Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors! On Monday night, the NBA’s version of Godzilla rose up and devoured the Cleveland Cavaliers again to win this year’s crown by a four games to one margin. The same two teams have now faced-off for the NBA Championship for three consecutive years with Golden State now owning a 2-1 advantage. Will these two teams meet yet again in 2018?
Predictably, the sports media is in overdrive trying to figure out how the other 29 teams in the NBA can defeat this Golden State juggernaut next season and beyond. The whiners believe that the winners must have cheated their way to the top. Can’t the NBA add new rules to prevent these so-called super-teams like Golden State and Cleveland from beating-up on the other teams every season?
Let’s take a closer look at how these obviously sneaky and evil Golden State Warriors moved their way to the top of the NBA.
Of the Warrior’s starting five, two players were selected in the first round (Stephen Curry – 7th overall pick in 2009 and Klay Thompson – 11th overall in 2011) while Draymond Green was drafted in the second round (35th pick overall in 2012). The other two starters were drafted by other teams and came via free agency. The center, Zaza Pachulia, was a second round pick in 2003 and had already played for five other NBA teams. The final starter, Kevin Durant, was a first round pick (2nd overall selection by Seattle/OKC in 2007) and came to Golden State last year via free agency in search of a championship ring (gasp – how selfish of him!).
In summary – three draft picks by Golden State, a 14-year NBA journeyman center, and a high-profile (and high scoring) free agent signee. That’s it.
By tragic comparison, this year’s worst team, the Brooklyn Nets, has drafted 30 players in the first and second rounds since the year 2000. Only one player (Brook Lopez – 10th overall pick in 2008) remains on the roster. Most of the other 29 picks? Gone. Like, out-of-the-league gone.
Get your pencil ready for one of the secrets! Draft good players, develop those good players, and keep those good players.
But wait! Who drafted these players? Yes, the team’s ownership, general manager, and coaches all help to make those draft/hiring decisions.
From 1994 through 2011, the Golden State Warriors epitomized losing. Only one playoff team in 17 years.
Fortunately for Warriors fans, an infusion of new ownership (Joe Lacob) bought the franchise in 2010. Lacob, who made his fortune working with a venture capital investing firm, also learned the NBA ropes as a part-owner of the Boston Celtics from 2006-2010. The new owner hired a new general manager, Bob Myers, in 2011 and the current head coach, Steve Kerr, was brought in to lead the team in 2014. Kerr was a former NBA player with seven championship rings (five in Chicago and two with San Antonio) and had most recently been the general manager with the Phoenix Suns. No NBA head coaching experience!
In summary, the Golden State Warriors now have a motivated owner with a history of business success who wants to build and maintain a winner. He hired a general manager who drafted talented and unselfish players. Then, a bright head coach with seven championship rings was added to help guide a talented group of players on how to play unselfishly and to win championships.
All of this was done within the current rules of the NBA’s salary constraints.
OK, these aren’t really secrets. San Antonio has known this for twenty years (with five championships). And Boston is learning quickly.
Pick a business – any business. A company/organization/team with great management which empowers its employees to succeed usually rises to the top year after year. Warren Buffett has been buying companies with those same qualities for decades. Buffett wisely leaves the management team alone to keep doing the same thing and continue to build more profits and value.
So, sports fans. Watch your favorite team’s ownership, the GM and coaches, and the annual player drafts very carefully. The consistently good teams will select the type of players (skills and character) which best fit their system. And, like a good business, they usually keep winning. Year after year after year!