The Warriors are great. There's really no value judgment system related to basketball, competition, or sports business that would wind up asserting otherwise. And when you're great, you get to talk about it.
And man, do the Warriors -- especially their owners -- love to talk about it. In a New York Times piece on the business approach of the Warriors, and what's made their venture capitalist approach so successful, Joe Lacob openly bragged not only about how good the Warriors are in these matters, but how much better they are than others.
When I asked him about the previous night’s game, he could hardly contain himself. He boasted that the Warriors are playing in a far more sophisticated fashion than the rest of the league. “We’ve crushed them on the basketball court, and we’re going to for years because of the way we’ve built this team,” he said. But what really set the franchise apart, he said, was the way it operated as a business. “We’re light years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things,” he said. “We’re going to be a handful for the rest of the NBA to deal with for a long time.”
Source: What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over the Golden State Warriors - The New York Times.
OK, a few thoughts.
1. This whole being "light years ahead" of every other team, from a business standpoint, probably has some merit in terms of how quickly the organization has gone from a complete joke to a model NBA franchise. But to say the Warriors are lights years ahead of, say, the Spurs -- who have been the most successful franchise in sports over the past 17 years -- is probably a stretch.
2. The "we're going to for years" part? That, however, is hubris, because it pretends that random misfortune is avoidable, and that's clearly not the case. Yes, the Warriors are proactive in injury prevention in a way that most teams aren't and yes, the Warriors are younger than other contenders typically are which will prolong their window.
But bear in mind how special this group of players is, and not just Curry and Draymond Green, but guys like Leandro Barbosa, Andre Iguodala and even Andrew Bogut, all of whom are on the other side of 30. There's just no way to guarantee that the Warriors will be able to replace those players at value, and certainly no guarantee considering the immense discount they lucked into with Stephen Curry's ankle is about to come up and they'll actually have to pay their star top dollar like the rest of the league. Even with an expanding cap, that's going to be problematic.
Nothing lasts forever.
3. The Warriors' entire approach as far as their attitude and organizational bravado has mostly been "So what? What are you going to do?" But Lacob should be wary of getting under the skin of the other owners. They can be a vindictive bunch, and they're all hyper competitive people. If you wonder how that could hurt Lacob, think about things like revenue sharing, or moving teams into their market as expansion franchises. There are certainly other owners who grate on their colleagues, but envy is going to be a factor eventually, whether that's fair or not.
4. As far as results? You can't really argue with Lacob. The Warriors really are that far ahead.