The Times West Virginian

December 7, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Jerry West merits credit for Warriors’ jump in NBA

By Mickey Furfari
Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — If you follow the National Basketball Association action, you’ll note that the Golden State Warriors are faring very well.

And for such significant improvement, you’ve got to give much of the credit, I’m told, to the legendary Jerry West — the greatest basketball player in West Virginia University’s history.

The former East Bank High School superstar, who went on to fame with the Los Angeles Lakers for 14 years, now is in his third as an advisor with the Warriors organization. He is responsible only to the co-executive chairmen Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

West, who spends six months of the year in California and the other six in West Virginia, was named in Executive Board Member to the Golden State Warriors on May 20, 2011.

His team has been staying steadily in second place of the NBA’s Western Conference Pacific Division, just one game behind the leading Los Angeles Clippers.

“We’ve got a really good new set of young players,” Jerry West said in a recent telephone interview. “There’s some hope there that we can make some waves, as we did last year in the playoffs, and become a much more competitive team going forward.

“We have some problems, no question (about that). But every game you play in this league, particularly those on the road, you’d like to become closer and closer in terms of those teams that beat everybody.”

West pointed out if you’ll look at any sport, you’ll see teams above others which are trying to establish and make their way to build a better team.

“So we are capable. We have one of the most unbelievably accurate shooting backcourts that you’ll ever see in basketball,” West declared.

“That gives us a chance on any night, and we have tremendous three-point shooters. We’ve just got a lot of really good players.”

He added that a couple of “incredibly good shooters” have also become all-around fine performers.

West, who has become a part owner of the Golden State Warriors franchise, has been a major mover in the teams’ playing improvement.

Here is head coach Mark Jackson’s starting lineup:

Stephen Curry: point guard; Klay Thompson, shooting guard; Andre Iguodala, forward; David Lee, forward; and Andrew Bogut, center.

Curry is the son of retired NBA player Dell Curry, out of Virginia Tech. Stephen Curry set the league record  last year for three-pointers in a single season. He averaged 20 points per game.

Lee was an NBA All-Star third-team selection last season when the Warriors finished with a 47-35 record.

They were 6-6 in the playoffs. They lost to San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals.

Bob Myers is the organization’s general manager.