When Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson knew he belonged in NBA

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When Warriors fan favorite JTA knew he belonged in the NBA originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Juan Toscano-Anderson quickly has turned into much more than a fan favorite on the Warriors. While it was a long road for the Oakland native, Toscano-Anderson now is a key player for Golden State after appearing in 53 games last season. 

When he first made his Warriors debut the season before at 26 years old, the shooting guard/small forward was "wide-eyed," but a handful of games last season really showed him belonged in the NBA. 

"I've always known I had game, I just needed to be reminded," he said Wednesday on 95.7 The Game's "Steiny, Guru & Dibs" show. "I think when it came to light for myself, when I was able to play down in Dallas, we played a back-to-back in Dallas last year and I played pretty well. Also played here against the Celtics, I remember that game. We actually lost that game but I played pretty well.

"I think things just started clicking for me. I saw the ball going in the rim and I became more comfortable and I knew my role. "

During the Warriors' back-to-back in Dallas on Feb. 4 and Feb. 6, Toscano-Anderson's presence was felt all over the court. He averaged 8.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, resulting in a two-point loss and 31-point blowout win. He also was plus-12.5 in plus-minus over those two games. 

In the Warriors' four-point loss to the Boston Celtics at home, he scored 16 points -- his second-highest of the season -- along with grabbing two rebounds in just under 27 minutes on Feb. 2. So really, it was a three-game stretch where Toscano-Anderson could look himself in the mirror and know he could compete with the best in the world. 

Toscano-Anderson averaged 5.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while averaging 20.9 minutes last season for the Warriors. But from Feb. 2 through the end of the regular season, he averaged 6.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists on 21.9 minutes and was a plus-2.4 over that 46-game span.

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Entering Year 3, but his second full season with the Warriors, Toscano-Anderson has added 10 pounds of muscle and has big goals as a better defensive player to help Golden State bring a championship back to the Bay.

"I'm excited, man," Toscano-Anderson said. "This year's different for me from a mental aspect. I know I can be in this league, I know I deserve to be in this league." 

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