Q&A with Ray Ratto
Warriorsworld.net hooked up with SF Chronicle Staff Writer Ray Ratto to get his thoughts on the Warriors ownership/management group.
If you were to script an ownership group's tenure, could you possibly script it worst than the reality of the Cohan regime?
I think we all fall into the trap of thinking our worst guy is worse than any other area's worst guy. But just to make a list, I think the Clippers are probably as bad (and the owner seems to be a worse guy), the Washington Nationals are certainly awful, the Phoenix Coyotes are bankrupt and trying to move to another city. The Raiders are, well, the Raiders. But if it helps, the Cohan regime would be in the team photo.
Do you feel that the Warriors inept ownership/management doesn't get enough heat because they're in a market surrounded by teams with equally if not worse management?
I think it's hard to hammer them much more than we already do, in part because their fans have been as stridently loyal as they have. There comes a point where beating them up almost becomes tedious when (a) it's typically the same failings year and year out and saying the same thing repeatedly only loses the audience, and (b) that there don't seem to be aggrieved parties, as in angry fans. I think that may be changing now, but we won't know until we see where season ticket and attendance figures sit next year. If most people still love the Warriors more than they are outraged by them after these 15 years, one has to wonder if there is anything the team coluld do to lose their allegiance.
When was the last time the media had access to talk to Cohan? Least accessible and most hidden owner in sports?
Years ago, at least more than a decade ago by my reckoning. But there's Dan Snyder with the Redskins, Don Sterling (again) with the Clippers, the Wilpons and Dolans in New York, Bill Bidwill in Arizona. There's a lot of competition.
With the latest PR blunder, are the Warriors more worried about business/perception than they are about putting a winning product on the court? Do they take advantage of their fans and take them for granted?
It's probably a safe inference to make. I think it's always dangerous to assume that a franchise doesn't want to win because of all the benefits that come from winning, but I think they are also fraught with internal issues and shortcomings that get in the way of a smooth and successful operation. History suggests that the Warriors have had only a few years where they had more tickets than fans in the Cohan era, so maybe they do take them for granted, but the fans love basketball so much that they often buy the tickets just so they don't get shut out of the Kobe, LeBron, Dwayne Wade, etc., games. As for taking advantage of them, they charge what they think the market will bear, and until people start walking away, they'll assume that the market will bear more.
Chris Mullin a man who did so much for this organization throughout his career both as a player and executive, was ousted in a very disrspectful manner, do you feel it was a Rowell v Mullin decision and Cohan went with his trusted buddy Rowell?
My own sense is that Rowell knows what Cohan wants, where he wants to go and what he's thinking, and if he ever forgot that or got too far ahead of Cohan's thinking he'd be fired as well. I think Cohan expressed his unhappiness with Mullin at some point in the past two years, and Rowell knew which way he needed to tack to retain his place of power and influence. He is a superb politician if nothing else.
What are your top 5 moves/moments under the Cohan regime?
1. Settling the Nelson-Chris Webber problem by getting rid of both of them within weeks of each other.
2. Dave Twardzik
3. Baron Davis
4. Making the Monta Ellis problem a public rather than a private fight
5. Agreeing to bring back Nelson after suing him
Is there any chance of turning this thing around under the current ownership/management group?
I have always said no, but that's probably a kneejerk reaction to the events of the past 15 years. But I am profoundly pessimistic about such a thing occurring without Cohan doing what he actually did when he hired Mullin, which was to get out of the way for awhile and letting the people he hired do their jobs without interference. Maybe a few hours with Wally Haas asking him how his father ran the A's would be helpful, but then again, he's had a decade and a half to show curiosity about his responsibilities as an owner and hasn't changed much, so I doubt that will happen.
Nelson is on the verge of becoming the winningest coach in NBA history with that being said how bad was the blatant tank job he pulled during the tail end of last season?
I'm not sure what he was tanking to get; the draft looks weak, so there's no tangible benefit there. Maybe he wanted to clean out the roster by dispiriting the veterans (like Jamal Crawford) and start from scratch, but in this market nobody is giving up sure money for the open market. Maybe he was just disgusted in general with the roster. In short, I don't fully understand what the up-side to tanking was, so I wonder if maybe he wasn't just and sick and tired of the team and the season.
Thoughts on Larry Riley as GM? A Nellie puppet?
My impression is that he would never have gotten this job anywhere else, which I suspect was also true of Mullin when he was hired. That doesn't mean Riley couldn't be good but the evidence for such an argument is pretty thin at this point. As for whether he is a Nelson puppet, I think the general manager's job is not viewed as being terribly important in the Warriors' organizational table, so I suspect he will make any decision that Nelson or Rowell don't care about. I don't know that that makes him a puppet, though. I think it makes him an employee, and that's probably the better and kinder way to view it.
Visit warriorsworld.net? Any words to the fans?
I read a lot of sites for general information and tone, but I also know that the audience on most one-team sites is usually comprised of true believers who have a view of their team that's very hard to shift, so I take them with a grain of salt and curiosity that maybe there are different and fresh takes on the team. Nothing wrong with a little learning every now and then. As for the fans . . . I guess since I doubt that times will get better any time soon, I would say only that you shouldn't judge your brethren harshly. If you are a ticket buyer and the fan next to you decides not to be, don't judge them any more dismissively than if you give up your tickets and the fan next to you keeps his. I imagine it's hard enough standing with this team without turning on each other. In short, remember that there's no such thing as a fair-weather fan, especially in this economy and with this track record.
And thank you. Keep the faith in whatever way suits you best.