Juan Toscano-Anderson was among several departures from last year’s championship roster for the Golden State Warriors. During the offseason, Toscano-Anderson signed a $1.9M veteran’s minimum deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. While discussing the opportunity at a bigger role in Los Angeles, the former Warrior gave a very thoughtful answer about whether he felt hindered during his time in Golden State.
Juan Toscano-Anderson was asked if he was “hindered” in Golden State and I really liked his answer. (FYI he said he wasn’t) pic.twitter.com/4h8qtYKKQn— Laker Central (@LakerCentral365) September 27, 2022
“I want to tread lightly when I answer that question because I don’t believe I was hindered in Golden State,” Toscano-Anderson told reporters on Tuesday. “I think the difference between here and Golden State is that there are a lot of new faces here — pretty much the whole roster, more or less, is new — and so we’re all trying to figure out where we get in.“
Toscano-Anderson went on to describe how the return of Klay Thompson resulted in a decreased role with the Warriors last season.
“The thing about Golden State is Klay Thompson has been there 10 years,” Toscano-Anderson explained. “When Klay Thompson comes back, it doesn’t matter who’s there, you have to move out of the way. They have guys who have longevity there. They have a culture there, and I think that was the difference. It didn’t really matter how well I was or was not playing. When Klay Thompson came back, we all knew what the deal was. It is what it is and that’s the way of this game. Sometimes you get in situations where things like that happen. Still won a championship, and I’m very satisfied with the way my season went last year, but moving forward to here, like I said, new faces, new opportunity, and a bit of an unknown from all the guys coming in and trying to find a niche on this team.”
Toscano-Anderson finished by saying it helps now that he is competing against players who are also new to the team, as opposed to someone like Klay Thompson who already has longevity and an established reputation with a team like the Warriors.
“I think that was to my advantage because we’re all starting from square one,” Toscano Anderson added. “We all have the same opportunity, as opposed to competing with the guy who – three-time champion, who has been there for 10 years — I’m not going to win that battle. It wasn’t a battle. Klay is Klay. He deserves that spot, so I don’t think I was hindered there, but I do think there is a bit more opportunity here with the Lakers seeing the makeup of our roster.”
After promoting from the team’s G-League affiliate during the 2019-20 season, Toscano-Anderson found a nice role with his hometown team — appearing in 139 games during his three seasons with the Warriors. In that time, he averaged 4.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 17.1 minutes per game. He endeared himself to Dub Nation with his toughness and his team-first mentality, which was especially evident through plays like this during the 2020-21 season:
Juan Toscano-Anderson with an incredible save leading to a Steph Curry 3, and JTA stays down injured behind the scorers table. #Warriors #NBA— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) April 18, 2021
“JTA” fulfilled many roles during his time with the Warriors. During his first seasons with the team, he made an impact with his hustle and energy as a regular part of the lineup rotation. However, last season, as the Warriors got healthier and brought in more talent, he saw his role decrease — serving mostly as an end-of-the-bench depth option for the team. Despite this, he was always ready to step up and do whatever the team needed, whenever the team needed it.
Now at 29-years-old and a championship on his resume, Toscano-Anderson gets the opportunity to use his experiences from Golden State and continue to grow as a player.