March 19, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob waits for fans to stop booing during the half time ceremony to retire the #17 jersey of Chris Mullin at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Was Joe Lacob's son promoted to Asst. GM of the Warriors because he's qualified, or because his dad owns the team?
The Golden State Warriors announced earlier in the week that Kirk Lacob, co-owner Joe Lacob's son, was named Assistant General Manager of the Golden State Warriors. It wasn't necessarily a surprise move; the Warriors have been grooming the younger Lacob for a while for this very promotion, and he already had a voice in personnel decisions before the recent title change.
But what qualifications does Kirk Lacob possess? For those who don't follow the Warriors' front office all that closely, it's pretty easy to assume straight-up nepotism. Daddy buys the team, son gets a great job -- a pretty common story. On the surface there seem to be similarities to Jed York's story, how he became top boss of the San Francisco 49ers. However, there are several differences.
First, Jed's father John York was a reluctant leader and it showed, while Denise Debartolo York wanted no part of speaking on behalf of the team. She may have had tremendous influence in terms of how the money was spent (and still may, for all we know), but she wasn't making football decisions. When Jed took over for John in that department fans were skeptical, yet hopeful that having someone who seemed more comfortable in (and passionate about) the role of NFL owner would do a better job. After some rough patches, it appears with a new stadium on the way that Jed's on his way to becoming one of the most powerful figures in Bay Area sports.
On the other hand, Kirk Lacob's father is far more comfortable in the spotlight than either of Jed's parents. Joe Lacob may be even more unpopular than John York (considering the infamous fan display during Chris Mullin jersey retirement night). However, Joe has a say in everything the Warriors do and, unlike John, seems to really enjoy it. Unless I'm reading things incorrectly, Joe will probably be the Warriors' head man for the next two decades, maybe even longer.
No, a better comparison for Kirk may be another person in a high spot on the 49ers: Paraag Marathe. Since "Lacob" means Joe around these parts, Kirk's going to be spoken of mostly on a first-name basis by most fans. In similar fashion, the 49ers' Chief Operating Officer might as well pretend like he's a famous Brazilian athlete and drop the "Marathe" -- especially since barely anyone uses his last name anyway.
Paraag has other duties, but most people know him as the 49ers' "capologist." After serving in large part as an unfortunate symbol of the York regime's incompetence (Who's deciding whether or not Nolan challenges the call? Oh great, It's Paraag!), he's now widely praised as an astute salary cap architect. Kirk brought similar analytical skills with him to the Warriors, as Tim Kawakami wrote back in November of 2010:
Lacob confirmed that his son, Kirk, is the team’s director of basketball operations, reporting to GM Larry Riley.
This is not a surprise, since Kirk is probably even a larger NBA follower than his father, and had lined up a job with Steve Kerr in Phoenix this year–until Kerr resigned as GM last summer.
Kirk Lacob, just out of Stanford, said he will do a lot of statistical analysis and some salary-cap functions, as the fourth man in a four-man front-office shop.
Yeah, that read "just out of Stanford." So we know Kirk's young. How young? Hard to tell (25?), but according to his Linkedin page we have a good idea of the rest of his resume. Lacob did five(!) internships before becoming the Warriors Director of Basketball Ops, including this one with the Boston Celtics (in Lacob's words):
I worked with all three departments. Helped Community Relations with planning for the team's largest community fund raising gala, overseeing team to community donations, player appearance events and restructuring the internal inventory system. Also aided Media and Public Relations to set up and oversee events such as the draft-eligible player workouts and the Celtics draft day celebration.
Kirk Lacob also has general managing experience with the Dakota Wizards. The Wizards weren't a bad team as far as NBDL squads go -- they went 29-21 and made the playoffs, where they were eliminated by the Bakersfield Jam. One of the Wizards won NBDL Rookie of the Year (Edwin Ubiles), another won Defensive Player of the Year (Stefhon Hannah), and they even had Taylor Griffin on the roster. I'm sure having Blake's shorter, less athletic, less talented brother around sold quite a few tickets in ... Dakota.
Now the Wizards are looking forward to a move to Santa Cruz, and Kirk's promotion probably means his D-League days are over regardless. He's reportedly a huge NBA follower and by now he's probably pretty familiar with the league. If he stays out of trouble there's no reason why he couldn't follow in Jed's footsteps and make a name for himself, although he'll probably have to wait a lot longer than Jed to get the biggest office at team headquarters.