Golden State Warriors Did Right By Hiring Jerry West


The Golden State Warriors didn’t always use to be a team filled with exceptional basketball minds. For much of the Chris Cohan owned era, coaches, general managers and front office executives came and went. Just as the the Warriors were the laughingstock of the NBA, so too was the front office.

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Thankfully, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the team in 2010, and a new era of competence was born. Perhaps Lacob’s greatest hire and the most obvious sign of a giant leap forward for a long suffering franchise, Jerry West was brought on board in 2011 as an executive board member and a special consultant to the general manager.

The former Laker great brought instant legitimacy to the Warriors. Having been to 17 NBA Finals with the Lakers, nine as a player and eight as a GM, West has proven time and again that he knows what it takes to be a champion. His eye for talent is unquestioned and there is an insatiable competitiveness to him that drives him everyday.

West is to a fault, hyper-competitive and afraid of failure. Listen to any of his interviews and you will find him to be concise, candid and straightforward. Ask him about his one championship as a player and he will vividly show you how disappointed he was to have fallen short in eight NBA Finals with the likes of Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain.

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Those experiences seemed to have galvanized West in his managerial career, as he has now won eight championships as a GM or consultant. Fielding the right players is obviously key to winning titles, but having the right minds in place, like West, to make those decisions, is just as influential.

His influence played a part in two of the biggest personnel decisions in the Lacob-Guber era. Knowing full well that point guard Stephen Curry would never find his full potential sharing the backcourt with former Warriors cornerstone, Monta Ellis, West and GM Bob Myers jettisoned Ellis for Andrew Bogut. Not only were the Warriors handing the keys to Curry as the face of the franchise, but they were installing a commitment to defense, which had been largely ignored in the Don Nelson era.

It was just last year that the Warriors were at odds, deciding whether Kevin Love was worth having more than Klay Thompson. The idea of a pick and pop system between Curry and Love was tantalizing for some in the Warriors’ organization, but West and others fought against giving up on Thompson.

Thompson put together his first All Star season in 2015, and it is hard to imagine the Warriors reaching the top without him. For all of Love’s offensive prowess, his inability to defend down low coupled with a void in a premiere wing defender like Thompson, may have derailed the Warriors’ title hopes.

Going back to West’s candid nature, Warriors fans have to love his buy-in to the Warriors’ success. Recently, West proclaimed that the Warriors had “much better” fans than his beloved Lakers. It may not seem like a big deal, but the fact that West is willing to put down the franchise where he is so revered, affirms his commitment to the Warriors.

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For as successful as West has been in his long NBA career, it should be comforting to Warriors fans that West is showing no signs of letting up. Successful franchises start from the top, and as long as “The Logo” is around, the Warriors and their fans should thank their lucky stars.