Golden State Warriors Support Staff Takes A Toll

Golden State Warriors Oracle Arena
Oracle Arena Home Of The Golden State Warriors. Photo Credit - Wikimedia Commons

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors entered this offseason feeling pretty damn good as they won their third NBA title in four years. And, as if that wasn’t enough reason for NBA fans to continue their “Warriors ruined the NBA” narrative, they also picked up All-Star DeMarcus Cousins for a shocking $5.3 million.

In addition, the Dubs have secured a 2-year deal with two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant, Head Coach Steve Kerr has signed a contract extension, they re-signed forward Kevon Looney and signed forward Jonas Jerebko, after losing JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia.

GSW are undoubtedly having a successful offseason on the court, but behind the scenes, the franchise has lost five important pieces of their support staff.

One-Third Of Their Training Staff

Trainer Chelsea Lane has left to join the Atlanta Hawks at an executive level. Lane, the first and only woman to head an NBA teams’ training staff, served as the Warriors head of physical performance and sports medicine for the past three seasons.

Well-respected by the players, Lane’s job was to maximize each players performance and maintain their health, including many late-season injury recoveries from several of the teams’ stars.

In the 2017-2018 postseason alone, she played a key role in the recovery process for injuries that could have easily derailed the Warriors from winning it all. As Stephen Curry missed the ending weeks of regular season and the start of the postseason due to a knee injury, she stayed by his side preparing him physically and mentally in the Bay Area for Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs as the team traveled.

In the Western Conference Finals, Andre Iguodala suffered a bone bruise on his left knee. Iggy received treatment from Lane and was ready to go in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Klay Thompson suffered a high ankle sprain in Game 1 and she worked extensively to get him back on the court by Game 2, where he scored 20 points in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Lane was recruited by the Hawks General Manager Travis Shlenk, another former Warriors employee, and, as reported by NBC Bay Area, will be also be joined by Michael Irr, GSW Head Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Director Of Scouting

GSW Director of Scouting, Larry Riley, will also join Lane, Shlenk, and Irr in Atlanta as a special adviser. Serving as GSW former General Manager before Bob Myers, Riley drafted Steph Curry 7th-overall in 2009 and Klay Thompson 11th-overall in 2011. Riley was also responsible for the fan-hated Monta Ellis trade, which brought in Andrew Bogut.

The Analytics Guru

Sammy Gelfand, Manager of Analytics, has departed and is heading to the Detroit Pistons. Gelfand has been an integral part of the organization for six seasons and has been nicknamed “the left side” of Steve Kerr’s brain by the New York Times.

He had become imperative for the coaching staff, crunching numbers, tracking trends, tendencies and pouring over game film. Coach Kerr has relied on Gelfand’s’ research when deciding on rotation changes. Notably, during the All-Star weekend, Gelfand suggested Kerr make a rare midseason rotation switch replacing Zaza Pachulia with fan-favorite JaVale McGee. Zaza just signed with the Pistons.

He has been credited by Kerr for taking the team from 240 passes per game in the 2013-2014 to their current nightly goal of 300 passes per game. During Steph knee injury, he insisted he sit next to Gelfand to better understand the statistical analysis of the game.

Pabail Sidhu, GSW Director of Analytics will be expected to take on Gelfand duties.

Stephen Curry’s Right-Hand Man

Ralph Walker, Head of Security, retired after seven seasons to spend more time with his family, as reported by the Associated Press. Walker was tasked with being Curry’s year-round personal bodyguard traveling with him just about everywhere including summer camps. Walker was a former member of Oakland Police Department before joining the Warriors for the 2011-2012 season.

The Warriors have lost all this personnel within a few weeks, but building a successful dynasty comes with competitors knocking on your door looking to build their own.