Committed, Talented but Hindered
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
Henry Ford was a pretty smart guy.
Even though his cars are terrible now, he did introduce the Model T to the world and thus revolutionized the automobile industry forever.
The “coming together” that Ford speaks about occurred last off-season for the Golden State Warriors, as Bob Myers was hired as de facto GM in waiting as Larry Riley held on to the title for one last, long, coin flip ridden season.
The “keeping together” happened when Myers was officially hired as GM this past off-season. The 36 year old former UCLA player and Wasserman Media Group agent was given the keys to a franchise very much in flux both on and off the court.
Now, as his first off-season as Warriors GM has pretty much come to a close — Dominic McGuire is still out there, Bob — we see the “working together is success” part evolving. A very promising start for a young GM and first major front office hire from the Lacob regime.
When news first came that Bob Myers was brought on board, the praise was evident. His former head coach at UCLA Jim Harrick had this to say of the hire:
“He has the three ingredients that I look for in a human being. He can communicate his thoughts and ideas to others. He has undying work ethic. He was a B student with an A character, rather than an A student with B character. He has the total package.”
You almost expect this type of praise from someone so closely associated with Myers, hoping to latch on to the hype just in case Myers turns into the next Mitch Kupchack. Regardless, Warriors fans are starting to see this “total package” that Harrick and others have used to describe the new GM.
In his first off-season as sole GM of the team, Myers drafted Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green. He managed to swing Dorell Wright to Philadelphia in a three team trade that ended with Jarrett Jack coming to the Bay. He re-signed Brandon Rush and ended the off-season with signing Carl Landry.
In other words, he filled every available need with the given finances and provided the Warriors with their deepest team in years. For once, the Warriors off-season isn’t filled with the off court drama, front office combustion or offer sheet question marks. Myers showed a keen sense of competency and patience, traits formerly unbeknown to the Warriors front office.
Of course, this season’s success still hinges on the limbs of Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut. So, while the team isn’t built for a championship yet (the Heat will repeat), the fundamental basis for a successful NBA team is in place.
Motivated owner, competent GM, trusted advisors and a solidified talent pool will give the Warriors balance both on and off the court this season. The biggest concern: head coach. In between Facetime sessions, picture messages and preaching, Mark Jackson is still the head coach of this team. Besides injuries, the sole reason why this team wouldn’t make the playoffs is the head coach.
While Bob Myers was on staff when that hire was made, it was very much an ownership decision. He was a name worth turning (or shaking) your head at. Psychologically sound but technically lost, Jackson has the makeup of a more well known Keith Smart. The players seem to like their coach, but if the losses pile up expect Jackson to be on another crusade sooner rather than later.
The concerns for Mark Jackson are two-fold: on one hand, he was given a mediocre lineup at the beginning of last season followed by a D-League roster to close out his first ever campaign as head coach. But now, with a true center, a “healthy” Stephen Curry and a deep bench, what can Mark Jackson do? This team now has expectations — not opening press conference expectations — from fans and experts that have the Warriors very much in the mix for a mid-late playoff seed.
For once, the Warriors are steady. Not necessarily in the literal sense — Curry and Bogut are far from steady entities — but from a front office and “on paper” talent standpoint. They are in no way perfect, but they’re admirable. Only fools think this team is championship caliber, but at least they have a caliber that doesn’t pertain to “lottery” and “last place.”
This is a great start to the Bob Myers campaign: savvy moves while keeping a clear sense of sanity. The idea of your team being held together by Curry and Bogut are in no way sane, but it isn’t insane either. “If healthy” will be a popular meme this season, but it’s a lot better than “if we only had talent.”