Golden State Warriors: 5 Bold Steps to Win a Championship by 2017
Golden State Warriors and an NBA title? Sound familiar? Well, it hasn’t happened since 1975, and the faint reminders are Rick Barry’s image on the NBA Finals broadcast and the banner in the rafters at Oracle Arena.
It didn’t help to have a horrible ownership group that did not know how to manage a team. Don’t worry, Warriors fans, Chris Cohan is gone. Grantland.com’s Bill Simmons gave us a quick refresher course of poor decision making within the past 35 years.
Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are the new sheriffs in town, and they have basketball acumen. They have already brought in general manager Bob Myers, and they will be melding the roster to a potential championship fit.
Playoff success will be exciting and is expected in the next couple of years. But let’s take a bigger step. What will it take to get the Warriors to win the second NBA title in Golden State’s history?
Here is a five-step program that will guide the Warriors to the NBA title:
5) Get Healthy
The first step revolves around one of their building blocks, Stephan Curry, and the center they acquired, Andrew Bogut. David Lee was also added to the list of Warriors wearing suits on the bench at the end of the year.
Curry has taken over the backcourt leadership with the departure of Monta Ellis, but he played sparingly because of the ankle injury he suffered in a preseason game last year.
Curry tried to make multiple comebacks, but in the interest in his development, he was eventually shut down for the year. He also went to get the opinion of three doctors and to Nike headquarters to get a custom-fitted shoe.
Andrew Bogut, the biggest acquisition of the year, came to the Warriors after he fractured his left ankle. His ankle is recuperating after going through a scope in late April.
He should be ready to start the year healthy and man the center position that the Warriors have been lacking for numerous years.
David Lee sat down for groin and hip injuries, which seemed more along the lines of reducing the talent on the floor so the Warriors could secure the seventh pick in the draft.
4) Succeed in the Draft
In years past, the Warriors were always known for making the wrong draft pick. They have succeeded in the past three years with the picks of Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and the recently traded Ekpe Udoh.
However, the three years of drafts before that netted them Anthony Randolph, Marco Belinelli, and Patrick O’Bryant.
The new Warriors staff has to be diligent in looking at all of the players' successes and faults and how they would fit into the Warriors system. They also have to be able to scope any possible deals that might be in play with the picks available.
This year is a prime example. The Warriors have four picks in this deep draft (Nos. 7, 30, 35, and 52) and have ample opportunity to retool their roster. They have to understand how not to overpay to get the talent they crave if they want to make a trade.
Future success will be determined how they can exploit other teams at this stage. Hopefully, the Warriors will not have a lottery pick for years to come.
3) Sign Big-Time Free Agents
Mega stars and soon-to-be mega stars want to play in a competitive environment. They want to play in a packed arena and live somewhere where they are in the spotlight. With the Warriors moving to a new home in 2017, this could be a distinct possibility.
By having a system in place with talented players that fit the system, Golden State could be an attractive landing spot. Having cap space is another attractive reason.
Once the Biedrins and Jefferson contracts are gone, the Warriors are set up to have a lot of cap room and the ability to make instant adjustments to the roster. 2013-'14 and beyond is where the Warriors need to focus.
The Warriors will need to market their team, their system, their upcoming rise and all their potential benefits to shape the roster. Curry, Thompson and Bogut should be mainstays going forward, but other pieces will need to be added.
Lacob and Guber’s dream is to be one of the top destination cities for free agents. If the plan goes accordingly, the Warriors will catch their first major fish in 2014-'15 or the following season.
2) Play in a System That Will Maximize the Team’s Strengths
After all of these years, the Warriors finally have a traditional lineup. The addition of Bogut will line the Warriors up in a better position each game against their opponents. Now, the Warriors will have to learn that system and thrive.
Mark Jackson took the first step last year and turned a team that gave up 105.7 points per game (PPG) in 2010-'11 and lowered that to 101.2 PPG in 2011-'12. His better understanding of the players and another year under his belt will make the team even better next year.
The offense is a little bit different. The Warriors can score, but it might take them a little bit longer to click as a unit. Curry, Thompson, and Bogut have yet to play a regular-season game together.
Jackson ran the point during a very successful 17-year career and knows how to operate the offense. If he can get everybody on board quickly and seamlessly, his signature style will represent the Warriors.
Jackson will have to identify his new players’ strengths, build set plays that take advantage of those and find ways to earn victories during crunch time. The Warriors will need to make this a top priority in the preseason.
1) Strengthen the Front Office
Bob Myers was hand-picked for the general manager job. He has basketball experience from the player’s side (UCLA, 1994-97), the agency side (Wasserman Media Group under Arn Tellem) and now the management side.
Part of the reason that Myers was picked was because of his former job, basketball agent. Players see him on their side, as someone who knows the interworkings of the players.
West was behind the move to acquire Kobe Bryant in the draft, where the Warriors selected center Todd Fuller two picks ahead of Bryant in 1996.
Myers is a sharp guy, and having the leadership of Lacob and Guber in addition to the clairvoyant mind of Jerry West will help build the foundation and grow. This year will not have the expectations of future years, but he still needs to make significant progress.
Myers will be judged not only on how well the team performs in 2012-'13, but also how he handles subsequent years in acquiring free agents, drafting the correct picks and improving every year.
Joe Lacob and Peter Guber believe they have their man.
Putting the Steps Together
If the Warriors follow these five bold steps, it will set them up to compete at the highest levels with the best talent in the league. With a little bit of luck, a maturing general manager, and the new facility, the Warriors look to be on the championship road.