Jerry West not only knows basketball, being one of the greatest NBA players of all time, but he knows the corporate side of basketball, as well. West was responsible for igniting the Los Angeles Lakers’ three-peat from 2000-02, by acquiring players like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, as well as hiring Phil Jackson as head coach.
West’s new challenge is to do with the Golden State Warriors what he did with the Lakers, and somewhat with the Memphis Grizzlies.
West was pursued by Warriors’ owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, and they hired him this past week as an adviser to the Warriors’ executive board.
Who knows how much of a role West will play with the Warriors, but having one of the greatest basketball players of all time is not a bad person to have to advise your team.
Although West does still plan to live in Southern California, he will be working very closely with Warriors’ ownership, as well as, and most importantly, General Manager Larry Riley. West was the former ultra-successful GM with the Lakers, and the hope is he can rub off some wisdom on Riley.
But whether or not West’s role with the Warriors is significant or not, the name is there, and that is what counts right now.
West’s new job with the Warriors helps improve two aspects of Golden State’s mission to be a successful franchise.
1. The New Coach
Jerry West has been around the NBA long enough to know what coaches and players are for real, and which are not. Right off the bat, West will be helping with the hiring of the Warriors’ next head coach.
Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob is not dumb. He knows that with the West part of the Warriors, he will attract high-profile names to this team, whether they are big-name coaches or players.
For now, any coach would like to work with West, as well as an ambitious Warriors ownership that is determined to make this team a success.
West totally changes the image of the Warriors from the Don Nelson/Keith Smart Era to the new and improved Lacob/Guber Era with their eyes set on the playoffs.
Also, West has the first-hand experience with some of these coaches, such as Lakers’ assistant coach Brian Shaw.
Is Shaw for real as a coach?
I’m sure West has already filled the Warriors in on that one.
2. Acquiring Players
West’s name, alone, will draw players to Oakland.
Without West as an adviser, there was no chance at landing a big-name free agent. Now with West, the Warriors suddenly have a shot. Given West’s success both on the court and off, it may entice a player like Dwight Howard, for instance, to come to Oakland and become a part of something very special taking flight.
But most of all, West will be working with GM Larry Riley, arguably the weakest link in the Warriors’ front office. As a former successful GM, West will be sure to have a say in what moves Riley and the Warriors will be making.
Reports are this may even be the start of West becoming the next GM of the Warriors. Keep your fingers crossed on that one.
So not only will West be attracting players to Golden State, but he will have a say in whether or not those players are worth it.
In a history of the Warriors that has seen several talents slip through the cracks and other talents rot in the Warriors’ former corrupt system, it is good to see Lacob and others making moves that everyone agrees makes this franchise better.