20 points per contest over parts of six seasons with the club. Now, though, he’s viewed as one of the game’s best two-way ballers and a big-time playoff performer.

Barnes believes that Wiggins’ change of scenery and the opportunity he has received to be led by example is what made that evolution possible.

“I think coming in and being around some guys that really know how to play the game and really love the game, and an organization that has a foundation and has championship pedigree [allowed Wiggins to blossom].”

Lee and Wiggins aren’t the only examples of the Warriors effect, either. After a years-long struggle, Gary Payton II was finally able to cement himself as a difference-maker at the NBA level last season. And the Warriors’ annals are full of other players who became the best versions of themselves in the Bay.

That said, no organization is infallible and — in the name of fairness and objectivity — it’s worth mentioning that the team has received some significant criticism recently, too.

A Possible Crack in the Armor?

For all the good the Dubs organization has done (and continues to do), its handling of the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole incident has raised the wrong kind of eyebrows in some sectors.

After Green punched teammate Jordan Poole during practice earlier this month, the Warriors opted not to suspend the four-time All-Star. Later, ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that the team’s championship ring ceremony — and Green’s availability for it — played a role in that decision.

It’s a move that more than a few are hammering the Warriors for.

“Assaulting a player (teammate or not) should come with serious consequences, ones that don’t cater to whatever events may be going on,” wrote Bleacher Report‘s Greg Swartz. “Yes, it would be unfortunate for Green to miss what’s sure to be a special night in San Francisco. It’s also something he should have thought about before decking his own teammate.”

Added Swartz: “For an organization that’s otherwise been so good at everything else, this was a really bad look.”

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