Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Are Lacob hires elements of style or ill advisory?

By Justin Taylor

The last couple years have brought on some of the oddest hiring’s in recent memory for any team in any sport.  Not to say that any of them are bad but sometimes things just catch you off guard.  The trend started this time last year when Joe Lacob tabbed Mark Jackson right off the set of an ESPN telecast even though he had no experience coaching at any level.  Next he brought in Bob Myers; a former agent with no experience running a high school team let alone an NBA franchise; as the heir apparent to General Manager Larry Riley.

This offseason the hits just keep coming.  This week had already given us the news that Lacob’s 25 year-old son, Kirk, will take over the Assistant General Manager position previously held by Myers.  Today there was a much lower profile move with its own twist that has become the norm with anyone hired by the Joe Lacob.  Our new General Counsel for the team is none other than David Kelly.  If you Google the name you’re surely going to get the picture of the old guy from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the old guy from a Pixar animated short story but that isn’t our David Kelly.  Our new chief lawyer is more commonly known as Capital D of Capital D and the Molemen fame.  No?  How about Capital D of All Natural fame?  Still nothing?  Take my word for it this guy is an awesome hip hop artist but I couldn’t tell you the slightest thing about his legal resume. (In case you were wondering Elements of Style and Ill Advisory are Capital D/All Natural songs but I thought they applied.  You can give them a listen below.)

Let’s take a look at the hiring trend over the last couple of seasons.

This is not the team's new General Counsel in case you Googled David Kelly

Mark Jackson, Head Coach: 

Jackson was the floor general for Hall of Fame coaches Lou Carnesecca, Pat Riley, Larry Brown, Larry Bird, Lenny Wilkens and Jerry Sloan; I’m too lazy to see if all of them are currently in the Hall but the ones who aren’t will be soon enough.  There were also a couple of no names on the list too in Jeff Van Gundy and Rick Pitino.  Finally he learned what not to do from legendary screw up at every possible level of NBA basketball Stu Jackson.  The jury is still deliberating as to whether that basketball tutelage as a player will equal success as an NBA coach.  What he may lack in X’s and O’s he makes up for with some of the sharpest, well polished post game interviews in the business.

Mike Malone, Assistant Coach:

Malone was a great hire by all accounts and is seen as a more qualified coach than Jackson but he’ll most likely be gone in a couple of weeks.  For that reason and the fact that I already covered him in detail I’ll just move on.

Jerry West, Executive Board Member:

I don’t know anyone who can complain about the hiring of the Logo to advise on personnel and management decisions.  He is undeniably one of the best players and executives ever.  For me the only scar on his resume is that he accumulated 95% of his resume working for the Lakers.  Have I mentioned I hate the damn Lakers?

Bob Myers, General Manager:

It’s been known from the minute Myers was brought in that he was hired to replace Larry Riley.  For most Warrior fans that day couldn’t come fast enough and we were all pleasantly surprised two days before the end of the season when the timeline was accelerated.  I don’t know what’s better, Myers coming or Riley going.  Either way it was a double dose of good news.

The first of many pluses on Myers resume is that he grew up a Warrior fan.  He didn’t quite come out and say he was a fan per se but he did say his first experiences at NBA games were Warrior games.  I think it’s the first time I could ever relate to an NBA player or executive on that level since we truly have something in common.  We may have even been at some of the same games as kids. 

As an agent at the Wasserman Media Group (where he studied under NBA super agent Arn Tellum) his main duties were player evaluations and negotiations.  I’ve always wondered why more agents don’t get hired to run teams.  These guys are professional talent evaluators and relationship builders.  If he can be effective in those roles here Mark Jackson’s technical ability as a coach become less of a liability because he is very good with people and their egos.  Vinny Del Negro went from being a terrible coach to a halfway decent coach the day the Chris Paul showed up; the reality is that he is still a terrible coach because players just don’t like him.

How often do NBA teams hire former players and live to regret it?  I love Chris Mullin and he did do some great things when he ran the Warriors.  He stole Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington for a bunch of guys we didn’t want but he was also the guy who inked Derek Fisher, Adonal Foyle, Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy to roughly $170 million worth of contracts.  Now that he is in the Jerry West Apprenticeship Program (as opposed to the Larry Riley Good Ole Boy Academy) I don’t think we need to worry about a repeat performance from Bob Myers.

Kirk Lacob, Assistant General Manager:

The refurbished Warriors brain trust

All I really know about Kirk Lacob I learned from his LinkedIn page.  It shows that while he’s been in charge of the Warriors D league team he has been operating under the title Director of Basketball Operations.  I’m not sure what that means when you’ve got Joe Lacob, Jerry West, Larry Riley and Bob Myers involved in basketball operations but I’m sure his voice was heard equally among that group. 
He also has a degree from Stanford, was an intern with the Celtics (not sure how he landed that gig...oh yeah, Papa Joe owned 10% of that team too) and started a youth basketball camp in Woodside in 2003, which by my calculation made him about 16 at the time.  He was also a coach at Matt Lottich Life Skills, LLC in 2005-06 because who wouldn’t want to learn life lessons from an 18 year old kid.  At the end of the day do I really need to know anything more than who his father is?

If it sounds like I am criticizing this hire it’s only because I’m insanely jealous and I have no problem admitting as much.  I can promise that if my dad owned an NBA franchise I would have one hell of a title whether I deserved it or not.  More than anything it seems to me that Joe Lacob is working to build and secure his legacy with each addition to the payroll.  With this selection he insures, at the very least, that he has a mole in the organization when West retires and he decides to step away to spend his time finding other ways to spend his billions.  All I can do is wish Kirk luck crunching numbers and carrying Bob Myers jock strap for the next ten years.

Capital D, General Counsel:

Capital D/All Natural: Ill Advisory

Capital D/All Natural: Elements of Style

So we’re clear, I will never reference David Kelly as anything but Capital D.  You have no idea what it’s like to wake up one day to read that one of your favorite hip hop artists is now the chief lawyer for your favorite sports team.  You know how I know that?  Because I’m pretty sure he’s the first rapper turned big time lawyer.  I always knew that he was highly educated (Morehouse College and the University of Illinois Law School) and the most intelligent guy on the rap scene but what does that really mean?  I’m sure Kanye West and Common; a couple of other slightly more known Chicago area hip hop stars; are super smart but I don’t see either one arguing before the Supreme Court any time soon.

Based on what Matt Steinmetz reported about the Capital D hiring he’s actually been putting together sponsorship deals together for the Bulls and White Sox in recent years.  Apparently he was a doing that work as a partner at the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.  I wonder what it’s like to rock a club at night and settle a sexual harassment suit in the morning.  Cap D is probably going to find out soon enough (since the Warriors seem to have no shortage of harassment suits the last couple years) and it won’t be because he is accused of touching some girl like most rock stars.

Calling Capital D a rock star is pretty off base but I would stack his music and message up against any artist currently auto tuning up the charts.  His alias and involvement with the team will have him regarded as an out of the box hire but isn’t he more qualified to do his job then the coach, the GM or the assistant GM?  I hope to see him collaborating with new sponsors during the day and with local hip hop legends; like Heiroglyphics, Zion I or Blackalicious; at a local venue some night soon!

Cap D: All I Want off his newest solo album