The Golden State Warriors entered the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery with a 0.8% chance at winning the number one spot. And like true to lottery form, the Warriors did not win the lottery and will be drafting at number 11.
While I was at the lottery, I had a chance to go one-on-one with Warriors owner Joe Lacob before and after the lottery. In this interview, Lacob spoke on the 2011 NBA Draft, his vision for the Warriors next season, San Antonio Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer, his thoughts on the draft lottery results for the Warriors and more.
As I walked though the hospitality tent, I caught up with Mr. Lacob before the lottery began:
Jeff: Many say this upcoming draft class is not as strong. Do you beg to differ?
Mr. Lacob: No I don’t think I would beg to differ. It doesn’t look, at least on the surface, like it’s going to be one of the stronger drafts. My personnel guys are saying that, I think you’re reading it generally. However, I don’t know that we always know for sure. There are a number of players every year, for instance are drafted in the second round even, that turn out to be quite successful. So I think it’s an important and probably the best source of acquiring new talent is the draft. I think we all have to pay attention and do the best job we can to try to figure out who the players are going to be.
For the Warriors in the draft, are you targeting a specific positional type player or best available when it’s your turn to select?
I think it’s really best available. I just think, regardless of position, you have to find who you think is going to be the best player out there at your draft position. We clearly have a couple of needs we feel, I think it’s been widely reported, and it’s very obvious we need some more size inside, we need some more depth on the team as well but so we would prefer to get a great, big interior presence as an addition to the team. But we really can’t focus on that exclusively. It really depends on where we’re going to pick, and what’s available at the time. So again we’ll pick the best player we can.
What’s the latest on the coaching situation for the Warriors?
As is reported, in multiple media outlets, we are interviewing a number of candidates and trying to arrive at a final list which then I will also get involved in the process and begin to interview those folks.
Reportedly, one of the candidates was San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer. Was he one of your more preferred candidates?
Well he certainly was on the original list that we put together of excellent, potential coaches. However, as you know he came out and said he is not going to interview for any positions in the NBA as head coach. I think he is happy where he is for now, for whatever reason. So he’s obviously not a candidate.
Speaking of the Spurs, were you shocked they were eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies?
I don’t know I was shocked. Certainly had to be surprised. They’re a well coached team, and excellent team, they (Spurs) took up apart when we played them. So yes, definitely surprised and maybe quite surprised. But Memphis got on a roll and obviously gave Oklahoma City all they can handle as well. They’re a very talented and well put together team that I think hit the Spurs at the right time.
The Warriors are known for an up-and-down style of play. Would you like to see your team move away from that and go to a more slow-down tempo?
Well, I guess there’s two answers to that question. There’s what I personally enjoy watching and what I prefer to have if I could name my choice of team and then there’s sort of have what you have and working with that and figuring out a way to build a winner from that. So I do like watching a run-and-gun, exciting kind of style. However, at the end of the day, we just want to win. We’re going to take the talent we have and try to add to it, whatever is available , the best players available, and we’re going to hopefully build something that wins regardless of the style.
I think we have a good sense of what we want to do with the talent we do have. We have some outstanding perimeter shooters. We’re a really good shooting team. What we need though is some more size inside, low post offensive presence, low post defensive presence, in both cases that is better than we currently have. I think that will take the pressure off the guards a little bit and they’ll be even better. Of course we do want to emphasize more of a defensive orientation than we been able to up to this point.
After the draft lottery was over, I caught up with Mr. Lacob to get his quick reaction on the results for the Warriors.
Well the results are in and it held true to form for the Warriors. Your thoughts.
Well you can’t come in here with any other expectations with our chances so we’re kind of where we are. It’s pretty amazing Cleveland got one and four though and to some extent, given what they went through wit the LeBron (James) thing, it almost feels like karma.
Now that you know where your team is selecting, what do you do now?
We’re just going to do what we’ve been doing and that’s prepare and get the best guy we can.