May 27, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors co-owners Joe Lacob (left) and Peter Guber (right) after game five of the Western Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Rockets 104-90 to advance to the NBA Finals. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Joe,

In February (AKA a championship ago) I wrote an open letter to your son Kirk about the future of this franchise I so love. Perhaps you read it, perhaps not. If not, no worries, the cost of your time is exponentially higher than mine. Now, I want to write directly to you. My message is both simple and 1,000 words long, but here’s the elevator pitch: thanks.

-== Top 11 Steph Curry Moments Of His Career ==-

The relationship between a fan and their team’s owner is somewhat odd. For many of us, the Warriors are like a family member. For all the downs we’ve experienced, at the core of our fan to team relationship is a feeling of love. When a rookie correctly identifies a backdoor cut, we share in their jubilation. When an out of position referee incorrectly calls a foul on us, we add to the voices of frustration. Many of us have grown up with the Warriors. After dinner, we would move from the table to the couch to spend two and a half hours with our second family -the Dubs.

Jun 16, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) celebrates with Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob and the Larry O'Brien Trophy after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game six of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Usually in life you entrust things you love -like honorary family members-, to people you have confidence in -people you trust. Sports are different. You don’t get a choice in the matter. Your team’s at the mercy of an owner you don’t know; someone you don’t know if you can trust. At the beginning, I didn’t know if I could trust you. To be perfectly honest, I was a bit disappointed Larry Ellison didn’t buy the team because that dude could go over the luxury tax for a decade and it’d still probably cost less than his Hawaii island. But, my initial misgivings were misplaced.

You’ve resurrected us from the monotony of mere existence, to the vividly beautiful life of actually mattering in the NBA. You even went one step further than that: you (and many other people) brought us a title.

But, I’m a fan and as such my role in this franchise is to be constantly worried about something -a lifetime of losing will do that to you. In true Bay Area fashion, I’m worried that you’ll stop innovating. It’s like the Warriors just IPOed. Our leading equity owners and key players are the toast of the industry, and experiencing a peak in value. But, we mustn’t forget what got us here: disrupting the NBA.

What do I mean by this Silicon Valley buzzword “disruption”? Well, look at what won us this title.

  • Capitalizing on the exceedingly high value of three-pointers.
  • Disabling opposing offenses with a revolutionary defense built on switching screens -on ball and off ball- at a highly elevated rate.
  • Embracing continuity in an era when teams are quick to “blow it up” after a disappointing season. Specifically, last summer, a move which will likely go down as one of the best non-trades in NBA history.
  • Exploiting the market inefficiency that’s assistant coaches. You employed the highest paid coaching staff in the league this year. If you’d succumbed to employing a market average staff of assistants, Bogut may never have been switched onto Tony Allen in Memphis, and Iggy may have never been moved to the bench during the regular season or back into the starting lineup during the Finals.
  • Recognizing the enormous benefits of resting players, and supporting that theory with the hard data; specifically, using wearable tech during practice and as Tom Haberstroh’s latest piece uncovered, developing an algorithm to help predict player injuries.
  • Finally, recognizing that organizational decisions made by the collective whole, are inherently stronger than those made by one individual at the top. This is one differentiating factor the Warriors can maintain for years, because it’s about ego; putting that ego aside and embracing the simple concept that the best idea wins the debate.

Some of these title winning innovations weren’t originally the idea of the Warriors, but that’s also the point: having the humility to say “they do it better and we should adopt that practice” is just as powerful as being the originator of the concept.

Jun 16, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) kisses the Larry O'Brien Trophy after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game six of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe the next NBA innovation will be having a coach permanently watching from the press box and relaying observations NFL style*, or maybe it’s keeping players with foul trouble in the game at a significantly higher frequency than opponents**, or maybe it’s countering current NBA trends and posting up more often.

*It’s entirely likely that this currently isn’t allowed yet.

**I’m almost always in favor of doing this. Saddling a player with an unusually long break from the game can remove them from their rhythm, thus decreasing their value when they finally re-enter. Also, late game points don’t hold a higher value than points in the first three quarters of the game. I dislike sacrificing a part of the game which matters (when the score’s close), for a part of game in which the outcome may already be decided. 

We’ll win the next decade not by resting on our laurels, but because we innovated. Just look at the Spurs. 17 years ago the Spurs won a title with suffocating defense and a post obsessed offense. Nine years ago the Spurs won with a free flowing offense in which Duncan relinquished some control to Parker and Ginóbili. Last year the Spurs won a title by bombing threes and realizing the necessity of a long wing defender (Kawhi).

The great franchises -like the great tech companies- are always looking for that next trend, that next basketball innovation. As the visionary of this beloved franchise, every day you should be pondering what’s going to be that next thing in basketball.

The good news is, in searching for that next innovation you can afford to fail. Well, you can afford to fail quickly. You’ve got the players, coaches, and front office in place to explore new things and still succeed in the meantime.

“Basketball innovation” or “disrupting basketball” sounds like an odd concept, but I believe it’ll define whether the Warriors are a real dynasty for the next decade, or just a team that exploited a couple strategies and was quickly reeled in by the rest of the league.

You’ve exceeded every hope I had when you took over four years, seven months, and three days ago. You do the little things right. You always get back to your seat before the second half starts, and aren’t too cool to wear a playoff t-shirt.

I and all of Dub Nation now trust you with our beloved Warriors.

Thanks for the championship and remember to keep innovating.

A thankful fan,