Quick Hits with Adrian Wojnarowski
How are the Warriors perceived league wide? Give us a National perspective on the Warriors.
I think that most people view them as a franchise that’s wasted a lot of opportunity, a lot of talent and a tremendous NBA market with the incompetence of its ownership and and management. They’ve had so many starts and stops over the last 15 years in that franchise, so many wasted chances to really build a sustainable contender. I’m not sure there’s a more loyal fan base in the NBA, but I know this: There isn’t a more forgiving fanbase than the Warriors. They’ve put up with so much foolery and keep coming and supporting that franchise. It’s truly remarkable. The Bay Area may be the most unappreciated basketball market in the NBA.
With news recently of Chris Cohan finally moving forward with selling the team, how would you describe the Cohan era as Warriors owner?
A complete, utter failure. As much as anything, it’s been a clinic in how you don’t run a franchise. He fostered a culture where incompetence was rewarded, where the good people were constantly undermined. This is one of those places where new ownership just needs to clean house, scrub everything from top to bottom. They need a re-set button in Golden State.
The Warriors are one of the most sensitive teams in the NBA in regards to their reaction on what’s said or written about them. Is that a directly attributed of the ownership/management, i.e Chris Cohan and Robert Rowell?
That’s what incompetent people do. They’re always obsessed with controlling the perception of things, and not changing the reality of them. When you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re determined to convince everyone you do. This is a result business. That’s how you’re judged. No one wants to hear their excuses anymore, or about their big plans.
Lots of rumors out there about potential buyers with Larry Ellison being the most prominent name. What do you think Ellison can bring to the franchise to turn it around? Should fans be rooting for Ellison to become the new Owner?
He certainly will bring some of the deepest pockets out there, and he’s obviously been a great visionary in his life. But I don’t think you’re ever really sure how that translates into running a sports franchise. Sometimes, these guys lose all the principles that made them successful in other walks of life, once they take over a team. That said, you have to admire his doggedness to buy the Warriors. He’s worked a long time to try and get them, and now he’s close. Obviously, he’s given a lot of thought to how he’ll run an a pro sports franchise. This is certainly no whim.
What’s your take on the Don Nelson’s coaching job this past season? How likely is it to see Nellie not return next season?
Nellie will only be back if ownership is still in place. I can’t imagine someone paying half a billion dollars for the Warriors, and keeping that short-termer on the job. Nellie has the record, and now he just wants the rest of money. Then, he can just go back to Maui and call it a career. I would think the only way he comes back is if there hasn’t been an ownership change yet.
As for the season, it was the kind of team he loved: no expectations, and thus, his D-Leaguer All-Stars played pretty well late in the year. But he was responsible for the gutting of this team, and the fans were stuck with the consequences of it.
Stephen Curry has had a phenomenal rookie season and transitioned into the face of the franchise. What’s your take on Curry’s rookie season? Can he and Monta play in the same back-court on a successful team?
He’s a tremendous talent. Curry is going to be an All-Star in the league. Thankfully for him he won’t have to endure a lousy, losing career under the current regime. He’ll be a keeper for whoever takes over here. As for Ellis and him, I do think they can co-exist, but I would think Ellis will eventually be traded for some help in the frontline.
Warriors with a potential top pick coming in this year’s draft, John Wall or Evan Turner, who’s the better fit on the Warriors?
I really don’t know who the better pro prospect is. I didn’t watch enough college basketball this year. Most NBA guys tell me Wall is a can’t-miss. If you have the No. 1 pick, you could always trade down if someone else really wants Wall. I don’t think you draft with need, as much as you do the best player on the board. It puts you in a position to deal and parlay into more.
New Ownership, a high draft pick and the return of some of their injured players, can Warrior fans be optimistic about the future? Can they turn this thing around in a hurry?
It’s the perpetual state of the Warriors. You’re going to have a lot of good young players if you’re always drafting in the lottery. This franchise needs leadership and stability. Nothing can be built here until they get it. They need a strong president, GM and coach. They need a management structure that has never existed under Cohan. I sure hope they do with a new owner.
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