The team behind the team: How the Warriors built an NBA champion

Starting this week, we’re kicking off a video series in partnership with the Warriors organization. We’ll explore how the “team behind the team” uses Dropbox to unleash their creative energy. In this first entry, we caught up with Warriors assistant general manager and vice president of GSW Sports Ventures Kirk Lacob.

In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are the class of the league. They’ve got a star-studded roster, a dynamic style of play, and two championships in just three years. The team’s focus on threes has also redefined how basketball gets played, a strategic change that’s made Warriors tickets among the hottest in the league. But how do the Warriors support stars like Stephen Curry, and how did they create a fan experience admired by owners across the league? We checked in with assistant general manager Kirk Lacob to hear more about the team behind the team.

“The only way to be better than you were before is to change,” said Lacob, “and change in new and creative ways.” It’s a mindset Lacob knows well, having joined the Warriors in 2010. At the time, Golden State was still losing more often than winning. They’d recently drafted a gifted shooter in Stephen Curry, but they needed to do more to help him shine. So they took a risk, doubling-down on the three-point shot in a league that was merely tip-toeing in that direction.

“Dropbox allows me to easily link things, to chain them together, whether it’s my personal stuff or something I’m working on collaboratively with our scouting department or our marketing department.” – Kirk Lacob

Meanwhile, they re-evaluated everything from budget to analytics to scouting. Where could they splurge to get top talent, and who was showing promise in the NBA’s development league (now called the G League)? All the while, they had to carefully track how all the experiments were going, crunching the numbers across all phases of the game. Keeping these projects in sync between many teams—including the coaching staff, recruiting, and marketing—was vital, and for that, the Warriors turned to Dropbox.

“Dropbox allows me to easily link things, to chain them together, whether it’s my personal stuff or something I’m working on collaboratively with our scouting department or our marketing department.” Lacob emphasized how important Dropbox becomes when you’re constantly on the road. “When I’m going mobile, the worst thing I can think of is I’m working on something and I can’t get to it.” Even as the organization and team were changing rapidly, Dropbox gave Lacob and his team a central place to keep everyone up to date.

Just as the Warriors organization reshaped the team on the court, they also reshaped the fan experience, with more investment in fan identity, team history, and the unique personalities of its top stars. That meant brainstorming new campaigns, new branding, and most recently—the plans for Chase Center, the Warriors’ state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco (on schedule to open in 2019). “One of my favorite things about my job is I have new things to work on every day. But it also means, I can’t just do what I’ve done before.”

Throughout each project, Lacob and his team kept everyone in sync with Dropbox, sharing ideas and developing new plans. Perhaps most impressively, the Warriors organization has done all of this while maintaining a team-first culture and a sense of chemistry between players, coaches, and management—no easy task for such a talented group. Lacob credits the attitudes of the team members around him. “Getting to do this with really great people—that makes the job fun every single day.”

The “Team behind the team” is a six-part video series featuring the creative energy of various team members from the Golden State Warriors organization. Among others, the series will highlight Kirk Lacob, assistant general manager; Jeff Addiego, youth camps director; and Eric Housen, the director of team services and a 25-year Warriors veteran who knows all the quirks and habits of each Warriors player.

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