If you’re going to do a Mount Rushmore for the Lakers, Jerry West has to be on it. He’s a legendary player — he’s the Logo — who won a title in uniform then was the Lakers GM that built the Showtime Lakers with Magic and won some titles in that role. Nobody knows the game better; nobody is more competitive.
And he thinks he’s in a better spot now.
West is currently a board member and part of the brain trust with the Golden State Warriors, and things are different. In the Bay Area, it’s a collaborative process, but one that built a title contender in the modern NBA way — drafted well, finding versatile players who fit their system. They didn’t buy a roster, they built one and used free agency to tack on a couple needed players.
West toldRay Woodson Wednesday on SportsPhone 680 he enjoys the Warriors’ style of front office.
“People are allowed to express their own opinions. And at the end of the day, (Warriors GM) Bob Myers is going to make the decisions. I think (co-owner) Joe Lacob is kept aware and informed of everything going on, but everyone is allowed to express their opinions. Nobody takes themselves too seriously. Once you start doing that, that’s when dissenting voices become a problem.
“This is the most healthy environment I’ve been involved with since I’ve been in the NBA.”
That is the highest of praise — and a bit of a dig at the Lakers. West had a lot of success in the big chair for the Lakers, but it was a very different style, and right now the Lakers front office doesn’t seem healthy at all.
West is still ultra-competitive and opinionated — he threatened to quit if the Warriors had traded Klay Thompson for Kevin Love — but he seems to understand having more than one voice in the room, and a GM willing to listen to those voices, can work very well.
Here are some other highlights of West’s comments.
• He says the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers and Rockets are all threats to come out of the Western Conference. The Spurs are everybody’s hot pick after their summer landing LaMarcus Aldridge, but West noted, “We’re younger than they are, and our players can get better individually.”
• On small ball: “We have a lot of very talented players, we’re long and lanky. Size sometimes can be a detriment because a lot of people don’t want to run up and down the court. We were the best offensive team, the best defensive team, and we played our small ball a lot… We create a lot of our shots with the defense focused on Curry and Thompson, our other shooters get a little more time to shoot the ball.”
• He thinks Thompson can make the All-NBA teams if he improves his footwork and finishes better at the rim next season.
• As for just drafted Kevon Looney, West likes his instincts and hoops IQ a lot. He says Looney needs to get stronger, and he may need surgery on hip. But in a few years he could play a nice role on the Warriors.
• West recently shot his age on the golf course.