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Owners' Box: Joe Lacob Answers Fan Questions - 4/12/11


Fans are encouraged to send questions to OwnersBox@gs-warriors.com. All questions will be read and we will answer as many as we can, so check back for updates throughout the season.



Tuesday, April 12 (2:05 p.m.)

Joe Lacob Answers Fan Questions

Mr. Lacob/Mr. Guber,

Hello, first off I'd like to thank and congratulate you for not only purchasing the Warriors, but also for making it your passion to return our team to prominence.

I write this e-mail while watching the game against Denver and what jumps off of the screen is the uniforms. I feel the throwback logo and uniforms the team is wearing should be our primary uniform instead of the new ones we normally wear this season.

Let's face it, when you look at the great teams throughout history, the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics, Knicks, etc, rarely do they change the look of their uniforms and maybe only add a tweak here or there. Throughout time these logos are synonymous with both history and success. The Warriors need to stay with a look which reminds fans of our history and success, yet also prepares for our future; I believe this look is the uniform from tonight's (2/9) game.

My suggestion is to have these uniforms in a home white, road blue, and the gold which they're wearing tonight as an alternate. I know I've rambled a bit and I apologize, but as a lifelong fan I wanted to send my thoughts your way. Plus, I know you guys are great about responding to fans.

Again, thanks for embarking on the journey to transform our team and I hope to hear from you.

Sincerely,

Scott Smith

ANSWER:
Thanks, Scott, for the e-mail. Like you, I enjoyed the games in February when we wore the jerseys from the 1974-75 Championship season. I think the Warriors have been fortunate to have a few nice jerseys and logos over the years, including the popular City jersey/logo during the early days in San Francisco and the one you speak about with the star above Northern California.

Prior to this season, the Warriors completely changed their branding (logos/jerseys). As noted in a previous Owners Box discussion, it is a two-year process, at minimum, when teams change their logos and jerseys before they are actually implemented and introduced. Any team hoping to change their logos today would not be able to do so again until the 2012-13 season, at the earliest.

Our new logo and jerseys have been very well accepted by the majority of our fans. Weve had an extremely positive response to the change.

I do agree with your assessment about keeping with tradition, as teams such as the Lakers and Celtics have done over many successful years. Its up to us now to build that tradition for a new era of Warriors basketball.

I do appreciate your feedback and comments. Please keep them coming.

Regards,

Joe





Well thanks for telling us youre going to make a big splash and bold moves, and then doing nothing. We fans are so sick of getting told one thing by the front office and then having another done!

A 2012 second-round pick is all we got. You have got to be kidding me! The warriors just lost another fan (me), and I will stop going to games and buying merchandise from now on. We deserve better!

ANSWER:
Thanks for the e-mail. I appreciate the passion.

As I noted in an earlier e-mail, we were extremely aggressive at the trade deadline, but, unfortunately, we were unable to consummate a deal. We were very close.

When I indicated that we will be bold, that was probably, in my mind, one of the best words to describe my philosophy in moving into this new position. I think that description will prove to be fairly accurate if you look back 10 years from now on my first decade of ownership. BOLD. AGGRESSIVE. ACTIVE. Choose any of those adjectives. However, as I touched on earlier, that does not mean that we will be successful every time we try to be bold and aggressive. We will not be able to make every trade that we propose or trade up for every draft pick that we covet. We have to be ready to strike WHEN the opportunity presents itself and do what we can to create those opportunities. We will do that. I think that will prove to be our M.O. over time, not just a short sample size of three, four or five months.

In regards to the second round pick in 2012, I was willing to take on additional salary (Troy Murphy) if we could acquire a second round draft pick. I believe that draft picks are a valuable commodity.

Regards,

Joe





To Joe and Peter,

I read the "Articles of Agreement." Do you make this promise to just your season ticket holders or to all your fans? Because honestly, since you two have taken over the Warriors you look like you have just cared what your season ticket holders say and not the rest of your fans who cant make all of the games.

Stephen

ANSWER:
Thanks, Stephen, for the e-mail.

The basis of the Articles of Agreement was to convey to our fans season ticket holders and non-season ticket holders that we are changing the expectations for this team and this organization. We are raising the bar, for everyone from the basketball side to the business side. Peter and I expect this team and this organization to be better than the standards of the past, especially on the court, where it matters the most. We expect to be better and our fans deserve better results, regardless of how many games they may or may not attend.

I can assure you that we care about all fans, whether they attend 41 games, 10 games or zero games a season. That is why I try to spend time having dialog with everyone, not just season ticket holders, via this Owners Box, at games, on the radio or any other method of communication. Everyone has a voice and if we are a better basketball team, everyone benefits you, me, the season ticket holders and the non-season ticket holders. These new expectations are intended to have a positive impact on our entire fan base.

Regards,

Joe





Gentlemen,

Watching Warriors games is worse than watching Giants games. They took on the "torture" slogan because every game they were in it and barley shaking out 2-1 and 3-2 games. The Warriors, while point value might not show, are there too. I attended the Clippers game down south and the game made me sick to watch. We literally could not come down with a rebound when if it fell in one of our guys laps.

I know we play a fast tempo of basketball and it puts fans in the seats and gives us the ability to play with a better structured team because they have to adjust. But we will never go anywhere without getting boards. This issue needs to be resolved. I love Warriors basketball and whether we are 1-81 or 81-1, I attend as many games as my schedule and deployments allow. We have a good fan base and the excitement in Oracle to harness an amazing Stoudemire talent, and Im aware we went after him a couple years back. But we will continue to play sub-.500 ball if boards are not pulled. When something does not work in the military, its not an option to play it out and see what happens. Actions are taken immediately until the desired effects are met. Aggressive play and front office work will go a long way. I understand youre feeling out the position and a lot of money is on the line, but live a little, we only got one life.

ANSWER:
Thanks for the e-mail. And, thanks for serving our country. You are the real hero.

I share the same pain with you in regards to our rebounding. I know and Larry Riley and Keith Smart know that if we are going to improve as a team, we need to become a better rebounding team and a better defensive team. Period. We all know this and will continue to search for ways to improve in these areas. Unfortunately, when you are a poor rebounding team, your defense has to work extra hard and that puts the entire team on its heels. Its a lose-lose situation.

I do believe we can get better. Rebounding will continue to be a point of emphasis during the off-season. As you noted, its been too long and a constant problem for the Warriors in recent years. Its hard to be that running, fast-breaking team that you alluded to when you dont have the ball. We must get better in this area.

Regards,

Joe





Hello Mr. Lacob and Mr. Guber,

My Name is Annegret and I am originally from Germany. My family and I follow almost every Warriors game on TV or sometimes we take my two boys (7 and 9 years old), who are avid basketball players, to Oracle Arena.

Unlike in the US, in Europe, you see more sports club owners at the games, so I appreciate seeing you at the games, because it is good for the morale of the team and the fans having a sports interested owner.

Thank you,

Annegret Bell

ANSWER:
Thanks for the e-mail Annegret.

One of the reasons I purchased a professional sports team is because of my love for sports, especially the NBA. At the core, I am a fan, just like you. I thoroughly enjoy being at the games, cheering on the Warriors, experiencing the highs and lows and absorbing the atmosphere. When I was in high school and college, I sold peanuts for the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium. I love the feeling of being at the arena and the stadium. Its just who I am.

Also, as you noted, I think it is good not only for our players, but for our fans to see that I care and that Im approachable at games. That will never change.

I hope to see you at Oracle Arena at some point. Thanks for the support.

Regards,

Joe





Dear Mr. Lacob,

I love the Warriors and am certainly grateful for the new ownership, but the way the team is run is sending an inconsistent message to the fans and, I imagine, the players. You say and I agree that the team shouldn't jeopardize its long-term future with a trade just to make the playoffs this year.

But Keith Smart coaches in just the opposite way. Instead of giving consistent minutes to Ekpe Udoh and Jeremy Lin to see how much they might be able to contribute to this team which could affect next year's draft and free agent moves Smart has a haphazard substitution pattern that I'm sure really screws with a player's confidence. I understand it from Smart's standpoint if he feels pressure to make the playoffs this year or lose his job, but you seem to have a situation that works against the long-term interests of the team.

Dave Murphy

ANSWER:
Thanks for the e-mail, Dave.

You have some interesting observations as it relates to winning now and building for the future. In a perfect world, we can accomplish both, but that is not always possible.

There is real delicate balance between the two scenarios. On one hand, it would be a good thing to make the playoffs and establish immediate credibility for a team; on the other hand, you also want to make the right decisions for your organization for the long run, whether that means pursing potential trade opportunities or developing the young players on the roster.

Looking back on this season, the team was playing pretty well around the All-Star break and we had a chance of making a run for the playoffs, hence the reliance on the veteran, more established players. As we got deeper into the season, I think youve seen a more concerted effort to get some of the players that you spoke about primarily Ekpe Udoh more playing time, especially with the injury to Andris Biedrins.

I would certainly agree that having a good sample size to evaluate these young players as we enter the off-season would be beneficial. It would leave us with more answers than questions, rather than vice versa. Thats important. And, based on the final several weeks of the season, I do think that well be prepared to enter the off-season with a better understanding of exactly where our young players stand.

Regards,

Joe





I'm a die-hard Warriors fan living here in Utah and I attended the Warriors-Jazz game on Feb. 16 in Salt Lake City. Even though the two of you have owned the team for a brief amount of time, I was sort of curious as to how many Warrior fans you meet that live outside of the Bay Area.

Also, since Jeremy Lin spent a sizeable portion of this season in the D-League, I wanted to know specifically how franchises, not just the Warriors, use the D-league. Is it used more for when a player gets injured and a roster spot needs to be filled (similar to a baseball team calling someone up from AAA)? Additionally, does Lin have a more permanent place on the roster in the future?

Anyway, as a lifelong fan of this team now living in another NBA city, I hope I can speak for more than just myself when I say that what you've done so far with this team makes us all proud to not only be Warriors fans, but Bay Area sports fans in general. Thanks for reading and I can't wait for the future.

Sincerely,

Tyler Kimball
Salt Lake City, Utah

ANSWER:
Thanks, Tyler, for the e-mail. I hope you enjoyed the game in Salt Lake City several weeks ago. It was a very good win for our team, especially in a building that is never easy for visiting teams.

I travel with the team on the road for many games and I do bump into a good number of fans. We dont have the following of the Celtics, Lakers or Knicks away from home, but we do have our share of support in other cities. I think this is probably the result of many Bay Area residents moving to other parts of the county and, possibly, the result of our style of play. Fans seem to like it.

In regards to the D-League, we think it is a valuable tool at our disposal for our young players and can certainly aid in their development. In the case of someone like Jeremy Lin, who was not getting much playing time with our squad, we thought it would be beneficial for him to obtain some much-needed experience and playing time with Reno. It is probably better for him to play 30 minutes a night for the Bighorns as opposed to very limited minutes or no minutes at all - with the Warriors. Jeremy is in a situation where he needs to play. Reno was a perfect place to provide him that opportunity.

Under NBA rules, a player like Jeremy can only be sent to the D-League on three occasions during the season (his rookie or second year only). When we called him up most recently in late March, it meant that he was staying with our team for the remainder of the 2010-11 campaign. Three times maximum in one season.

Unlike Major League Baseball, the D-League is not an option to send veteran players as they rehab from injuries. The rules state that ONLY players in their rookie year or second year in the NBA can be assigned to a D-League team.

I hope that answers your questions.

Regards,

Joe





Mr. Lacob,

First off, congratulations for taking over the team! I've been a fan of the Warriors since the Run TMC days in the early 90s, supporting them through thick and thin, mostly thin. Although this team hasn't been that great in terms of on-court success in the past couple decades, we do have a very rich history as one of the original teams when the NBA was first started in 1947 (along with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks). One of the things that bothered me in the past (along with all the losing) was that it didn't seem that the organization as a whole really liked to acknowledge the past.

The Hardwood Classics is something that I really enjoy every year and it helps me get in touch with the rich history of this team as a fan. I loved how the team commemorated Rick Barry during the Nuggets game earlier this season, but are there any plans to do more of the same? Maybe hiring Rick Barry in some sort of consulting position in the front office. Perhaps retiring Chris Mullin's jersey? He may not have won a title for the Warriors (not very many have), but he was our franchise player for a very long time, he loved playing here, and he spent the majority of his career here putting up huge numbers for us on great teams in the early 90s and on not-so-great teams in the late 90s for us. He will forever be a Warrior and I think he deserves to have his #17 jersey hanging in the rafters at Oracle Arena along with the other Warrior greats.

Having more of these great former Warriors more involved with the team is something that should be something that is taken into account. If you want us to be as great as the Lakers or the Celtics, take an idea out of their book and get these former Warriors more involved with the current team. It's great for both the organization and the fans. Here's to many great years ahead of us, Mr. Lacob!

Terrence

ANSWER:
Thanks for the e-mail, Terrence. I agree with many of your sentiments in regards to embracing our history, whether that means occasional celebrations of the past or a working relationship with former players or coaches (such as Al Attles). As you noted, many of the longest-tenured teams (Lakers, Celtics, Knicks) have done a very good job in this regard. I think our celebration of Hardwood Classics Month in February, when we honored members of the 1975 Championship team (Rick Barry, Al Attles, Franklin Mieuli, Jamaal Wilkes, Clifford Ray, etc.), was a step in the right direction. It is always fun to see the players and coaches from the past and it is certainly a good way to celebrate tradition.

As we move forward, I would very much be in favor of continuing this process. At this time, we do not have any plans etched in stone for the remainder of this season, but for example, the retiring of Chris Mullins jersey is something that we definitely want to pursue as soon as next season. I think that is important. The players that you mentioned Rick Barry and Chris Mullin were terrific players for the Warriors and certainly mean a great deal to this franchise. They provided our fans with incredible memories over the years and will always be a part of the fabric of this organization.

Thanks,

Joe





Hello Joe,

I am a 25-year season ticket holder...been through it all...still love my Warriors. But wanted to take a look over the past decade to see what our draft days netted the team...who we drafted and who we missed on (players that were selected AFTER our pick).

Of course no team hits on all of their picks, we could have had Michael Jordan...but were all tired of talking about that pick that got away. But I contend that few other teams do as poorly as the Warriors with regard to our scouting and draft picking no matter where we sit in the pecking order on draft day.

Lets have a look backward...only to try to make sure we do better in the future.

2001 We took Jason Richardson, passed on Joe Johnson and Richard Jefferson, also took Troy Murphy, passed on Zach Randolph, Tony Parker

2002 Took Dunleavy, passed on Drew Gooden, Amare Stodemire, Caron Butler, Prince(Detroit)

2003 Took Mickael Pietrus, passed on David West

2004 Took A. Biedrins, passed on Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson, Kevin Martin

2005 Took Diogu, passed on Danny Granger, David Lee, Andrew Bynum

2006 Took O'Bryant, passed on Rajon Rondo, J.J. Redick

2007 Took M. Belinelli from Italy, passed on Aaron Brooks, Tiago Splitter, Aaron Afflalo

2008 Took A. Randolph, passed on Robin Lopez, JaVale McGee, J.J. Hickson, Ryan Anderson, George Hill

2009 Took Curry (that was great)

From the above list, only Curry and maybe Richardson are 1st round "hits" and the best draft pick in a decade was our favorite 2nd rounder, Monta Ellis.

So how's this for a hindsight roster:

Center/Power Forward: Stoudemire, Jefferson, West, McGee, Lee,
Strong Forward: Granger, Afflalo,
Shooting Guard: Johnson (or Richardson), Ellis, Curry,
Point Guard: Rondo, Parker

This is of course a make-believe roster as the salaries would make it impossible. But it's nice to dream and it does show how the possibilities to build a playoff team...even a championship team...are there at every turn if we make the right decisions. Of course you never know if Mike Dunleavy is going to be the next Scottie Pippen...or if Biedrins is going to be the next Bill Russell...because strange things do happen...and people surprise you. But just like a business...you are as good as the people you choose to support you...choose wrong and the company suffers...it doesnt matter what the reasons are.

We need to do better at scouting talent and work on developing that talent once we get them here. We in the past have allowed our talented draft picks to just ride the bench for too long...as if we just dont trust them with the ball and with minutes...and we pay millions per year for these players...we better get something for the money other than splinters on the butt and then sprained ankles from practices.

Lets find the best basketball minds that have the best nose for talent...and after the next decade, lets have our dream roster...BE OUR ACTUAL ROSTER.

Good luck...were with you.

Paul Rago
Season Ticket holder since 1986

ANSWER:
First of all, thanks for all of your support over the last 25 years, Paul. It is much appreciated.

In regards to your look at history, the facts really can't be argued. No team is immune to hindsight, including the Warriors. Nonetheless, we need to draft better because, as you noted and I concur, the draft is a good way to build a championship caliber team. We can't afford to miss on players, especially when we are selecting in the lottery. That is a recipe for disaster. The draft is not an exact science, but given the right tools and scouting, I am confident that our basketball operations staff will be prepared for the draft this June and that we can add another player or two to our roster that can be a part of our future. I feel good about that possibility.

In addition to our first round pick this year, we also have a second round selection (either Utah's or Phoenix's). I do place some value on second round picks and history suggests that there are players who fall to the second round every year who end up being solid NBA players, just as you noted with Monta Ellis. We will be looking to acquire draft picks as we move forward - as we did at the trading deadline this year - not trade them away for money. That is not my style and I am sure that is not something our fans would support.

The draft is a key part to what we will try to achieve in building a winning tradition. It's up to us to make the right selections and earn your trust.

Thanks,

Joe





Joe and Peter,

It has been a nice tribute to Franklin Mieuli having his deerstalker cap on the throwback jerseys. Are there any thoughts about a longer lasting tribute like putting the hat back up in the arena? Before the remodel, his hat was one of the "retired jerseys" hanging from the banners. It was completely inexplicable to leave that down when the new shadow boxes went up.

And while we're on the subject - how about "Mully"?

Keith Schoenthal

ANSWER:
Thanks for the e-mail, Keith.

We thought it was important to honor Franklin Mieuli this season and I'm glad we had an opportunity to do so during Hardwood Classics Month in February. He was a unique man and, of course, was at the helm in 1975 when the Warriors won their only championship since moving to the Bay Area. In that respect, Peter and I hope to follow in his footsteps. I also admire the fact that Franklin still loved the game until his later years, when he was a staple at his courtside seats virtually every night.

I was not actually aware that the deerstalker cap was in the arena prior to the renovation. I think it is a good thing to embrace the history of a team and to honor past players, coaches and owners, when appropriate.

As I noted in an earlier post, I am very much in favor of recognizing our history and some of our great tradition and players. Chris Mullin would certainly fall into this category. Chris was a tremendous player for the Warriors and was - and still is - beloved by the fans. We hope to have #17 retired at some point in the very near future.

Regards,

Joe





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