Warriors

Warriors' five most underrated moves in Joe Lacob-Peter Guber era

Warriors' five most underrated moves in Joe Lacob-Peter Guber era

It has been exactly 10 years since Joe Lacob and Peter Guber agreed to buy the Warriors for $450 million.

Over the last decade, the franchise has won three NBA titles, relocated to San Francisco and become a global brand valued at $4.3 billion.

Lacob and Guber have made countless decisions as Golden State's owners, so let's highlight five of their most underrated/overlooked moves (in chronological order) that might not immediately come to mind.

Hiring Bob Myers

Myers joined the franchise in April 2011 as assistant general manager. The Bay Area native -- who was an agent before choosing a new career path -- was promoted to general manager one year later.

Myers was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2015 and 2017. And as Draymond Green said at the Warriors' championship parade in 2017: "Can somebody give Bob some f--king credit?! ... Bob is definitely the best GM in the league and he just sit back; don't want no credit."

Hiring Jerry West

The NBA's logo became an Executive Board member with Golden State in May 2011. West arguably is the greatest executive in NBA history, and immediately gave the franchise some much-needed credibility.

He was a big believer in Klay Thompson, and spoke on the phone with Kevin Durant before KD signed with the Dubs in July 2016.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Purchasing the Dakota Wizards

The Warriors became the fourth NBA team to own and operate a D-League (now G League) affiliate when they purchased the Dakota Wizards in June 2011.

The franchise relocated to Northern California prior to the start of the 2012-13 season and became the Santa Cruz Warriors. Golden State effectively has used Santa Cruz to develop young players, and don't forget about the assignments for Steph Curry and DeMarcus Cousins.

Hiring Rick Welts

Welts came on board in late September 2011 as the Warriors' president and chief operating officer. The man who created the concept of "NBA All-Star weekend" was integral in making Chase Center a reality, and was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

"Peter Guber and I have made it quite clear since we assumed control of this team in November that we're looking to build a world-class organization from top to bottom," Lacob said nearly nine years ago. "We feel that we've taken a quantum leap in that direction today with the addition of Rick Welts as our president and COO."

[RELATED: Dubs' Welts shares funny story of being mistaken for Lacob]

Trading Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis was beloved (and still is) by Dub Nation, and Warriors fans were very upset when the front office shipped him to the Milwaukee Bucks in March 2012.

But acquiring Andrew Bogut was an important step to building a championship roster, and the move opened the door for the Splash Brothers to come to life.

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Warriors broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald honored to call NBA playoff games

Warriors broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald honored to call NBA playoff games

The Warriors are not an NBA playoff team, but they’ll have representation in the bubble. 

TNT selected Emmy award-winning Warriors play-by-play announcer Bob Fitzgerald to call playoff games in Orlando, Fla. 

“It’s really an honor, it’s something I’m thrilled about,” Fitzgerald said on the latest episode of the Runnin’ Plays podcast

Fitzgerald will call national games on TNT and NBA TV. He knows his first assignment is Tuesday, Aug. 18 for the first round of the playoffs, but he could be handed any series. He’s preparing for all 16 teams.

“Fortunately, being the league as long as I have, I know all the teams,” Fitzgerald, who has spent 25 seasons as a Warriors broadcaster, said.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

“I’ve seen all the videos and read the protocols and signed my life away,” Fitzgerald joked about preparing for life in the bubble. “The NBA has been amazing in terms of how strict and how professional and how well done the whole bubble concept has been.” 

He’s preparing for some differences in an environment without fans. In the big moments, he typically “lays out” or stops speaking to let crown noise come through. Fitzgerald will have to figure out what to do in a quiet arena.

[RELATED: Report: Warriors playing in Orlando bubble a "non-starter" for NBPA]

“I’m an excitable person,” Fitzgerald exclaimed, “I cheer for the excellence in basketball. If someone blows by for a dunk, you have two choices ... you can accentuate ‘Antetokounmpo went in and dunked it!’, or you can talk about the defender who let him go right by. I’m more a positive person so I’m going to accentuate the accomplishments.

I don’t spend much time trying to kick people in the groin. That ends up being a tiresome way of looking at sports.”

Why Trail Blazers-Lakers is first-round NBA playoff series we all need

Why Trail Blazers-Lakers is first-round NBA playoff series we all need

With most of the players strolling through games, Lonzo Ball looking particularly uninterested and Zion Williamson, questionably identified as the future of the franchise, hobbling arthritically about the court, the bubble has been a bust for the New Orleans Pelicans.

They’ll go back to the Bayou in a few days, by which time we’ll have a bigger prize.

Let’s hope it’s Portland. Give us the Trail Blazers. Please.

Despite the pre-restart chatter around LeBron, the Pelicans, Ben Simmons, the 76ers, Victor Oladipo, the Rockets, Bol Bol and Giannis, the most compelling story to emerge has been that of the Blazers, who in a matter of days set fire to the promotional hype of Zion in the playoffs.

Portland in the postseason is good for the NBA and, closer to home, it gives Dub Nation and the Bay Area a rooting interest. With the Warriors watching from outside the bubble, it’s reasonable to believe their fans will stand with Oakland’s own Damian Lillard and his crew.

We want Sleek Melo, who used the hiatus to redistribute his weight -- a euphemism for trading fat for muscle -- and trim 10 of his 36 years.

Bring us Jusuf Nurkic, who lost 16 months to a gruesome leg injury and now looks fantastic.

Bring us CJ McCollum, whose one-on-one offense is a work of art.

The probability of Blazers-Lakers in the first round is downright juicy, and infinitely more absorbing than Pelicans-Lakers ever could have been.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

And thanks to the events of the weekend, the possibility of Blazers-Clippers in the Western Conference Finals -- yes, we realize a lot has to happen -- is spicy enough to trigger copious perspiration up and down the Pacific coast.

After the Clips came back to beat Portland on Saturday, Dame’s response to postgame trash talk by LA’s Paul George and Patrick Beverley -- after Lillard missed two late free throws -- was straight from the flatlands of Oakland, where no insult, no matter how thin, goes without reply.

"The reason why they’re reacting like that is what they expect from me, which is a sign of respect and it shows what I’ve done at a high clip," Lillard told reporters in Florida. "I’m not offended by it. If anything, it should tell you how much it hurt them, what I put them through in those situations previously."

Lillard ousted George and the Thunder last postseason with one of the boldest game-winning bombs in playoff history, draining a 37-footer over PG. Dame made the moment all the more memorable by turning toward Russell Westbrook and George and waving goodbye.

Dame’s buzzer-beating triple in Game 6 to close out the first-round Blazers-Rockets series sent Beverley and his Houston teammates scattering into the offseason.

Beverley, of course, has a permanent place on the 10 Most Hated list of Warriors fans. His attempts to bully Steph Curry are ineffective -- generally ignored by Steph -- but merely attempting to do so is one of the quickest routes to Bay beef.

No doubt invigorated by the darts thrown his way by PG and Beverley, Dame went out Sunday and lit up the 76ers for 51 points, pulling Portland within a half-game of the No. 8-seed Memphis Grizzlies, who have been staggering through the restart like puppies in platform heels.

Of those teams yet to be eliminated -- the Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Blazers -- Portland is the most dynamic and has the most star power. And only San Antonio, which is focusing on development, is more experienced at this postseason thing.

[RELATED: Can pigs fly? Chuck says Warriors have big '20-21 advantage]

The NBA restart has been fascinating for many reasons, the most significant being the ability -- fingers crossed -- to avoid COVID-19. Indiana’s TJ Warren, a quiet bucket-sniffer his entire career, showing out. The Suns, irrelevant for a decade, are showing up. Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. is introducing his game to rousing and much deserved applause.

The new storylines are refreshing and very welcome.

But nothing has been more revealing than the transformation of the Blazers, who are a different team than they were in early March. Which is why, when the playoffs begin next week it’s hard to imagine a more watchable first-round series than Blazers-Lakers.