Let go of most of their staff and are completely overhauling everything
If it ain’t broke, you should just buy a new one. That’s apparently the motto of the Golden State Warriors, who have completely revamped their training staff following one of the more incredible runs of health for a championship team in recent memory. The Warriors were cutting edge last season, using biometric data to determine when to give Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and other starters nights off late last season.
Their overall health may not have been unprecedented, but it was certainly an incredible combination of great process and extremely good fortune. Outside of the concussion sustained by Thompson (which of course healed in no time, miraculously) and the calf injury to Marreese Speights, the Warriors got through last season with barely a scratch, nary a strain.
As a result … they let go of most of their staff and are completely overhauling everything? OK, what’s the deal, Bay Area News Group?
The Warriors after winning the NBA championship with the fourth-fewest regular season games missed due to injury overhauled and restructured their training and strength and conditioning staff.
The person now overseeing that department is Lachlan Penfold, whose hiring as head of physical performance and sports medicine was announced in July. He previously worked in a variety of sports in the sports science-rich country of Australia.The Warriors did not renew the contract of head athletic trainer JoHan Wang while director of athletic performance Keke Lyles and strength and conditioning coach Michael Roncariti went to the Atlanta Hawks.
The changes occurred despite the Warriors combining to have players miss only 80 games due to injury and beating the injury-plagued Cleveland Cavaliersin the NBA Finals.
“They did a great job,” Warriors assistant general manager Kirk Lacob said Thursday at the Sports Analytics Innovation Summit of last season’s staff. “Obviously we did a lot of things really, really well. For various reasons, most people aren’t back this year. All of their contracts were up anyways, so it’s not like anyone was fired.
“But we kind of had a vision and Steve (Kerr) had a vision too of the way we wanted to structure that whole department. It was going to be with or without those guys regardless. We were perfectly happy to have them as part of that or not.
“Yeah we did great last year. We’ve got to do better this year.”
You can see both sides of this. Taking process over results can mean not being satisfied with your fortune, and looking for the best way to approach a problem. On the other hand, what we’re talking about here is what the Warriors believe is a better approach. Even if there are empirical results for them to rely on from other situations, they have hard data from their own situation and organization, with their own personnel to suggest that what they had was working.
By the same token, if the Warriors were to suffer from more health issues next season it doesn’t necessarily mean the changes were bad. There’s health management and then there’s contact-caused injury. You can strengthen the body but things get hurt in basketball. It’s one of the reasons there’s a good chance the Warriors don’t reach the 67-win mark they hit last season. They might have done a great job attaching a metal rod to the house last season, but they don’t control the weather. Injury luck has a lot of factors that simply fall outside the process.