Remember last fall when new Warriors owner Joe Lacob, fresh off writing the biggest check in NBA history, hired his son Kirk, a 22-year-old Stanford grad, as Golden State’s Director of Basketball Operations? Just eight months later, the younger Lacob has finished his first season in professional basketball management, including a thrilling (albeit unyielding) trade deadline, the firing and hiring of a new coach and an interview with The Logo himself. This week’s draft however, might be his biggest challenge yet.
Lacob has been preparing for Thursday for months, scouting both locally and far from the Bay Area. He attended the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp, the Minnesota workouts, Euro-camp and every in-house individual session in Oakland. Although he’s barely older than the draft class he’s got his eye on, Lacob’s take on the team’s No. 11 pick holds weight in the Warriors’ front office.
“I’ve got a say,” he told Dime this week. “It’s not an end-all deal, but people will listen to my opinion. I think and hope they are growing to respect it enough that it will enter into their mind.”
Lacob might be fresh meat in the league, but when it comes to Golden State’s draft approach, he is preaching the same adage heard around the NBA year after year: take the best player on the board.
“Our draft strategy is that we need to accumulate talent,” he said. “We’re not a good enough team yet, that we need a missing piece. We just need talent, so we’re going to take the guy that is the best player available.”
The tactic is acceptable, if not sensible, on any other team. But take into account the laundry list of first-round flops under the Warriors’ belt over the last several years (see Patrick O’Bryant, Ike Diogu and Brandan Wright), paired with a severe need for defense and rebounding in Oakland, and talk of straying from addressing those needs is enough to make any Golden State fan mistrust the new regime.
“We’re very aware of that,” Lacob said. “I don’t look at the most talented player available as the guy who scores 20 a game. If it’s a guy like Chris Singleton, who averaged 13 points and seven rebounds, his value does not lie on the offensive end…I think that’s one guy that could be pretty good. I’m not saying that he’s at the top of our list, but he’s a guy we would really consider.”
The direction of this week’s labor meetings will help in determining whether the Warriors’ eventual pick sees any playing time come November. While he wouldn’t go into specifics, Lacob seemed confident that a lockout could be avoided.
“I’m an optimistic person. I do think that when all is said and done, the right people will get things done,” he said. “I don’t think that the NBA is going to mess this one up. When June 30 rolls around, you’ll see a much better Warriors team on paper…You’ll see, whenever everything is solved, a Warriors team that is very prepared to act quickly and take advantage of whatever new rules there are.”
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