Joe Lacob was in rare form during his sitdown with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami this week. Among other things, the Golden State Warriors owner declared that the 2020 trade bringing Andrew Wiggins to the Bay Area was “maybe the greatest deal we’ve ever done.”
He also continued to hype the cadre of young players the Warriors have brought in to back the team’s veteran core, led by former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman.
“The great teams have a combination of types of talent,” Lacob said. “You want to be able to play different ways. You want to have young players that are developing and you want to have the great ones that are already there.”
In his zeal to explain why blending veterans and up-and-comers is “the only path” to success in the NBA, he may have inadvertently (or intentionally) fired a shot across the bow of a certain storied intra-state rival.
Did Lacob Just Dump on the Current Lakers?
After waxing philosophical on what he considers to be a winning mix in the Association, Lacob took things a step further by describing what doesn’t work. And it sounded an awful lot like what the Los Angeles Lakers have been trotting out this season.
“You don’t want to be an old, broken-down team and everybody’s old. That’s not going to work,” he said, adding, “I’m not referring to any particular team. But I’m just saying, if you look through history, actually, all the great teams have had a great young star.”
Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Lacob even namechecked a classic Lakers team as one of the blueprints for bringing players old and young together.
“The Lakers, Magic Johnson as a rookie, truly amazing to do what he did,” Lacob said. “…You look back, even the Warriors in ’75, right? Had two young rookies [in Jamaal Wilkes and Phil Smith] I believe who contributed mightily to that team.”
He concluded: “I don’t think you can be all old. And you certainly can’t be all young to win in this league.”
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The Proof Is in the Pudding
Whether or not Lacob was actually taking a veiled shot at the current version of the Lake Show, we may never know. However, the 2021-22 season to date could serve as a case study for the concepts he’s putting out there.
As of this writing, the Lakers are currently the oldest team in the league, with an average age of 31.2, per RealGM. This is largely the result of Rob Pelinka’s decision to trade a trio of players still in their primes in Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a now 33-year-old Russell Westbrook. That was followed in short order by moves to acquire guys like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Rajon Rondo, who are all in their mid-to-late 30s.
Meanwhile, the Warriors boast an average age of 27.8.
Entering Thursday’s games, the Warriors have the best record in the league at 12-2. The Lakers are currently holding down the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference standings with a record of 8-8.
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