Warriors assistant GM Lacob details team’s NBA draft strategy

NBC Sports Bay Area

With the 2024 NBA Draft right around the corner, all eyes will be on the Warriors and how they approach evaluating the upcoming class of prospects.

In an exclusive interview with Kron 4’s Jason Dumas, Golden State’s assistant general manager Kirk Lacob offered some insight into what the organization values when drafting prospects.

Lacob detailed how important the human element is, and getting a good sense of the day-to-day personalities of the prospects they are evaluating.

“How do they treat people behind the scenes? I always like to ask people who aren’t necessarily our talent evaluators, ‘What were they like?’ ” Lacob told Dumas. “That’s when they don’t really realize they’re being interviewed. They’re not turned on.”

Lacob then detailed to Dumas how critical film study has become when gauging the potential of an NBA prospect, an area where Brandin Podziemski shone before Golden State selected him No. 19 overall in the 2023 draft, per Dumas.

“How do they read the game? What are the types of things that they notice and focus on? How have they been taught? What are the things that are really ingrained in their brain to look at from a basketball perspective,” Lacob explained to Dumas.

“That’s really a lot of what we’re trying to get out of this. How hard does somebody work? How bad do they want it?”

After being selected in the first round last season, Podziemski highlighted how much he enjoyed his pre-draft visit with the Warriors, getting an immediate sense that Golden State would be the right fit for him.

“I think I worked out with them a couple weeks ago, and it was probably my best experience through the pre-draft process,” Podziemski said. “Just felt like a family, I felt like, in our interview with [Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr.] and the rest of the staff, it felt more like a conversation than an interrogation.

“I always just thought it would be a perfect fit.”

Speaking of fit, how do Lacob and Golden State’s front office approach a drafting for need at a particular position compared to how well a prospect might fit on the team’s current roster?

“I don’t think it’s as black and white as that,” Lacob told Dumas. “There’s a level of talent you’re going to always take over everything else. But after that, this is where tiers come into place. How well does a guy fit your team stylistically? How well does a player fit a timeline, both for you and the player?

“How soon do you need a player, but also how soon will that player be ready given their opportunities with you? And that stuff can shift quickly, too. You may have a situation that’s true today and tomorrow your team’s situation is different. So you can’t be too locked in to one or the other.”

The Warriors will have to dig deep in the 2024 draft as they likely will be without their own first-round pick due to a 2019 trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. The only way Golden State retains its first-round selection is by landing in the top four of the NBA draft lottery on Sunday.

However, the Warriors still possess their second-round pick this year, which could prove to be a vital asset after drafting Trayce Jackson-Davis in a similar range last season at No. 57 overall.

Whoever Golden State ends up selecting, you can count on Lacob and Co. doing their due diligence as the Warriors look to add another young contributor to the squad.

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