By Justin Taylor
There is no way to sugar coat the fact that if the Warriors want to get better for the future they need to suck and suck bad. Picking late in the lottery has killed us over the last however many years and getting top picks in crappy drafts has just been our kind of luck. Not that a pick in the 8-14 range would really help us even in a halfway decent draft but giving that pick to Utah is going to hurt. As much as I love Monta Ellis for being a guy that would make at least a couple plays each game that would make you glad you tuned in, he would have single handedly kept us from sucking our way into the top seven while also making sure we came no where near the playoffs. Trading him for a guy who can’t help us till next year, shutting down Steph Curry and continuing to trot out Dorell Wright in the starting line up over Brandon Rush and Dominic McGuire are the best thing we could do to insure maximum suckage. It’s painful to watch in the meantime but it’s all for the greater good.
Games like Tuesday’s Laker game or the Thunder game earlier this year are the best of both worlds. We see a great game that ultimately equals an L in the standings the next morning. That game against the Thunder was a thing of beauty the way Durant and Monta exchanged haymakers for the better part of the game and I loved every second of it including the final one where we walked away losers. That Phoenix game where Monta hit the fade away was legit but I would have liked it more if Channing Frye hit the three from the corner with one second left. At this point every game counts and it looks like we are in for a hell of a fight the rest of the way.
Management has done their part to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to fail miserably depending on your definition of failure. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I see the steps being made as our only chance to succeed. Dorell Wright, or Dorell Wrong so far this season (I need a better nickname for him if anyone has any suggestions) is definitely doing his part to make this season a success. His fear of attacking the basket, his indecisiveness and the fact that his 3 point shot has fallen off a cliff has made him one of the stars of our tanking efforts. It makes me laugh hysterically when he drives and is looking to pass the ENTIRE time even though the defense is begging him to finish the play. He gets all the way to the rim and is still looking to give it up forcing him to awkwardly brick an easy layup. How he led the league in 3 point field goals last year is beyond me. I don’t know what’s changed in his shot but it looks like every attempt is being shot out of a cannon and he’s aiming to put a hole in the backboard or make a dent in the rim. Throwing bricks has never been a more true statement. It looks like there are weights in the ball and the shot has the trajectory of a lead Frisbee.
The biggest bright spot in this year’s sandbagging efforts could be seen as yet another shrewd move by management. Most people have trashed the move by the brass to amnesty Charlie Bell’s expiring $4 million contract instead of Biedrins in their efforts to sign Tyson Chandler or DeAndre Jordan. In a normal season I’d be in agreement with that assertion 100% but this is no normal season, it’s an all out effort to bottom out. Obviously getting Andris Biedrins rotting corpse off the books was the move to make if you want to win. Someone with unbelievable foresight knew that his soft natured, defeatist attitude could play a major role on this year’s team. Have we ever seen a guy so afraid of his own shadow that the thought of shooting a free throw made him want to stand at half court to wait for defensive transition? I don’t know how many examples there are in the history of the league of a guy who was a better NBA player at age 22 then he was at 26. If there is another one I’d be willing to bet it involved heavy drug use and happened somewhere between ’78 and ’84 when cocaine was more prevalent than Gatorade use is now. Mark Jackson’s decision to continue starting him over someone with a pulse was ingenious in my mind.
A guy playing a MUCH smaller role but one that cannot be overlooked is Nate Robinson. His pursuit of the spectacular play before the right play is, well, spectacular. I’ve never seen a guy who tried to either bring the house down or win the game on every single (Ill advised) shot. His sense of the moment is uncanny but he has balls that measure up to anyone in the league. I do think he has a role on a potential winner but it’s more like the 3rd guard off the bench. Next season we need a true point that can run the team in Steph’s absence. Only when everything is falling apart do you need someone with no conscious to come in and that’s when you inject a little Nate into the mix.
Main players in this years tanking efforts.
I’m watching the team get shelled by the Hornets of all teams right now and I’ve never been more confident in our ability to finish this debacle of a season strong. When a team like New Orleans can render our amazing crowd impotent you’re really firing on all cylinders on the road to the lottery. It’s obvious that all of the ingredients of our crap cocktail are come together beautifully. Normally it pisses me off but hearing Bob Fitzgerald’s signature line, “AND THE WARRIORS HAVE CUT THE LEAD TO SINGLE DIGITS,” is music to my ears until late April this year.
I have heard Larry Riley and Joe Lacob both say that they are negotiating with Utah to make sure we get to keep our pick this year. I imagine that means they are trying to pay them to push back Utah’s rights to the pick to next year or the year after. We have no tradable assets that would work for both teams to make such a deal happen. If that’s the case I commend them for making sure all bases are covered and contingency plans are in place to make sure that we will be adding a young player who can be a real contributor in 2013. Some might say that it would render all of this basketball sewage pointless but again, for the first time in a long time, we don’t have all of our chips in one basket.
Our crowd has been my biggest concern in our push for the lottery this season because they insist on willing crappy teams to victories that routinely have us finishing in the middle of the pack year in year out. Every team plays better at home and I don’t know the year over year stats but I’d be willing to bet that the disparity between our home and road win percentage is one of the higher margins in the league most years. When the switch flips at Oracle it rivals any other experience in sports. I was at the Pac Bell (yes, Pac Bell) for the World Series in 2010 and if the Warriors were to close this 15 point gap against the lowly Hornets in the 4th quarter and pull this game out tonight it will be a similar atmosphere. Oracle is a place where Raiders, Niners, Giants, A’s, Sharks and all 20 Earthquake and Sabercat fans unite to blow the roof off the joint. That is probably the most enjoyable thing about being a Warriors fan and teams across the league have more respect for our home floor than the team itself. Lines that are drawn in the sand 7 or 8 months out of the year get blurred like a 4 year old is drawing them during basketball season in Oakland.
So bottom line, after all the bitching, moaning and cynicism it’s the same old story. Wait till next year. Something feels different this time around. There seems to be a plan for next year, a tangible plan that accompanies this abomination of a basketball team we’re forced to watch every night. Literally in the case of this lockout shortened season. I just hope we didn’t kick off Tankapalooza too late in the year to work. Maybe I’m just drinking too much crap flavored kool aid but I think that this time next year things will be dramatically different. All of those Giants/A’s Niners/Raiders Sharks/Spiders (if the IHL still exists) rivalries along with the racial divides that make the Bay Area so great will melt away once again in the form of Oracle Arena going off like a bomb as the Warriors make a legitimate push for the playoffs.