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Former Wildcat Bruce Fraser key to Golden State Warriors’ record run

Bruce+Fraser+of+the+Golden+State+Warriors+holds+the+NBA+trophy+on+a+plane+as+the+team+travels+home+from+Cleveland+after+winning+the+2015+NBA+Finals+on+June+17%2C+2015+in+Oakland%2C+California.+Fraser+played+for+Arizona+from+1984-1987.+
NBAE/Getty Images
Bruce Fraser of the Golden State Warriors holds the NBA trophy on a plane as the team travels home from Cleveland after winning the 2015 NBA Finals on June 17, 2015 in Oakland, California. Fraser played for Arizona from 1984-1987.

The Golden State Warriors set an NBA record for all-time wins in a season with 73 on Wednesday, less than a year removed from an NBA title. 

There’s no doubt the Warriors’ unprecedented success has been due in large part to their exemplary coaching staff, led by second-year head coach Steve Kerr. 

Bruce Fraser, one member of Kerr’s coaching staff, spent time at the UA both as a player and coach for the Arizona Wildcats. 

Related: Steve Kerr leads Golden State Warriors to record season, surpassing his 1995-1996 Bulls’ 72 wins.

Fraser committed to the UA while he was a senior in high school. During his freshman year, however, he played for Long Beach City College where his father, Bill Fraser, was head coach. Fraser transferred to the UA in 1984, just one year into his collegiate career. 

He played back-up point guard alongside Kerr for Arizona coach Lute Olson over the next three years. Fraser joined the coaching staff at Arizona in 1987, where he worked as a student assistant coach. 

He eventually became a graduate assistant coach under Olson.

Read more: An expanded look at the Lute Olson coaching tree, from Luke Walton to Mike Bibby.

“That was probably one of my proudest moments at Arizona,” Fraser said. “We went from last in the Pac-10 Conference to first in our division and even ranked [No. 1] in the country. It was amazing to not only have great success as a team, but to also do it with such good character guys who were fun to be around”

Fraser now works with Golden State as the assistant coach for player development. He was hired by the Warriors to work with Kerr, a Wildcat alumnus and close friend of his. Fraser now oversees aspects of skill and strategic development for the players.

He is also involved with aspects of the team that go beyond what is typically expected from a player development coach. 

“Steve divides our responsibilities fairly equally as assistant coaches,” Fraser said. “I have five opposing teams that I’m responsible for in preparing our team, where I’m involved in strategic planning or scouting teams both offensively and defensively.”

Perhaps Fraser’s biggest role with the Warriors, however, is his work with reigning NBA MVP Curry. Fraser can be seen with MVP both in practice and before games during Curry’s signature warm-up routine.

Part of Curry’s warm-up routine consists of shooting from the logo near center court, with which Fraser said Curry typically has a 50-60 percent success rate. 

“[Curry] has been refreshing to work with because he’s such a good character guy” Fraser said. “He’s receptive to input and he’s obviously very, very good with what he does.”

In addition to the pre-game warmup, Fraser walked through what a typical game day routine looks like. 

The day begins with a film session in which the Warriors watch film of their opponents for the first time. Unlike college, Fraser said, NBA teams don’t have an extended amount of time to prepare for each team. 

“Once we finish our film session, we walk through some of our plays before breaking into a warm up, consisting of basic up and down drills to get loose,” Fraser said. “If we have anything to add on our offensive end, we do it here.”

Once warm ups are complete and any offensive adjustments are made, the players take to separate baskets to put up shots. 

“At this time, I break to the basket and work with [Curry],” Fraser said. “This is where we spend a lot of our time together. On game days, we usually shoot from seven spots on the court. He shoots off the dribble, catch and shoot, 3s and mid-range. He actually has to make 10 out of 13 shots to move on. If he doesn’t, he starts over, … but that’s unusual.”

In addition to working with Curry, Fraser also works with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, two of the championship team’s key players.

“I get to the arena around three hours before tip off,” Fraser said. “For a 7:30 start time, I’ll usually warm up Draymond at 5:30, Steph at 6 and Klay at 6:30. With each one of those guys, we actually go through a different routine.” 

Fraser and the Warriors are now looking to defend their NBA title as they kicked off postseason play with a game-one win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday. 


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