Joe Lacob, owner of the Golden State Warriors, has admitted that his team needs to evolve from the “small ball” experiment to a different style of play next season.
Warriors on to the next idea…
“We drove this idea of small ball, and it’s a different style of play,” Lacob said Tuesday while speaking at a Stanford’s Director’s College summit. “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,” added the majority owner of the 2015 NBA champions.
The Warriors won a record 140 out of 164 games during the last two regular seasons primarily due to the “death lineup” comprising of Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, Andre Igudala, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry – the five players who were on the floor to close out games.
During the Western Conference Finals, Golden State fell to a 3-1 deficit against Oklahoma City after the Thunder countered the Warriors’ small-ball teams with an athletic five that saw Serge Ibaka play Center. The Warriors still managed to win the series but the basketball world took notice of glaring difficulties that their small-ball teams faced against the stronger, more acrobatic Thunder players.
Death Lineup definitely worked…
Despite the eventual Finals defeat to Cleveland Cavaliers, Warriors outscored opponents by 49.3 points per 100 possessions in clutch situations while fielding the “Death Lineup”. According to ESPN insider Kevin Pelton, the “Warriors’ plus-38.6 net rating in what NBA.com defines as “clutch situations” was the second-best in the NBA.com/Stats database dating back to 1996-97.”
Lackob said the Warriors have set a benchmark in the league with their use of artificial intelligence, technology and analytics. “We do a lot of data analysis from day one. We want to be the first to bring new technology. They don’t always come together, but we sit there until it does. We come to a confluence of, ‘What do we really need in this team?’”
Warriors GM Bob Myers will have his work cut out this summer. “The free agency market is like the talent market in Silicon Valley. It’s about hiring the best people and letting them do their job. I set the highest goal and pay them whatever it takes. Great people attract great people.”