Warriors owner Joe Lacob has no regard for the concept of "quit while you're ahead 3-1." The Golden State maven caught flack for his comments earlier this year about his team being "light years ahead" of the rest of the league, and for making it sound like the real heroes for the Warriors' 73-win season weren't Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, but Lacob and his Silicon Valley approach.
You would think after his team became the first in NBA history to win 73 games and not win the title, and the first in NBA history to lose a 3-1 series lead in the Finals, he might have been humbled.
That's a big,"Nope."
Lacob appeared at Stanford's Director's college summit Wednesday and decided to go on another bragging spree.
Lacob said the Warriors intentionally lead trends only to look for the next -- almost a prerequisite for anyone in Silicon Valley business."We drove this idea of small ball, and it's a different style of play," he said.
"Having said that, I think it's important to know that whenever everyone else starts doing things, it's time to start doing what's next. We're on to the next idea -- How can we iterate to evolve to get an advantage? I can assure you we're very forward thinking in that regard."
This idea of "forward thinking" away from the current trend of "small" could potentially point to the widely rumored idea that the Warriors are working to acquire free agent forward Kevin Durant. Lacob dodged questions about the reports that the team is making efforts to acquire him.
He said the Warriors were the reason for the higher market cap for what teams could pay for players. The projected salary cap for the 2016-17 season rose on Tuesday to $94 million, according to Sports Illustrated.
Lacob talked about the Warriors' use of technology in a money ball-type strategy that will produce better odds for coming seasons. ( The Wall Street Journal did an entire feature on it, which Lacob said was entirely accurate). The team is even using artificial intelligence to help players predict the most accurate moves to take."We do a lot of data analysis from day one," Lacob said. "We want to be the first to bring new technology."
OK, well, this is just all sorts of wrong. Let's count the ways!
- The Warriors did not invent small ball. It's been around for decades, going back to the 70's and a little further. Don Nelson, Mike D'Antoni, Doug Moe, George Karl, all of these coaches were using these ideas way before Lacob took over Golden State.
- The Warriors were not responsible for the massive cap increase this summer. That belongs to the new TV deal, which was engineered prior to the 2014-2015 season, before the Warriors had ascended to the unstoppable juggernaut they became that season (which was eventually stopped by one LeBron James and company). Did the cap wind up higher in small part due to the amount of interest that the Warriors generated, rising it to $94 million instead of $90 or $92 million? Sure, they were popular and contributed to the success. But the Warriors were not the reason the cap is so high as he makes it sound.
- The Warriors don't us a "moneyball-type strategy" in any regard. They don't maximize lower-cost, higher efficiency players. They were enabled to bring in Andre Iguodala thanks to Stephen Curry's low salary which was the result of his prior ankle injuries. If Curry was making what he's worth on the market, the super team would not have been viable.
- Oh, and by the way, the Warriors assembled all these players and were still a second-round squad until Steve Kerr showed up and revolutionized their play style. Does Lacob deserve credit for making the move to remove Mark Jackson and add Kerr? Sure. But let's not act like the Warriors have shifted the way teams approach team building.
- This is the problem with all the talk of the Warriors "revolutionizing" the game. It winds up assigning credit for things that have been around forever. The Warriors became the incredible team they were (right up until Game 5 of the Finals) thanks to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson's incredible shooting and the outlier rise of Draymond Green from second-round tweener to All-Star. The Warriors deserve credit for their vision, but not for somehow being "lightyears ahead."
But hey, it's good that Lacob is so proud of being such an amazing organization as to assemble a team that suffered maybe the most humiliating collapse in NBA Finals history.
They're lightyears ahead in that category, too.