Warriors come out and play

Mullin LacobIt was almost three years ago to the day.  Golden State Warriors owner Joseph Lacob was introducing Chris Mullin to the Oracle Arena crowd.  Mullin’s jersey was about to be retired.

Frustrated with the state of the franchise, the Oakland crowd let Lacob know how just they felt about him and his roster moves.  A chorus of boos rained down from the stands so much so that Mullin had to step in and defend him.

Fan favorite Monta Ellis had just been traded.  Playing alongside a young Steph Curry, the two had formed a formidable backcourt.

Three years later, it looks like Lacob knew exactly what he was doing.  Klay Thompson is officially a Splash Brother, seemingly scoring as he pleases, and Monta Ellis is now an afterthought, missing key shots in Dallas.  I wonder how many of those fans wish they could have their boos back.

The year Ellis was traded, the Warriors finished with 23 wins, missing the playoffs altogether.  Ellis was the team’s leading shot taker.  The following year, Steph Curry stepped into that role and the team won 47 games.  In 2013-14, they won 51 games.  This year, the Golden State Warriors won 67 games, nearly three times as many as they did three years ago.

I’m going to repeat that.  This year, the Golden State Warriors won 67 games, one of only ten teams in the history of the game to do so.  And they did it with a rookie head coach.

Latrell is a warriorFor anyone who’s watched the NBA over the past few decades, that just sounds funny.  This is a franchise that hasn’t been relevant since Latrell Sprewell choked PJ Carlessimo.  Even then, they weren’t considered legitimate contenders.  The Warriors haven’t won a second round playoff series in forty years.  Somewhere, Rick Barry is smiling.

If you walked into a Las Vegas Sportsbook at the beginning of these playoffs, you would find the Warriors among the favorites to win the NBA Finals, but not a clear cut favorite.  They led the league in scoring, team field goal percentage, point differential and three point percentage.  This is one of the most impressive offensive teams we’ve seen in quite some time.  They’re balanced, able to score from inside and out, not horrible defensively and are damn fun to watch, unless of course it’s your team they’re destroying.  They won ten more games than any team in the Western Conference and seven more than the Eastern Conference leading Atlanta Hawks, another team which nobody believes in.

So with their record, why are they not stronger favorites to win an NBA Championship?

The two other teams with similar odds to win it all are Cleveland and San Antonio.  Las Vegas and the rest of America have not given up on San Antonio.  After all, why would they?  Proving the old men still have it, the Spurs took Miami to school in last year’s Finals.  This year, they’re not sneaking up on anyone.  Even as a six-seed, Las Vegas likes them as much as the record-setting Warriors.  The Cavaliers who play in the considerably weaker Eastern Conference and have an easier path to the Finals have this guy named LeBron James who’s pretty good.

Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors - Game SixSo why are we not completely sold on these Warriors yet?  Of all the professional sports, the NBA champion is generally the easiest to predict.  Rarely does an underdog run the gamut.  So that means the Warriors should win this thing, right?  Then why are we still skeptical?

Is it that they’re young?  Is it that they’re a jump-shooting team?  Is it that they may have to face both Tim Duncan and LeBron on their way to a title?  Or do we think they’ve done it all with smoke and mirrors so far, ultimately waiting for their hot shooting to cool off.

Is it the down twenty points down to the Pelicans that gives us reason to worry or the fact that they erased that deficit to win that convinces us this team will be champions?  I guess we’ll find out in another couple of weeks.

A Golden State championship will be a refreshing change the NBA could desperately use.  It’s not that LeBron and Duncan aren’t worthy champions but the league is due to usher in some new deserving faces.

We’re just wondering how soon that will happen.

 


12 thoughts on “Warriors come out and play

  1. It’s not Joe Lacob the Warriors ought to be thanking , but Jerry West . Were it not for Peter Guber’s (co-owner of Golden State and minority owner of the Dodgers), the NBA franchise would not be in their current position . Guber and West are close personal friends and he gauged his interest in coming on board with the franchise , after he and Lacob bought the team. Jerry West sits on the board (Warriors) as a special consultant and he suggested the trade of Ellis , the acquisition of Klay Thompson , the hiring of Kerr . At a time like this, how much do you think the Lakers miss Jerry West ?

    West was with the Lakers when they acquired Kobe Bryant in a trade from the then, Hornets . He persuaded Jim Buss to bring in Shaq and the rest as they say is history . Yet praise is being continually heaped on Phil Jackson’s shoulders . Phil hasn’t done ##it with the Knicks and he never will . Jackson can’t spot talent , let alone spell the frigging word .

    Tophatal ……

  2. Jerry West is an intriguing character, Al.

    Do you know about him?

    The guy’s a nut.

    He can’t even bear to watch his own team’s games. His fear of failure has consumed him.

    And yes, it’s safe to say the guy has an insane eye for talent.

    Which explains why he reads this blog.

  3. No one believes the Warriors are worthy because they’ve not been through the rigors of losing a major playoff series or given dues . That’s what it all boils down to . The Dallas Mavericks , look old , feeble and really pathetic . That is not a team built for postseason play , much less anything else . Harden had his way with them and D-How , pulling down 26 rebounds ? Makes me wonder what the hell the Mavs are doing and why no angst from Mark Cuban ? Dirk Nowitzki is nearing retirement and at his age, he still remains the best player on a mediocre team . The series in essence is now over with the Mavericks down 0-3 .

    Best NBA franchise in Texas , is and will remain the San Antonio Spurs and not much more needs to be said on the subject .

  4. The Mavs’ window is closed shut, Al. It’ll be back to the drawing board for Mr. Cuban this off-season.

    I was skeptical of Houston headed into these playoffs. Despite Harden’s play, they still lost games they shouldn’t have lost late in the season.

    That doesn’t appear to be the case now. This team has rolled through Houston. I’ll be interested in seeing what they do against San Antonio in the next round.

  5. One more thing with regard to Jerry West , as Jackson’s sphere of influence grew in LA , the less of a role West had with the Lakers and the ear of the Buss family . Look at the mess the Lakers now find themselves in and their fans now talking about one more year with Kobe . One more year of ineptitude and ridicule .

    If West couldn’t watch his teams , then it be for good reason .

    The Mavs are pathetic and they simply do not how to play defense .

    Your thoughts on the imminent return of Josh Hamilton back to Texas ? The two were made for each other ____ bull#hit, piled up high along with Hamilton and his baggage . The guy has been a pathetic human being and a poor excuse as a player, with little care of the damage done to the Angels , to the game but above all , to his family .

  6. Chris….If you’re exploring topics for future write-ups, you need look no further than Josh Hamilton. I’m guessing the comments would trigger debates starting with “Moreno or Hamilton: Who fucked the Angels and its fans more?” Good luck, Texas.

    As a Suns fans in the Western Conference watching the Warriors has been a treat. With every game you were waiting for that game to be the beginning of a slide. And 86 games later some are still waiting. I will admit that when I heard that Steve Kerr was named the head coach I thought they were doomed. A couple of years removed from single-handedly destroying the Suns as its GM, I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. The man can’t make a single personnel decsion (with hiring Terry Porter as the team’s HC being his first decision), but the guy is definitely good with the X’s and O’s.

  7. The Warriors are fun to watch, that’s for sure. Curry is as smooth a player as there ever has been. He just makes it look so easy and effortless…Like he’s toying with the other team.

    Not sold on their interior though. Lee injured, Bogut’s made of glass. Green and Speight’s are solid but both undersized. Should be interesting…Especially if the Clippers somehow get past San Antonio and we get to see another alley fight between these two. It’s rare that teams simply don’t like each other anymore, but these two certainly have no love lost….It’s like an 80’s grudge match throwback every time they get together.

    Shockingly, I agree with al. Jerry West is the architect. A tortured soul to be sure, but his fingerprints are all over this GS turnaround…Just like Memphis and the Lakers before, West has the magic touch.

    I hope that dirty fucker Kelly Olynyk gets a major fine and suspension. That arm yank of K-Love was blatantly intentional and unnecessary. There’s no place in professional basketball for that nonsense.

  8. Mark…

    I’ve actually been meaning to write about the Hamilton case for some time but it’s such a sensitive issue. You know what? For you, I’ll tackle it.

    Should make for some interesting conversation.

    And I’ll admit I was one to believe firing Mark Jackson was a bad call but you can’t argue with the results Steve Kerr has brought to the Golden State sidelines.

  9. Bleed…

    Which is why if I see Memphis as a huge dog in that Golden State series, I may have to take ’em.

    And I Tweeted this yesterday, with Love out for two weeks or so, LeBron and Kyrie Irving are really going to have to ahem… shoulder the load.

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