The NBA's "hype machine" is a technological marvel.
It pumps out an endless supply of expectation, pressure and accountability while requiring virtually no fuel at all. Just feed in a couple of trades or free-agent acquisitions, and suddenly, the hype machine kicks into gear. The Golden State Warriors have done plenty to feed the hype machine this offseason, and as a result, there's been more buzz about this year's Dubs than ever. But as it turns out, that's a very good thing.
Because where there's hype, there's accountability.
For too long, Warriors players, coaches and front-office decision makers worked in a culture devoid of hype—justifiable hype, anyway. Nobody reasonably expected anything out of Golden State. But now, the owners are making bold statements and drawing up ambitious plans. The coaching staff is out of excuses and the players are ready to break out—at least according to the hype.
And with all that hype, and all those expectations, heads will probably roll if the Warriors fall short this year. But that's how good organizations should operate. Without accountability, there's no reason to fear failure. And if there's no reason to fear failure, there's less incentive to try.
Rest assured, the organization-wide message is very clear: Win or go home. GM Bob Myers said as much in August:
And there’s really only one mandate here and it’s to win...It’s up to [the coaching staff] now to go forward with this group. I don’t know what your guys’ opinions are but I don’t think it’s unfair to ask to go forward and do well with this group of players.
But maybe all the hype is putting too much pressure on the players and the coaches, and maybe that's a bad thing.
If these players and coaches can’t handle pressure, that's worth knowing, too. So whether the hype is warranted or not, it’ll create the type of pressure that reveals character. And if it looks like Stephen Curry—or anyone else—isn't ready to meet the challenges of high expectations, the team will be better off for knowing that now, rather than learning it after handing out a monster contract extension.
And if any of the other players or coaches balk at playing on the larger stage created by the hype, it's better to know that so the organization can find replacements who want that pressure.
Finally, hype and pressure are just the by-products of what the Warriors are trying to create: a relevant, successful brand.
Check out this video in which GM Bob Myers discusses how the Warriors are trying to become a destination for winning players (at the 1:27 mark).
Part of creating a winning brand is being relevant. And all the hype is helping the Warriors as they push toward being a relevant team and a winning destination. The more expectations and pressure there are, the more the Dubs will start to feel like a winning franchise, which can only help in the quest to draw marquee free agents.
The fact is, all the hype surrounding this year's Warriors can only be a good thing. It'll create accountability, motivate performance, weed out anyone afraid of a little pressure and help make the Warriors feel like a desirable destination.
Winning organizations want the hype machine to keep humming away, and that should be no different for the Warriors.