Q&A With Golden State Warriors Point Guard Ky Bowman

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Ky Bowman wasn’t supposed to be here.

At 22, and currently on a two-way contract with the five-time NBA Finals participants Golden State Warriors, odds are Bowman would, at best, have found himself in a game or two.

But then injuries hit, and kept hitting. Already without Klay Thompson, the Warriors found themselves without Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell, and even Draymond Green, which opened the door for Bowman and fellow rookie Eric Paschall to play much larger roles.

Bowman is currently averaging 9.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 23.6 minutes on the season. He’s shooting 40 percent from deep, and hitting 95 percent of his free throws. In his six starts, Bowman has been phenomenal, averaging 16.7 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.7 rebounds, while posting a TS percentage of 62.4. He also had just nine turnovers in those six games, despite playing an average of 36.4 minutes a night.

Needless to say, Bowman has outperformed whatever expectations were put on him. Sources tell Forbes that the Warriors internally hold Bowman in high regard, which suggests his two-way status could potentially change as the season moves on.

While the Warriors may not be winning these days (they currently sit at a league-worst record of 4-18) their expanded minutes with both Bowman and Paschall have provided them with pieces to put around their star core, when they return to the floor.

For a guy who bet on himself in the summer, this has been a surprising, but welcome, path for Bowman who spoke with Forbes about his ongoing NBA season. This interview has been edited for clarity.

Q: You were undrafted and there are stories out there suggesting you turned down being picked in the second round. Walk us through that night, the emotions and the pre-draft process. How did you specifically end up with the Warriors?

A: I did 19 NBA workouts and honestly thought I had a good chance of getting drafted. There were teams that called to draft me in the second round, but the terms they wanted us to agree on, I was not comfortable with. My family was with me, my AAU coach and mentor, Kendrick Williams [Team Wall] and an executive at my agency, Anthony Fields [Vanguard Sports].

All I remember is the draft ending and I felt defeated. I worked so hard and my name really wasn’t called. Teams started calling my reps directly after the draft saying they wish they took me, but still had an opportunity for me. That I still don’t understand. Of course it was emotional, but we had to make a decision.

The Golden State Warriors were in heavy contact with my representatives throughout the draft. Unfortunately they sold their last pick, but communicated that with us. I felt like they really wanted me, so I trusted my advisers and agreed to join them. I’ve always bet on myself. [I’ve] turned down high-major football scholarships, went to Boston College to hoop, which some people thought was an unpopular decision. I trust my gut and follow my lord and savior Jesus Christ. Turns out, he was right. 

Q: Which specific areas of your skill set allowed you to accelerate your importance to the Warriors?

A: Being able to pick up 94 feet and show my will to be able to get stops no matter who it is, and also being able to make the right reads as a point guard in the NBA.

Q: You've been an elite rebounder for someone your size and position since high school. As a ball-handler too, does being a good rebounder allow you to take the ball off the glass and initiate the offense at a quicker rate? And if so, how specifically?

A: Yes, it allows me and my team to play in transition, and to get the defense off-balance to get different match-ups that we want, and then take advantage of teams who are defensively great in the half-court.

Q: You played more of a scoring role in college, and under Steve Kerr, you're asked to run the offense a bit more traditionally. How's that adjustment been, and what have you learned about being an NBA playmaker?

A: Easy. Just do what my coaches need from me. You will never lose being aggressive and [wanting to] get buckets. I’ve always been a scorer. At this level there is a balance. There’s a time to go get a bucket for yourself, but it’s vitally important to find guys and make plays for others. I’ve learned to balance scoring and facilitating. Great playmakers can do both, I’m getting a lot better thanks to the staff.

Q: You have some of the most accomplished teammates in the league in Steph, Klay, and Draymond. How do you soak up all that combined knowledge they have to share? And which advice do you keep going back to or think about?

A: I couldn’t ask for better teammates or veterans, who have all seen a lot. So, just being able to talk to them is huge, but the biggest take-away is keep taking advantage of my opportunities and find something that’s going to keep me in the league. Picking their brains on how they solidified themselves has really helped that so far. 

Q: Given that you and Eric Paschall are both older rookies, how has your maturity been a factor in producing at a consistent level? What are you seeing out there on the court, that you may not have seen just a few years ago?

A: I have been forced to mature early, just in life. All that translates to the game I love. It’s important to show I’m able to make the right reads and pick up things from the veterans, and quickly. What else I’m seeing is that players like me and Eric, who people overlooked, fight to make a name across the league and for ourselves. This opportunity is rare, but my job is to add value and compete every second I’m on that floor. I now understand how hard you have to play and that’s something you can only understand by being out there.

Q: Obviously, this season hasn't gone as expected due to a plethora of injuries. Under normal circumstances, having a losing record like this would create a depressing environment, but this team is coming off five straight Finals appearances, and still have their primary core intact, albeit injured. How do you guys deal with the oddness that is this season? It's certainly not a common setting.

A: Honestly, just stay positive every day. We are NBA players just like the others in the league. This is a very confident and competitive group, so that helps me a lot. At the moment, teams have more experience than we do, so that’s a huge advantage for them. They know each other and have built chemistry. We have a lot of new faces and guys injured. So, just understanding that every day we are getting better. Klay said as rookies they weren’t thrown into big expectations like we currently are, so just staying together as a team and take it one day at a time. 

Q: Learning from two of the greatest three-point shooters in the history of the game has to be a tremendous luxury. What specifically are you learning about finding your spots on the floor? 

A: My focus is getting others in their right spots more than me finding mine as a guard in the NBA. I’ll be able to pick my spots with my speed and athleticism, but taking what the defense gives you is important at this level. I watch film with the staff, watch other games and work on game shots. I prepare for the way people play me. My preparation on certain reads and open looks I get has really improved. That says a lot about this staff and my inner circle.

Q: You play a significant role on this year's team and have become one of the most consistent players in the current rotation. How do you build further upon that as the season goes on? Any specific goals in mind?

A: The only goal I have is to be the best person I can be, and not to worry about stats. Just doing what the team needs me to do, and find ways to help us win. At the end of the day my goal, as others, is to get my second contract, make a name for myself, and stay in the league. I’m fighting for that every day.

Q: Finally, and I gotta ask this, what's your favorite Draymond story that you can tell us, without getting into (too much) trouble?

A: This question is asked very often. Honestly, I have no story for you without getting me into trouble, so I’ll just leave that there.

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Ky Bowman wasn’t supposed to be here.

At 22, and currently on a two-way contract with the five-time NBA Finals participants Golden State Warriors, odds are Bowman would, at best, have found himself in a game or two.

But then injuries hit, and kept hitting. Already without Klay Thompson, the Warriors found themselves without Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell, and even Draymond Green, which opened the door for Bowman and fellow rookie Eric Paschall to play much larger roles.

Bowman is currently averaging 9.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 23.6 minutes on the season. He’s shooting 40 percent from deep, and hitting 95 percent of his free throws. In his six starts, Bowman has been phenomenal, averaging 16.7 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.7 rebounds, while posting a TS percentage of 62.4. He also had just nine turnovers in those six games, despite playing an average of 36.4 minutes a night.

Needless to say, Bowman has outperformed whatever expectations were put on him. Sources tell Forbes that the Warriors internally hold Bowman in high regard, which suggests his two-way status could potentially change as the season moves on.

While the Warriors may not be winning these days (they currently sit at a league-worst record of 4-18) their expanded minutes with both Bowman and Paschall have provided them with pieces to put around their star core, when they return to the floor.

For a guy who bet on himself in the summer, this has been a surprising, but welcome, path for Bowman who spoke with Forbes about his ongoing NBA season. This interview has been edited for clarity.

Q: You were undrafted and there are stories out there suggesting you turned down being picked in the second round. Walk us through that night, the emotions and the pre-draft process. How did you specifically end up with the Warriors?

A: I did 19 NBA workouts and honestly thought I had a good chance of getting drafted. There were teams that called to draft me in the second round, but the terms they wanted us to agree on, I was not comfortable with. My family was with me, my AAU coach and mentor, Kendrick Williams [Team Wall] and an executive at my agency, Anthony Fields [Vanguard Sports].

All I remember is the draft ending and I felt defeated. I worked so hard and my name really wasn’t called. Teams started calling my reps directly after the draft saying they wish they took me, but still had an opportunity for me. That I still don’t understand. Of course it was emotional, but we had to make a decision.

The Golden State Warriors were in heavy contact with my representatives throughout the draft. Unfortunately they sold their last pick, but communicated that with us. I felt like they really wanted me, so I trusted my advisers and agreed to join them. I’ve always bet on myself. [I’ve] turned down high-major football scholarships, went to Boston College to hoop, which some people thought was an unpopular decision. I trust my gut and follow my lord and savior Jesus Christ. Turns out, he was right. 

Q: Which specific areas of your skill set allowed you to accelerate your importance to the Warriors?

A: Being able to pick up 94 feet and show my will to be able to get stops no matter who it is, and also being able to make the right reads as a point guard in the NBA.

Q: You've been an elite rebounder for someone your size and position since high school. As a ball-handler too, does being a good rebounder allow you to take the ball off the glass and initiate the offense at a quicker rate? And if so, how specifically?

A: Yes, it allows me and my team to play in transition, and to get the defense off-balance to get different match-ups that we want, and then take advantage of teams who are defensively great in the half-court.

Q: You played more of a scoring role in college, and under Steve Kerr, you're asked to run the offense a bit more traditionally. How's that adjustment been, and what have you learned about being an NBA playmaker?

A: Easy. Just do what my coaches need from me. You will never lose being aggressive and [wanting to] get buckets. I’ve always been a scorer. At this level there is a balance. There’s a time to go get a bucket for yourself, but it’s vitally important to find guys and make plays for others. I’ve learned to balance scoring and facilitating. Great playmakers can do both, I’m getting a lot better thanks to the staff.

Q: You have some of the most accomplished teammates in the league in Steph, Klay, and Draymond. How do you soak up all that combined knowledge they have to share? And which advice do you keep going back to or think about?

A: I couldn’t ask for better teammates or veterans, who have all seen a lot. So, just being able to talk to them is huge, but the biggest take-away is keep taking advantage of my opportunities and find something that’s going to keep me in the league. Picking their brains on how they solidified themselves has really helped that so far. 

Q: Given that you and Eric Paschall are both older rookies, how has your maturity been a factor in producing at a consistent level? What are you seeing out there on the court, that you may not have seen just a few years ago?

A: I have been forced to mature early, just in life. All that translates to the game I love. It’s important to show I’m able to make the right reads and pick up things from the veterans, and quickly. What else I’m seeing is that players like me and Eric, who people overlooked, fight to make a name across the league and for ourselves. This opportunity is rare, but my job is to add value and compete every second I’m on that floor. I now understand how hard you have to play and that’s something you can only understand by being out there.

Q: Obviously, this season hasn't gone as expected due to a plethora of injuries. Under normal circumstances, having a losing record like this would create a depressing environment, but this team is coming off five straight Finals appearances, and still have their primary core intact, albeit injured. How do you guys deal with the oddness that is this season? It's certainly not a common setting.

A: Honestly, just stay positive every day. We are NBA players just like the others in the league. This is a very confident and competitive group, so that helps me a lot. At the moment, teams have more experience than we do, so that’s a huge advantage for them. They know each other and have built chemistry. We have a lot of new faces and guys injured. So, just understanding that every day we are getting better. Klay said as rookies they weren’t thrown into big expectations like we currently are, so just staying together as a team and take it one day at a time. 

Q: Learning from two of the greatest three-point shooters in the history of the game has to be a tremendous luxury. What specifically are you learning about finding your spots on the floor? 

A: My focus is getting others in their right spots more than me finding mine as a guard in the NBA. I’ll be able to pick my spots with my speed and athleticism, but taking what the defense gives you is important at this level. I watch film with the staff, watch other games and work on game shots. I prepare for the way people play me. My preparation on certain reads and open looks I get has really improved. That says a lot about this staff and my inner circle.

Q: You play a significant role on this year's team and have become one of the most consistent players in the current rotation. How do you build further upon that as the season goes on? Any specific goals in mind?

A: The only goal I have is to be the best person I can be, and not to worry about stats. Just doing what the team needs me to do, and find ways to help us win. At the end of the day my goal, as others, is to get my second contract, make a name for myself, and stay in the league. I’m fighting for that every day.

Q: Finally, and I gotta ask this, what's your favorite Draymond story that you can tell us, without getting into (too much) trouble?

A: This question is asked very often. Honestly, I have no story for you without getting me into trouble, so I’ll just leave that there.

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I have covered the NBA on a permanent basis since 2008. After being a writer and on-air TV analyst, I became the owner and editor-in-chief of Denmark's largest basketba

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