Players trust management, management trusts players and the franchise thrives. That’s how the Warriors operate, and it is proof that building any so-called “super team” proof is about so much more than money and luck.
Achieving sustained success is, ultimately, about culture and fun.
That’s how the Warriors won over forward-thinking superstar Kevin Durant. That’s how they, on the cheap, pulled in savvy veteran David West.
That’s why they could bring in JaVale McGee and Matt Barnes.
And it’s why they’re bringing in Nick Young.
That Young will officially become a Warrior in the next few days, first reported Wednesday morning by ESPN and confirmed by NBCSportsBayArea.com, seems like a risk. It is, given his history. But it’s a relatively small risk, with a potentially high reward.
Young’s reputation as a clown is not unlike the rep McGee had when he arrived in Oakland. At 6-foot-7 with a remarkable shooting touch, Young gives the Warriors yet another shooter off the bench, alongside Omri Casspi.
The Warriors looked beyond the image, placed trust in their culture, and will get in Young a poor man’s Klay Thompson. Young will accept the team’s midlevel exception of $5.2 million and give them a longer, more explosive version of Ian Clark.
As for Young, his one-year trail grants the opportunity to rebrand himself, just as McGee did.
Each one of these recent veteran acquisitions has been as a direct result of player-to-player recruitment, and that would not be possible without the incumbent players having full faith in the likes of coach Steve Kerr, president/general manager Bob Myers and CEO Joe Lacob.
That’s how the Warriors think. When Draymond Green and his teammates lead cheers for the organization, others, like Durant, listen. When Durant spends a season with the Warriors and says they are “where you go when you graduate” from the typical NBA experience, that speaks to players outside the organization.
Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Green closed the deal that added Durant. Durant reached out to West. Iguodala brokered mutual trust between the Warriors and McGee. Green, Durant and Curry opened the door for Young to move from the Lakers to the Warriors.
The Warriors have created something of a basketball factory, a living and breathing thing that sustains itself on tradition. It’s Patriots football, except with open joy and a warmer heart. It’s Duke basketball without Coach K barking and snarling. It’s Apple with only a portion of the ruthlessness.
When Lacob said in a New York Times Magazine article 16 months ago that the Warriors were “light years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things,” many around the NBA responded by chuckling and rolling their eyes.
Guy’s team wins one championship and he thinks he reinvented winning.
They doubled over with laughter when the Warriors became the first team to blow a 3-1 lead in The Finals, by which time the “light years” phrase had become a source of constant ridicule.
How’s this big bowl of humility taste, Mr. Light Years?
Nobody is laughing now. Everybody is either chasing the Warriors or surrendering before them. Lacob’s “light years” comment suddenly seems particularly prescient, as does the second part of the quote:
“We’re going to be a handful for the rest of the NBA to deal with for a long time.”