In the summer of 2010, the Golden State Warriors were sold to a group led by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, ushering in a new era with a new logo.
Before the sale, the Warriors had made the playoffs just once in the past 16 seasons. For a little perspective, the Los Angeles Lakers have missed the playoffs just five times in the history of the NBA. Yes, you read that correctly. Management that consistently builds playoff teams that gather recognition and respect around the league, and for quite some time, Dr. Jerry Buss of the Lakers was thought to be the best owner in the league.
After his unfortunate passing, Joe Lacob & Co. look to be making a running at being the league’s best owners.
1. They have changed the culture of Golden State
The Warriors, in the 90’s and into the millennium, were a run-and-gun, shoot-em-up, off-your-seat team with great action and was even marketed as “A Good Time Out!” – but they lost most of their games.
Their exciting action was entertaining but their wins were scarce. The new Warriors management came in and they turned the laughingstock of the NBA into a yearly playoff threat that everyone fears.
2. They are ambitious and passionate
When Lacob and his group came in, he promised the playoffs. I mean, he wrote a frickin’ contract with the fanbase guaranteeing playoffs! This man wants to win, and you can always see him at the Warriors’ home games jumping up and down at courtside rooting for his players. Other teams’ front offices are often apathetic about wins and losses as long as the money comes in, and then we have Mark Cuban and Joe Lacob who come to games looking for blood, or at least a victory.
3. They have made the Warriors a target free agent landing spot
The Warriors had to overpay for David Lee, because why else would anyone want to come to Golden State? No longer is that the case. Not to mention Andre Iguodala taking less money to come to the Warriors, it reflects highly on management when Golden State seems to be in the middle of discussions for top free agents like Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, and LeBron James. Lacob could be satisfied with making the playoffs — which I’m confident they will make — but time and time again he has tested the waters to see if there is more that can be done.
4. They are smart
Not only is this management always trying to get better, but they also see the game in smart ways. In recent years, the Warriors have been one of the pioneers in sports statistical analytics. Lacob’s son, Kirk, manages the D-League affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors and has been at the forefront of basketball analytics for the past few years. They also brought in the legendary Jerry West as a consultant and free agent specialist Bob Myers as General Manager to make a very formidable team.
Lacob has said quite often that he is willing to pay a luxury tax if the situation deems necessary and worthwhile. So far, the Warriors have straddled the luxury tax line and has avoided any extra fees, but times are coming where Lacob may be tested on his word. Klay Thompson is due for a pay raise, and there is still much to be said regarding the rest of the roster. But if Lacob can manage this right and make these Warriors into perennial championship contenders, we might just have the best management in the business.