Warriors’ Joe Lacob focused on playoffs, championship as he brushes off questions about expectations, Mark Jackson

SAN FRANCISCO — Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob hasn’t spoken publicly much of late, but talked about the team with media members on Wednesday after he was honored at a fundraiser for First Graduate.

On his NBA championship goal for the Warriors (comments made to the crowd):

“I’m 58 years old now, and I’ve been successful. I’ve made a lot of money. I’ve done a lot of things I’ve wanted to do in life, but now we have this new venture, which is the Warriors. A second career, if you will, and all I can think about it is, we have to win a championship. I will be a failure. We will be a failure if we do not win the championship. So that’s what drives me. We promised a lot of people things. We brought in (president and chief operation officer) Rick Welts and all these people you might have met tonight that are tremendous at their jobs. They are incredible. They are so good, and we are all driven the same way. We are completely connected. We are focused. We are driven as a unit, as we. Because that’s really what it’s about. It’s not one person. It’s not me. It’s we. You get things done with other people. That’s how you succeed. And we are driven together to bring this thing home to the Bay Area.”

On establishing his vision from top to bottom at a time when two assistant coaches depart:

“Where we were 3 ½ years ago to where we are now, we’re very proud of what we’ve done as an organization. We got rid of a lot of people that weren’t the right people. We brought in with a lot of people with a similar mindset and commitment. We all work as one. If you go and ask anyone in our organization go top to bottom, from Rick Welts down to the assistants to (vice president of public relations) Raymond Ridder. Any part of that organization, you’ll find everyone loves working there. They love being a part of this organization. We’re very driven. We’re very bonded, and I think we have a tremendous organization. You’re pointing to one particular area I’m not going to comment on today because I want to focus on basketball. It’s a couple of disagreements within the coaching staff which at the end of the day those are minor setbacks. They’re things that we will deal with and move forward and to the extent there’s any problems we’ll fix them, but that’s after the year’s over. Right now we’re all focused on one thing. Common goal: winning. Winning games. We have five games to go, and we have not made the playoffs yet. Hopefully tomorrow night. That’s the No. 1 goal. No. 2 goal is to do some damage in the playoffs. Obviously, we’d like to go as far as we can and try to improve on what we did last year if we can, and it’s a tough Western Conference, so we know that’s difficult but we’re going to keep pushing and keep getting better every year.”

On if the team has met his expectations:

“We’ll address that at the end of the year did we meet our expectations. No. 1 goal is to make the playoffs. That’s No. 1, and I don’t really want to get into all that kind of discussion right now because I want to stay focused on what we all need to do as players, as coaches, as management, everybody. Focused on one thing – winning, getting to the playoffs, winning in the playoffs. At the end of the year, we sit around like every business, and we’ll evaluate how did we do, where can we be better.”

On the job coach Mark Jackson has done this season:

“You’re not going to let these questions go, are you? (laughing) You figure you’ve got this moment here tonight, you’re going to drive in on that, and I’m not going to answer ‘em. I’m not going to answer ‘em because (general manager) Bob Myers just addressed it and what he thought about Mark, and I’ll let those words suffice.”

On being on the same page:

“We’re all on the same page, the entire organization. And by the way, I will say one thing: Mark and I get along very well. This idea that Mark and I don’t get along I will just address that and say that’s not true. We get along very well. Bob gets along with Mark. I get along with Bob. We all get along, so we’re all driving in the same direction, and hopefully we’re going to keep our goals this year moving forward.”

Of if he’s having fun:

“What do you think? A lot of great things. We’ve sold out 77 games in a row. We’ve made a lot of people happy. That must be because they’re all coming to the games. And you know what? We’re having a good year, and it’s not over yet. Interim results do not matter. Remember this: What matters is at the end of the year. We take a look back at how we did and see where we can improve.”

On the Western Conference:

“Tremendous competition in the Western Conference, and I’ve got to really hand it to our competitors. Several of them exceeded their expectations certainly or the expectations of writers anyway, and you know it’s a tough conference. Whoever we face in that first round is going to a competitor. We’re looking forward to it.”

On if it’s a certain number of wins used to gauge success:

“It’s tough because every given year is different. You can make the playoffs with 38 wins if you’re in the Eastern Conference. I don’t know what’s the number. So definition of success can be different depending on which conference you’re in for one thing and which year it is. So let’s look at that at the end of the year. I think when you look back and say, ‘Did we meet our goals? Were we successful?’ I think we’ll be able to answer those questions then. Right now, we’re still very got-our-head-down focused.”

On comments to the crowd on having to win an NBA championship to avoid failure:

“Our goal as an organization is to win an NBA championship for our fans and for the Bay Area and for us — all of us. And so we’re hell-bent on doing that, but Rome wasn’t built in a day as they like to say. We’re making progress, we’re moving forward, and I know we’re going to get there.”

Diamond Leung